Assassin’s Creed Mirage takes players to Baghdad in the year 861, during its Golden Age, when it was the region’s cultural and technological epicenter. The city seems full of merchants, townspeople, guards, palaces and more. It’s vibrant, vibrant and looks and sounds like a city. According to artistic director Jean-Luc Sala, it is painted with desert orange tones and the blue sky from “1001 Nights,” an intention.
Sala, who has lived in the region, says he and his visual team incorporated many of the sights he remembers near the Tigris to bring Baghdad to life. The result is beautiful, if my two hours of hands-on time is any indication. Since Mirage was intended to serve as a homage to the first Assassin’s Creed, which began the series in 2007, Sala and the rest of the team at Ubisoft Bordeaux added an option to make Baghdad look more like the Jerusalem explored by Altair.
You can see the “nostalgic visual filter” in action in the video above, and if you’ve played Assassin’s Creed it should look familiar. That’s because this filter is essentially an Assassin’s Creed filter, meant to bring back the blue tones of the first 2007 adventure.
“We know how excited our community is [and] We also have a nice surprise for our long-term players,” Sala says in the video. “We’ve implemented a nostalgic visual filter as an option for those who want to explore the game with the desaturated blue-gray color palette from the very first Assassin’s Creed game.”
Having seen and played Mirage, it’s not a filter I’ll use much on my first playthrough – perhaps only on quests or moments that feel particularly like Altair’s adventures – but it’s nice to have it there. And it shows how Mirage is supposed to celebrate the series’ 15th anniversary (which happened last year when the game was announced). Overall, Mirage serves as a slight homage or spiritual connection to the game that started it all. Sala says this filter is a wink and a nod to that.
“We know that players, and I am one of those players, have a nostalgic feeling for them.” [blue-gray colors of the first Assassin’s Creed]“Sala tells me. “They have a purpose in AC1. But we wanted to show this scene in this lighting and say, ‘It’s there if you want it.’ It’s like playing LA Noire in black and white or Ghost of Tsushima with the Kurosawa filter.”
However, he says that Mirage’s official art direction is a far cry from the AC1 filter, with more vibrant colors and no filter. He says it’s a cliché to have Middle Eastern environments with yellow filters and that everyone does it like it’s mandatory. “But we said, ‘Let’s stay true to what it was – the real light and the real colors of everything, and that’s why it’s so alive.’
While I won’t be using this filter too often – Sala’s team seems to have done a fantastic job with the visual direction of Mirage – I’m excited for players who want to indulge in the nostalgia. The filter looks good, and I’m sure someone will do a fun comparison of Mirage with the filter on and Assassin’s Creed to demonstrate similarities and differences.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be released on October 5th for PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Luna and PC.
For more information, check out Game Informer’s exclusive Assassin’s Creed Mirage coverage by clicking the banner below.