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How Assassin’s Creed: Origins achieved amazing historical accuracy — and why that’s key

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In its most ambitious project yet, Ubisoft recreated ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed: Origins — and it did so superbly, remaining as historically accurate as possible. Here’s how, and why that accuracy adds to the experience.

Ubisoft’s latest entry into its hit franchise Assassin’s Creed was the incredibly well-received Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Completely reworking combat and the movement mechanism, and offering the biggest open world the series has seen, Origins has done nothing but impress. But one aspect of its design that doesn’t get praised as much as it should is the way it remains faithful to ancient Egypt.

This is how Ubisoft pulled that off, and why that design philosophy benefits the Origins experience.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins review: This is how you revive a franchise

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How Ubisoft maintained historical accuracy in Origins

Ubisoft managed to faithfully bring recorded history to life.

Being set in the oldest time period of the entire Assassin’s Creed series, Ubisoft faced a problem with Origins: How can ancient Egypt be accurately recreated in a video game?

Speaking with The Guardian about this subject, game director Ashraf Ismail explained how his team tackled this monumental hurdle:

We spent years researching. We had Egyptologists on the team, and we have historians embedded with us on the floor. Sometimes it’s researching online, finding the people who know the time period well and just contacting them, asking them to help join us or help feed us information. A lot of the time it’s actually securing deals with universities. We try to grab as much information as possible.

Left: Painting of ancient Egypt by historical illustrator Jean-Claude Golvin. Right: Same location created in Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

Both Ismail and the franchise’s historian Maxime Durand go on to explain how everything from the plants and wildlife to the structures and even the language spoken by the people in the game were all based on information learned from studying.

Is the game perfectly accurate? No, but …

No video game (or any re-creation) can be perfect, especially due to the fact that this an extremely old time in history. Not nearly as many records of events or the setting exist as, say, Renaissance Italy, which is where Assassin’s Creed II took place. Despite this, though, the developers behind Origins made the game “with a foundation of research and credible history”, according to Ismail.

It was always a priority for Ubisoft, and when accuracy could be achieved, it definitely was. The fact that it predicted the discovery of a secret room in the pyramid of Giza certainly proves that much.

Very few other games based on past events reach the levels of faithful recreation that Origins does. Even recent titles like Battlefield 1 or Call of Duty: World War II, while similar to their respective time periods, fail to be quite as authentic as Ubisoft’s latest hit.

Accuracy boosts immersion

The fact that the game world is a realistic depiction of Egypt makes it a more interesting place to explore.

While all of the ways Ubisoft is successful in this department seem minor on the surface, I believe that it adds up in the end to make the experience immersive on a whole other level. The fact that there’s a strong chance that the rivers, cities, and more, are exactly in-game where they were thousands of years ago is pretty amazing. It draws you in further and makes you really want to see what life was like a hundred lifetimes before your own.

By shedding light on one of the most unknown eras of human history, Origins becomes one of a kind. You can’t go to this place in many other games, and none of the games in which you can even come close to Origins’ level of authenticity. Thus, Origins offers you a completely unique experience in exploring and interacting with ancient Egypt.

In a day and age where unique gaming experiences have become increasingly rare, Assassin’s Creed: Origins manages to deliver an authentic, immersive, and engaging ride that puts what is one of the oldest civilizations in history on center stage.

Your thoughts

What do you think about Assassin’s Creed: Origins’ thorough effort to be historically accurate? Do you think it’s on par with, better, or worse than the other Assassin’s Creed games?

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