Baghdad was founded in 762 at the height of Arab-Islamic civilization. One hundred years later, the Abbasid Caliph Jaafar al-Mutawakkil, its leader, was assassinated. Years of instability followed during which Bassim ibn Ishaq became a major assassin for Baghdad. in BaghdadAssassin’s Creed Mirageat least.
Those who say video games make you stupid can go and cook eggplant themselves. Since the first Doctrine killer Since 2007, the popular video game saga created at Ubisoft’s offices in Montreal has been able to attract players from all walks of life. teachers. And historians. So much so that a French video game publisher cannot simply reproduce a digital environment in the universal colors of a time or place: it must faithfully reproduce the smallest manners and customs of the moment.
It’s no longer just a video game, it’s a history lesson.
A city that disappeared
In the coming days, fans of open-world adventure games will learn through the nearly 30 hours of included gameplay Assassin’s Creed Mirage How did the people of Baghdad live in the ninth century?H a century. They would probably be surprised to learn that Iraqi merchants mastered refrigerator making better than Europeans 1,000 years later. Or that they have in their military arsenal what looks suspiciously like… a flamethrower? !
Raphael Wieland is the historian who worked on this new game, and to create this virtual world but keep it as realistic as possible, this specialist in the history of the Middle East visited libraries and dusted off ancient manuscripts.
“The Baghdad that we created has not existed for a long time,” he said in an interview. duty. “The only building still in existence is the 2,000-year-old ziggurat, called Dûr-Kurigalzu, which remains in almost the same condition today.”
Otherwise, invasions and modernity would destroy Baghdad. Over time, in short. Like other cities. “To reproduce this city would require methods other than reproducing the Parthenon or the Venetian canals,” the historian explains, since there is no visual support that would allow it to be illustrated today. We had to find ancient texts, stories and myths.
Back to basics
Was all this necessary? Not real. “But it has become a brand, perhaps for Ubisoft as a whole,” says Rafael Weyland. “In order to play, do we have to know the story? No. But in the game you can discover up to 66 historical items about the culture of a place and time. Chances are good that you will know more about this culture by the end of the game.”
in MirageIn this game, the player completes a mission where representatives of order and freedom oppose each other in an ancient conflict. It is said that he may have been one of his killers with the richest and most extensive history.
Those who know already know who their character is. Basem Bin Ishaq, a young thief who was “most skilled” in his early days. Throughout his adventures, he must join a secret order and eventually become a professional assassin. Bassem bin Ishaq was one of the previous authors. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It made its mark and intrigued players and Ubisoft’s decision makers enough to get a spinoff game.
Instead of making it downloadable content to add to ValhallaUbisoft saw the character’s potential and decided to produce a full game. “It’s kind of a return to basics, we’re returning to the Middle East, even if we’re not really returning to the same universe,” says Raphael Wayland.
The big story in the small
The game goes back to the origins of the assassin group that gave its name to the series. We see clothes, weapons and all kinds of items that reinforce the feeling of belonging to the franchise Doctrine killer. Thus the small and large story merge. “We’re doing our best to do that. If we could do elves against orcs, maybe it would be easier.” Although it has to be said that the academics specialize in fantasy languages and cultures. After all, it goes as far as Klingons Star Trek…
“From a company perspective, I think being able to watch something like the death of Caesar or the Storming of the Bastille, there is an element of immersion that makes the player want to be there.”
The VR version will launch later this fallDoctrine killer You must foster this feeling of reliving historical moments, as we at Ubisoft emphasize. Because in virtual reality, immersion is much more engaging.
The fun aspect is still essential. Raphael Weyland is no longer working Doctrine killer for a year. Move on to another Ubisoft title that also has to respect some historical restrictions, albeit in a different way. in For honorThree factions collide: Vikings, European knights, and Japanese samurai. This is not historically true. At the same time, each group respects its origins in its own way.
Raphael Weyland still left a little “Easter egg” in it Mirage : Players who complete historical missions will receive special clothes to dress up as their hero, which is created by the historian. These clothes are completely faithful to the period. certainly.
Because if Doctrine killer It is a game that – and perhaps the pride of Ubisoft Montreal – is also a setting in which history, real history, is literally played out.