If you’re a gamer into ancient history, then Maxime Durand probably has your dream job. Wherever (and whenever) the Assassin’s Creed franchise goes, he’s responsible for making sure it gets its history right — and with Origins, that meant gleaning everything he could about Cleopatra-era Egypt.
Durand speaks about all the different sources they used in the above video, including trips to many museums and online image services. Some of these resources are actually included in the game’s Discovery Tour mode, which is a combat-free version of the game for people just interested in the history side of things.
Ubisoft intentionally chose this era of Egypt because not only is it ancient to us, but to the citizens of that time, much around them was equally ancient. There’s just as much time between the pyramids being built and Cleopatra, as there is from Cleopatra to modern times.
Add to that the fact that only the wealthier, more educated members of that society could read hieroglyphics. Much of the tales of antiquity were passed down through spoken word.
Durand points out in the above video that it only took a few hundred years for people to form a cult and start worshipping the Great Sphinx of Giza as a god, which was not its intended purpose. If that happens in a couple of hundred years, imagine what can happen in a couple of thousand.
We often think of the pharaohs as unchallenged god-kings, but Cleopatra’s time is one of massive intrigue and power struggles. A perfect setting to inject the pre-Assassin and Templar game of chess, and with the potential for any number of sequels. Egypt’s territory saw massive gains under Cleopatra, and there’s the potential segue into Augustus becoming Roman princeps.