During my cover story trip to Ubisoft Bordeaux in France, my hands-on time consisted of Baghdad exploration and contracts. The former was good fun – Baghdad feels almost like a 2023 spiritual reimagining of Jerusalem in 2007’s Assassin’s Creed, with plenty of rooftops and parkour paths to hit from objective to objective. But the latter was the highlight of my experience.
I completed three contracts during my hands-on time, each at different levels of progression for protagonist Basim Ibn Is’haq. Contracts are essentially mini-missions that task you with eliminating a target, obtaining an item, or doing something like moving a boat to a specified location. You must scout an area out, find your target, determine the path of least resistance to them or it – Basim is all about stealth and speed, of course – and kill or obtain your mark. The first one I did, early in Basim’s journey, took no more than 10 minutes. But the late game one I completed took nearly half an hour. They feel like miniature assassination vignettes, almost like a smaller version of a level from IO Interactive’s World of Assassination Hitman trilogy.
To complete a contract, you simply pick it up from a Hidden Ones bureau’s contract board and you’re off. Each is linked to a different faction within Baghdad, and completing them is essential to boosting your relationship with each.
“Those factions will help you to gain rewards and also favors,” Mirage creative director Stephane Boudon tells me, noting you also gain special tokens used to bribe city speakers called Munadi, entertainers that can distract guards, and more. “Tokens are used as a sub-economic way to buy services and these services can also be very helpful inside your main quest and mission, so it’s a way to fill up new kinds of progression. But it’s totally optional.”
He says you’re not obliged to complete them, but that doing so might feel essential once you realize what’s on offer. It doesn’t hurt that they’re good fun, too, giving Basim more to do as an Assassin-in-training outside of the main story.
Something I especially like is that you can collect all contracts on the board at once. I asked about this because I’m the kind of player who would like to have them all so that 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 them all and then do them when you’re ready,” world and quest director Simon Arseneault says. “Some of them are follow-ups of other contracts. You can do all contracts in parallel, but you can do multiple [and] it’s a good way to explore a little bit more and give you more [things] to do.”
Arseneault says if you grab them all at once, you’ll probably have four to five at a time.
Because each contract is tied to a larger faction narrative happening throughout Baghdad – for example, I was collecting trinkets and special goods for merchant Dervis – you can complete a contract line. And doing so will net you the best rewards and, in the case of Dervis, goods to buy, Arseneault says.
While the team iterated to me that contracts are completely optional, with how much fun I had completing them and the rewards and favors I earned for doing so, they won’t be optional in my playthrough. Considering Mirage developer Ubisoft Bordeaux is the team that brought back contracts in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Wrath of the Druids DLC, which this studio led development of and did so with great success, I look forward to seeing what other contracts await me in the final release when Assassin’s Creed Mirage hits PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on October 5.
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