Can Assassin’s Creed Mirage redeem the once-beloved franchise?

Assassin's Creed Mirage

Can Assassin’s Creed Mirage redeem the once-beloved Assassin’s Creed franchise by going back to the roots of the series? In this article, we will explore this subject by taking the new gameplay trailer and the “Return to the Roots” video by Ubisoft into account.

Assassin’s Creed (2007)

Will Assassin’s Creed Mirage be able to redeem the once-beloved franchise?

It all started in 2007 when Ubisoft released the first Assassin’s Creed game where you controlled Altair, a master assassin. This game was flawed, but for veteran fans of the franchise, it’s still a very special game. It’s repetitive, as many Ubisoft titles are. But the methodical stealth mechanics, smooth parkour, and open-world settings were unforgettable.

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Assassin’s Creed is set in the Holy Land in the time of the Third Crusade. The developers took careful measures in making the game feel as immersive and historically-accurate as possible.

One other very memorable and pleasant thing about Assassin’s Creed is its atmosphere. While it can seem unnatural, it fits the gloomy and dark theme that is seen throughout the game. Each different city you could visit in the Holy Land looked different in terms of the color palette. While the lack of side content (or the presence of tedious optional missions) made the game boring at times, it’s still more beloved than some of the more recent entries of the franchise.

What made the franchise so good

The Assassin blending in with scholars from Assassin’s Creed 1.

Despite the tedious and sometimes boring gameplay, the older Assassin’s Creed games remain in many gamers’ hearts as a beautiful and worthy franchise. This is thanks to the stealth mechanics and the “hide in plain sight” trope it introduced. It was never about charging at your foes with blades drawn like in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Valhalla. Instead, everything had to be planned.

In the first game, one of the most important things was to set the stage for your assassinations. By assisting citizens and gathering information, you could make assassinations easier in the first game.

Assassin’s Creed II and the games after it improved the social stealth aspects. Hiding in plain sight by blending in with the crowds, being patient and not attracting enemy attention were kept intact. And of course, after an assassination was performed, a city-wide chase would ensue.

The assassin had to run through the rooftops or roads of the city in an attempt to lose the pursuers. This was also one of the best parts of the game. The parkour was smooth and it was immensely fun to freerun with so much agility.

The excellent parkour in Assassin’s Creed II.

But with the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and the RPG Assassin’s Creed games after that, Ubisoft, unfortunately, got rid of many of the stealth and parkour aspects of the game, thereby taking away what made the franchise special. Of course, this caused long-time fans to lose interest in the series. Many simply stopped playing the games. Personally, I played all the games until Origins but after that, I lost interest.

Will Assassin’s Creed Mirage be able to redeem the once-beloved franchise?
Ezio assassinating a guard from a hay bale.

A Return to the Roots

With the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Ubisoft promises to deliver an experience that is akin to the first game. It is set in Baghdad before the events of the first game. So far, it seems everything that made the originals so good (social stealth, parkour, and satisfying assassinations) will return.

You can watch the following videos to see what I mean:

The videos reveal that the stealth of Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be very similar to the first game’s but improved in almost every aspect. For example, the gameplay trailer reveals that there will be multiple ways to successfully complete a mission.

One such way is to bribe the guards into looking the other way when you infiltrate an enemy base. This gameplay freedom was offered to the player in Assassin’s Creed Unity, and that made it possibly one of the best stealth games in Ubisoft’s catalog.

There is also news suggesting that Mirage will be set in a smaller open world than Valhalla or Odyssey. This is good news, in my opinion. A small but lived-in world like in the original games would be an excellent playground for an assassin. It was all about knowing the streets and mastering the way of traversing them in the originals, which is different (and better, for an Assassin’s Creed game) from exploring a huge open world in the later entries.

Will Assassin’s Creed Mirage be able to redeem the once-beloved franchise?
Mirage will have a visual option to make the game look similar to the first game.

The RPG combat will be replaced with the cinematic and stylish combat that was seen in AC games other than the RPG ones. By the looks of it, they certainly are aiming to go back to the roots and bring everything that made the once-beloved games back in Mirage.

Will Assassin’s Creed Mirage be able to redeem the once-beloved franchise?

In all honesty, the game looks very promising at the moment. There’s a good chance it will be loved by veteran fans of the franchise. If Ubisoft delivers what is promised (which they definitely should, by the looks of it) this game will be successful.

However, we’ve seen many new Ubisoft games be disappointing after launch. Because of this reason, I am still somewhat skeptical of the game.

All in all, this question I introduced in the title will be answered after the game is released. But there’s a higher chance of it being quite successful than the previous games (Origins, Valhalla, Odyssey) because they are returning to the roots. As fans, we sincerely hope that Mirage will redeem the Assassin’s Creed franchise.