Assassin’s Creed Mirage gameplay demo goes back to basics

Ubisoft shared a closer look at the flow of gameplay in the upcoming Assassin's Creed Mirage, set in 9th Century Bagdhad.
Assassin's Creed Mirage

Assassin’s Creed Mirage was one of the headlining titles at the 2023 Ubisoft Forward, as the company shared a new trailer that detailed the narrative stakes, as well as a pre-recorded gameplay demo that walked through a mission, and highlighted some of the back-to-basics gameplay mechanics of the spinoff game. It’s due for release on 12 October 2023.

Mirage is being touted as a homage to the original action-stealth style of Assassin’s Creed games, because as we all know, the 2000s are well and truly back in fashion – especially in video games.

Set in Baghdad in the year 861, it’s also pitched as a smaller, more focused game than the hundred-hour epics of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, with Ubisoft describing the open world map as comparable to that of Assassin’s Creed Unity (Paris) and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Constantinople).


The Story Trailer

The new story trailer for Mirage expands on what the company has already shared – the game will be a ‘tragic’ coming-of-age story for Basim, previously a supporting character in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

The trailer depicts Basim as a young street thief, being saved from city guards by master assassin Roshan (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo of Destiny and The Expanse fame). We see him rise as a fledgling assassin, but also see him deal with internal turmoil, as the trailer teases themes of self-sacrifice, fate, and inner demons.


The Gameplay Demo

The demo takes place early on in the game. We meet Basim as he hovers on the rooftops above the street, and he soon kills a guard, fleeing from the scene through the streets, toppling objects to block the path behind him. He eventually takes to the rooftops, parkouring across beams and ledges, and ziplining between buildings with a touch of cinematic flair.

Ubisoft describes the parkour as ‘easy to access, easy to master’, and hopes that players will feel ‘enticed to use it’ and ‘feel in control’. A refocus on parkour is a big deal for the series, which has spent the last few games focussing on traversing wide open spaces.

Basim returns to base, and receives a series of new missions – secure locations for new Assassin bureaus – which gives a sense of the mid-term objectives. Basim also receives a new tool; a blowdart that can put guards to sleep. Ubisoft says there will be five tools in total, including smoke bombs, throwing knives, noisemakers, and darts.

Basim then goes to a bulletin board and picks up one of many Contractor Quests, which dictate specific assassination targets for crafting rewards. We then see him sit and bide his time as the day quickly transitions to night.

As he sets off on his mission and approaches the target area, a fortified building, Basim calls upon his hawk to scout the area from above. Unfortunately, a sentry marksman attempts to shoot it down, so Basim has to reconsider his approach.

Assassin's Creed Mirage
Image: Ubisoft

Basim makes his way to street level and climbs up the side of the building to infiltrate the outer wall. He dives into a large pile of leaves, before quickly hopping out and attempting to blend in with a small group of women – who are a bit confused, but willing to cooperate after some words from Basim.

After a guard passes them unaware, Basim slinks into some nearby bushes, making his way unseen to another couple of guards. He uses his blowtorch to put one to sleep, and as another comes to inspect the body, he kills them.

From there, Basim uses a noisemaker to get a guard to turn around, before moving in for the kill. He’s briefly caught by another guard, but uses a throwing knife to silence him before he can get the word out. He then climbs a tower, dispatches the marksman who was threatening his hawk, and calls upon the bird once more to get a high view of the complex, quickly spotting his target.

Assassin's Creed Mirage
Image: Ubisoft

As he makes his way to the target via the rooftop, several guards can be seen, marked out by the hawk. Basim then exhibits one of his new abilities, an ethereal chain-assassination that sees him dispatch three separate guards, from quite a distance, in incredibly quick succession, teleporting between each of them.

Basim has clear sight of the target, but takes the time to prep his escape route, throwing a gas mine at the main doorway.

He leaps and kills his mark from above, and proceeds to fight the nearby guards in a swordfight. Ubisoft placed some emphasis on the fact that developers captured several new sword-fighting animations, especially for Mirage, in an effort to create a swifter feel to combat.

Once Basim has had enough, he rushes through the entrance, with the gas mine dispatching a guard who tries to block his way. Basim throws down some coloured smoke to blind guards as he runs past them, and then eventually blends into the crowd, ending the demo.

Assassin's Creed Mirage
Image: Ubisoft

From this gameplay demo, it definitely looks like Ubisoft is primarily trying to capture the same kinds of gameplay loops in the original Assassin’s Creed games from the 2000’s, rather than attempting to get too ambitious or intricate with its stealth mechanics. The fantasy of finding a target, mapping out a puzzle-like solution to get to them, and then rushing not to lose sight of them (however messy that might be) is key to this loop.

Ubisoft seems to be banking on nostalgia for that simpler time in Assassin’s Creed history with Mirage, to make up for what more modern Assassin’s Creed fans might perceive as a lack of variety. There’s a lot of focus being placed in its narrative, too, which we’re hoping benefits from a shorter runtime, and makes its beats more compelling and well-paced.

Ubisoft was not providing any hands-on demos for the public or press during Ubisoft Forward festivities, so we’ll have to wait to see how the game comes together when it releases on 12 October 2023 on PC, PlayStation 5PlayStation 4, and Xbox Series X/S.

Elsewhere in the 2023 Ubisoft Forward, the company also detailed its Assassin’s Creed VR game, called Nexus, as well as providing some small updates on Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade, a mobile game set in Ancient China.

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Edmond is the managing editor of GamesHub. He was previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran