When Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed Mirage last September during a special stream celebrating the series’ 15th anniversary, the game was up to bat as the next in the long-running series. Set to hit PlayStation, Xbox, and PC for $49.99 with a scaled-back approach and a much shorter runtime, Ubisoft indicated it was using Mirage to return to the series’ roots, serving as a spiritual successor to Altair’s adventure that started it all.
However, Mirage wasn’t always its own game; it started as DLC to 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
“At first, we were working on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the DLC, and the idea came up to create a specific expansion for Valhalla and go back to the Middle East,” Mirage creative director Stephane Boudon tells me in the Ubisoft Bordeaux office. “We wanted, as a longtime fan of the series, to go back to this environment [and those] vibes. And it was also near the 15th anniversary of the brand. So it was for us, something we wanted to bring back for the player.”
The Mirage DLC pitch went so well for the newcomer studio, which opened in 2017 and has mainly worked as a support studio for others within Ubisoft, it was greenlit to become a standalone game.
“At first […], yes, it was a pitch on paper,” Boudon says. “And it was even Eivor going to the Middle East, and as soon as we switched, we decided to go with Mirage.”
Boudon says Mirage as DLC only lasted a few weeks because, even when creating the pitch for Basim’s adventure, the team was crossing its fingers for the green light to become a standalone experience. “It’s funny because we did the full work for the pitch for a DLC, but at the end, we already saw on working on the pitch that it could be something so at the end, we end the presentation with, “But it can be more.” So we pushed a little bit and it worked and was wonderful for everybody.”
At just $49.99, Ubisoft highlights that Mirage isn’t a massive, hundred-hour, open-world RPG like Valhalla or the two Assassin’s Creed games before it. But it’s still a full release, a new entry in this long-running franchise. And after playing it for a couple of hours for Game Informer’s cover story, it feels like a breath of fresh air. If those hours of hands-on play are any indication, Ubisoft made the right call turning what was once a DLC into a full Assassin’s Creed game.
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