The Assassin’s Creed series has come a long way from its days as a concept to reboot The Prince of Persia franchise. Assassin’s Creed’s first outing took players to the Middle East, but subsequent entries have explored London, France, and other historic locations across the globe. The latest entry, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, returns to the Middle East, but just because it’s retreading somewhat familiar territory doesn’t mean players will see many familiar faces.
As a quick reminder, on October 5, 2023, Assassin’s Creed Mirage was released for PC, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5. The game stars Basim Ibn Ishaq (who is not-so-secretly the reincarnation of the Isu Loki) in his early days as a member of the Assassins, long before he met the main character of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Eivor. Unlike more recent entries, Mirage returns to the franchise’s stealth-based roots and restricts players to one city, specifically the “lost city” of Baghdad. This setting places the game a few hundred miles from the locations of the first Assassin’s Creed, but Mirage takes place several centuries before its events. While also taking place after its events. Let me explain how this anachronistic anomaly works.
While the Assassin’s Creed games stars a series of heroes from different time periods who are seemingly unrelated aside from their parkour and assassination skills, in truth they are all simulations created by a piece of tech known as the Animus. The machine reads the DNA of a user and creates a simulation based on information stored in genetic coding. This MacGuffin lets narratives play out in two different time periods.
So where does this leave Assassin’s Creed Mirage? The game’s main action takes place in the year 861, back when the Assassins were known as the Hidden Ones and the Templar Order was The Order of the Ancients. As a result, Mirage’s historical setting is placed between Assassin’s Creed Origins, which unfolds between 49 BC and 43 BC, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which occurred between the years 872 and 878. Looking for a little more information? Here’s a quick summary of how each game fits into the greater Assassin’s Creed timeline:
Assassin’s Creed Timeline: Every Game in Chronological Order
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (431 BC – 422 BC)
This game takes place in Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War and stars either Alexios or Kassandra. So far, Odyssey is the only game without a Hidden Blade, but the protagonist can wield the Spear of Leonidas in much the same fashion.
- Assassin’s Creed Origins (49 BC – 44 BC)
While Origins is no longer the earliest chronological entry, taking place during the rule of Ptolemy XIII, the game still recounts the origins of the Hidden Ones through the eyes of Bayek. Moreover, Origins features the first chronological use of the Hidden Blade.
- Assassin’s Creed Mirage (861)
Mirage takes place in the city of Baghdad at the height of its power. The game stars Basim in his first steps joining the ranks of the Hidden Ones.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (872 – 878)
This game takes place during the Norse invasion of England. Players control Eivor Varinsdottir (or her male equivalent) to help the Norse settle in a new land. Since Eivor interacts with and receives a Hidden blade from Basim, Valhalla is one of the few entries with a historical setting that is directly connected to another entry.
- Assassin’s Creed (1191)
The original Assassin’s Creed takes place during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land. Players control Altair Ibn-La’Ahad as he tries to assassinate key members of the Templar Order. This game is the first chronological entry to solidify the organization names as the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order.
- Assassin’s Creed II (1476-1499)
This game started arguably the most famous saga in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. In it, players control Ezio Auditore da Firenze during the Italian Renaissance. Assassin’s Creed II started many trends in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (1499 – 1507)
This game picks up from where Assassin’s Creed II left off. This time, the game takes place in Rome during the rule of the Borgias and centers around Ezio rebuilding the Assassin Brotherhood.
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (1511 – 1512)
The final entry in the Ezio trilogy, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations takes place in Constantinople to discover the secrets left by Altair.
- Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China (1526)
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is the first entry in the Chronicles subseries and stars the last member of the Chinese Assassin Brotherhood, Shao Jun. The game takes place during the last days of the Ming dynasty.
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (1715 – 1722)
Many audiences believe Black Flag is the best entry in the franchise. The game stars Edward Kenway, the grandfather of Assassin’s Creed III’s protagonist and the father of Assassin’s Creed Rogue’s main character. Black Flag is set around the Caribbean Sea during the Golden Age of Piracy. While the game didn’t introduce a sailing or naval combat mechanic, it did perfect them.
- Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry (1735 – 1737)
Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry began as a DLC campaign for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The game stars the ex-slave Adéwalé, who learned many of his skills from Edward Kenway, and takes place in the Caribbean Sea yet again. While Freedom Cry was originally available through Black Flag’s season pass, it was rereleased as a standalone title.
- Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (1752 – 1760)
To date, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is the only entry in the franchise to star a Templar, Shay Cormac, although he retains all the skills he learned during his time with the Assassin Brotherhood. This game takes place during the Seven Years’ War and is set around New York City, the Hudson River Valley, and surrounding areas.
- Assassin’s Creed III (1754 – 1783)
This entry takes place during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution. Assassin’s Creed III stars Ratonhnhake:ton (aka. Connor) as he helps the British Colonies fight to found the United States.
- Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (1765 – 1777)
Liberation is the first entry in the series to star a female assassin, Aveline de Grandpré. The game takes place near the end of the French and Indian War and is set in and around New Orleans.
- Assassin’s Creed: Unity (1789 – 1794)
This game takes place in Paris circa the French Revolution and stars Arno Dorian. Unity is the first and so far last Assassin’s Creed entry to feature a co-op campaign. The game is also the most contentious game in the franchise due to its litany of bugs at launch and the reasons why developers dropped a customizable female player character.
- Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India (1841)
This game takes place in Amritsar during the war between the Sikh Empire and the East India company. Players control Arbaaz Mir as he tries to retrieve a Piece of Eden from Templar hands.
- Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (1868)
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was the first and so far entry in the franchise to feature two playable protagonists. Unlike the heroes of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla, Jacob and Evie Frye have their own strengths and weaknesses, and players can swap between the two at will. This game takes place in London at the height of the Industrial Revolution and revolves around gang warfare.
- Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia (1918)
As of writing, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia is chronologically the last game in the franchise. The game stars Nikolai Orelov and takes place shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. Due to the setting, Chronicles: Russia makes heavy use of modern-ish technology, most notably firearms.
Which order should you play the Assassin’s Creed games in? While it might be tempting to play them in the timeline order based on their historical locations’ chronology, you should instead go by their release dates.
As previously stated, the franchise has two chronologies, and in the grand scheme of things, the more important narrative takes place in the modern-day sections when the protagonist exits the Animus. Assassin’s Creed games are separated into sagas, and many entries tie into the events set up by prior titles. To get the most out of each saga, you need to play games based on their release dates. Playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey before Assassin’s Creed Origins will just make you lost.