During my cover story trip to Ubisoft Bordeaux in France, my time included Baghdad exploration and contracts. The former was good fun – Baghdad feels like a 2023 spiritual reimagining of Jerusalem in 2007’s Assassin’s Creed, with plenty of rooftops and parkour routes to hit from objective to objective. But the latter was the highlight of my experience.
I completed three contracts in my spare time, each at different stages of progress with the hero Basim Ibn Ishaq. Contracts are essentially mini-missions that do something like eliminate a target, get an item, or move a boat to a specific location. You have to scout the area, find your target, determine the path of least resistance to him or her – Bassim is all about stealth and speed, of course – and kill or claim your marks. The first one I did, at the beginning of Basim’s journey, took no more than 10 minutes. But the late game I completed took about half an hour. They feel like miniature assassination vignettes, like a scaled-down version from IO Interactive’s World of Assassination Hitman trilogy.
To complete the contract, you pick it up from the contract board of the Hidden Ones Bureau and you’re off. Each one is related to a different faction in Baghdad, and completing them is essential to increasing your relationship with each one.
“Those factions help you get rewards and favors,” Mirage creative director Stephen Bowden tells me, adding that you also get special tokens you use to bribe city speakers known as Munadi, entertainers to distract guards, and more. “Tokens are used as a sub-economic way to purchase services and these services can be very helpful in your main quest and mission, so this is a way to infuse new types of progress. But this is completely optional. “
They say you’re not obligated to complete them, but it’s essential to do so once you’ve realized what’s on offer. Giving Basim more as an assassin-in-training outside of the main story doesn’t hurt that he’s good fun.
What I especially like is that you can collect all the contracts on the board at once. I asked about this because I’m a player who likes to have them all so if I’m near one in my exploration and main story journey, I can take a step off the main path to knock it out.
“As soon as you have your board, you can collect everything and do them when you’re ready,” says World and Quest Director Simon Arsenault. “Some of them are follow-ups to other contracts. You can do all the contracts in parallel, but it’s a good way to have multiple (and) explore a little bit more and get more done for you.”
Arsenault says that if you catch them all at once, you’ll probably have four to five.
Since each deal is tied to a larger faction narrative going on across Baghdad – for example, I was collecting trinkets and special goods for the merchant dervishes – you can complete a line of deals. And doing so will give you good rewards and goods to buy during the Dervishes, Arsenault says.
Although the team reiterated to me that the contracts were completely optional, as much as I enjoyed completing them, and the rewards and favors I earned for doing so, they weren’t optional in my playthrough. Considering the team that Mirage developer Ubisoft Bordeaux brought back in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath of the Druids DLC, this studio led development and did so with great success, I’m looking forward to seeing what other contracts await me in the final release. Assassin’s Creed Mirage hits PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on October 5.
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