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Assassin’s Creed Mirage literally moved mountains to give players the best experience

We sat down with Mirage’s lead historian, Raphaël Weyland, to talk about accuracy and authenticity

The Assassin’s Creed series has always prided itself on giving gamers a little bit about the history of places they’re visiting. This was best shown by the addition of Discovery Tours to Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, where players could explore these different important locations in history and have guided tours of areas of cultural significance. Assassin’s Creed Mirage has replaced this with lore orbs, which will give you information about certain historical sites as you visit them.

AC Mirage House of Wisdom Historical Site location

Historical Sites collectibles in Mirage replace the Discovery Tours from previous games.

Ubisoft works with a number of historians to get the information right, or as close to right as possible. GLHF was invited to an event at the studio in Montréal, where we sat down with Raphaël Weyland, the lead historian for Mirage, to talk about Baghdad’s history. Weyland has a PhD in the history of the Middle East and worked with historians from across the world, including those from the Middle East itself in order to make sure things were accurate, or as accurate as possible.

“It’s about accuracy versus authenticity,” Weyland tells us. “Most historians will refuse to give an answer if they are unsure if something is historically accurate. Here, we aim for authenticity, where we look at similar situations from that time, and we give an educated guess as to what it would look like. Accuracy would leave blanks, and you can’t have blanks in a video game.”

He gives the example of the House of Wisdom. A building that was known to exist in Baghdad at the time, and was also known to be a library and multifunctional space. However, there are no written records of these other functions, nor what the building even looked like. By looking at similar buildings from the time period, Ubisoft were able to provide players with a likely version of the historic building, even if it isn’t completely accurate.

AC Mirage House of Wisdom

The House of Wisdom as recreated in Assassin's Creed Mirage.

However, there are some situations where the team took artistic liberties and altered historical details to better serve the gameplay. A concrete example is that the circular wall that surrounded Baghdad was only 20 meters high in reality, but Ubisoft tripled its size in-game. “We wanted players to be able to see the wall wherever they were in Baghdad,” Weyland explains. “To do that we had to make it bigger to give players the sense that it’s always looming over you.”

AC Mirage Baghdad inner city walls

Baghdad's Round City walls weren't as high as they appear in Assassin's Creed Mirage.

The wall wasn’t the only historical detail Ubisoft changed. “Back then, and today, there are no mountains surrounding Baghdad,” Weyland tells us. Looking at a map, the closest mountain range is the Zagros Mountains, an impressive range that is almost 1000 miles in length and spans through Türkiye, Iraq, and Iran. However, the closest point in the range is still about 100 miles from the city itself. “As players train in the mountains, when they come to Baghdad, we wanted them to physically see where they came from, so we literally moved mountains with Mirage.”

Basim sits on a camel overlooking a ruin backed by snowy mountains in Assassin's Creed Mirage.

Alamut Castle and the mountains around it are much farther away from Baghdad than you might think.

So, while many of the set pieces in Mirage are as authentic as possible, remember that if you try to hike into the Zagros Mountains from Baghdad on your next trip, you’re going to have a bad time.