Assassin’s Creed Mirage is finally releasing this week for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Luna and PC. We have been dealing with this for a few weeks now Game Informer’s exclusive cover story coverage – check out our Mirage hub here for exclusive features, interviews, previews and more – but everyone can play the game starting October 5th.
Ahead of the release, we spoke to famed actress Shohreh Aghdashloo about her role as Basim’s mentor Roshan in Mirage, what the experience was like, what she wants players to take away from Roshan and more. We also spoke to Basim’s voice actor, Lee Majdoub, and Mirage’s narrative director, Sarah Beaulieu. You can read that here.
Enjoy our interview with Shohreh Aghdashloo below!
An interview with Shohreh Aghdashloo
Game InformerThis is Wesley LeBlanc: Can you give me a quick elevator pitch for your character in Mirage?
Shohreh Aghdashloo: I would definitely say she is one of the strongest warriors I have ever seen in my life. She has this strong sense of justice. She wouldn’t mind putting her life in danger and being a frontline advocate for justice in this city. And she is a representative of the diversity, ethnicities and cultures of 9th century Baghdad and its golden age.
This is the first time in a minute that Assassin’s Creed has returned to its Middle Eastern roots. In Basim there is a Middle Eastern protagonist and you are an Iranian actress. I’m excited to hear what it was like to bring this character to life and create a cultural connection to her.
Aghdashloo: Obviously projects are closer to your heart. When I was offered the role, I was hoping that she was Persian, you know, and from 9th century Baghdad, because it’s the golden age of Baghdad. But when I started reading the script, I also noticed that she is one of the hidden ones. I think, “Hidden Ones, I remember hearing stories about the Hidden Ones in Persia.” When I was a child, my grandmother told me many stories about the Hidden Ones. And then I started doing more research and found out that it was the inspiration for it: a book called The Book of the Lord or The book of God, and it comes from Persia. And obviously I was more interested in thinking that maybe I could do better now that I feel so close; It’s so close to my heart. And it’s such a complex, challenging game. Maybe knowing what happened to the Hidden Ones back then would help me even more to do a good job with this game.
Can you talk about your character’s connection with Basim?
Aghdashloo: It is interesting. When I first read the script, it was obvious, it’s on the surface: This warrior is looking for young people she can recruit to join Basim in bringing justice to Baghdad. After a few pages I noticed that their relationship is also complex; Not only does she believe in him, she not only believes he can transform into an amazing assassin. But the feelings she has for him are like mother and son. What really sparked my interest in portraying this character was the fact that this mother believes in justice so much that she wouldn’t mind putting her children on the front lines and fighting for justice too. It’s a very, very complicated, sophisticated, layered relationship between the two of them.
How did you even get into the game?
Aghdashloo: I was offered the role. I started making games 15 years ago. I liked it so much the first time that I said, “I’ll always make more.” And when it came to Assassin’s Creed, I noticed that the more I played video games, the more sophisticated they became. I keep saying this: The first time I played a video game was decades ago with my nieces, and it was all about the guy jumping from one roof to the other.
It didn’t have as elaborate a story as Assassin’s Creed Mirage and didn’t have as elaborate sets, and we just looked at a little bit of it and I appreciated what Ubisoft did in bringing 9th century Baghdad to life. It looks exactly like the pictures, obviously the imaginary pictures of Baghdad or the region back in the 9th century. And it blew me away when I saw part of it and what a great job Ubisoft did to make it a reality. You can only relate to it if you believe in it. And if the game makers and the actors, the voice actors, were able to bring some of the truth into it, obviously the audience, the gamers and the gamers would immediately identify with it. Another reason it’s so easy to connect to is that even though it’s set in the 9th century, it can speak relatively well to the present day. If you just turn the pashminas’ coats into today’s brands and give them fast cars instead of horses, then history repeats itself. And we have to learn from it in every way.
What do you think is the biggest difference between film, television and video games?
Aghdashloo: From head to toe, you are available to bring the story to the screen no matter what. But with speakers, with voice-over, you have to channel everything into your voice, because in order to project we have to move. We are in a box, limited. If I have to call someone or if I get angry or my character gets angry, it’s like, yeah, you need that movement to open your chest and allow you to project as much as possible.
The reason we actors enjoy being voice actors is the fact that we don’t have to spend two, three, sometimes four hours doing hair and makeup. On some shows I had to do, my call was at 4:30 in the morning and I would be in the studio at five. And it would take them three hours to do hair and makeup, and sometimes it’s wild and uncomfortable, but you have to pretend that’s not the case, that it’s so comfortable in uncomfortable shoes, especially historical shoes is. So you don’t have to go through these passes. All you have to do is wear flip flops and slick your hair back – you don’t need any makeup. It’s about acting, about integrating the acting part into the voice.
What’s it like when you project your voice into a microphone and then, however many months later, the Ubisoft team broadcasts it to your character and to the world? Do you remember the first time you could see your work in the game?
Aghdashloo: Oh yes, I remember. Well, my first reaction was, “Why am I walking like this?” They said, “These aren’t movies, they’re games.” Yes, it’s very strange when you see and hear each other for the first time. It’s a very strange feeling. But then you get used to it and enjoy doing it. As actors, we really are storytellers at the end of the day. Sometimes people ask me which I prefer more: theater, film, television or voice-over? And I keep saying that I don’t act for the medium; I act for the sake of acting.
What do you hope players take away from your character and her journey in Mirage?
Aghdashloo: First and foremost, I hope they have fun. I’m telling you, this is amazing. This game is really fun to handle and play. I always want more than anything for my daughter to be happy. So, first and foremost, I want players to have fun and be happy that they can play such a demanding and complicated game. They will definitely absorb it because no matter what happens, it will penetrate their subconscious and make them ask questions. For me, a real work of art is not there to teach me something; It’s designed to ask me questions and make me think as I ask myself why these people do this. Why aren’t they? Why do they have to do this to people who are beneath them? Why can’t we have justice for all?
You know, questions like these come to your mind and then make you feel like, “There are still places where this kind of thing happens. What can we do to help the whole world wake up and understand that we are all human at the end of this day? people of the world, regardless of our skin color, our accent; we are all human beings, people of the world, and why can’t there be justice for all of us? Why can’t people stop being? be greedy and kinder? These are the questions I would like to ask them. But I know for sure that no matter what happens, no matter what I like, they will take it in and ask these questions. They will think about it. And if a piece of art makes me think, it has made it home.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be released on October 5th for PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Luna and PC. It will also be released for iOS sometime next year.
Further information about the game can be found here Game Informer’s Exclusive Assassin’s Creed Mirage coverage hub for previews, features, in-depth interviews, videos and more.