The joy of Assassin’s Creed Origins’ costumes

Assassin’s Creed clothes are some of the best clothes in all games. Those layers, all those flowing, flapping, swinging layers: cloth and leather and swords and knives and pouches and harnesses. I often idly wonder, as I watch an Assassin’s Creed loading screen, how many people – how many studios! – produce Assassin’s Creed’s clothes? They’re a wonder of code and art coming together, of layers of beautiful fabric flapping just right. And Ubisoft knocked Assassin’s Creed Origins’ clothes out of the goddamn park.

For example, my favourite outfit in Assassin’s Creed Origins features a sash of pale linen which hangs down between Bayek’s legs, and as he runs it swings from side to side. I’m often mesmerised by the way it doesn’t swing in a completely predictable manner. His knee will knock it back to the side it swung from; it’ll twist around, be pushed by the wind as he runs. As in all Assassin’s Creeds, his clothes emphasise his movement as a dynamic, living thing, not some set animated cycle.

Mind you, though his arms are bare, it looks like it’d be hot to wear in dry Giza heat or muggy Memphis. There are just so many layers. In fact, Bayek looks like he’d be hot in most of his gear, other than the bathrobe and his default outfit, and *especially* the Desert Cobra, which comes with the Special Edition. Honestly, all of that rubbery snakeskin makes me think that Bayek might be indulging a fetish rather than caring about his comfort or agility, and it leaves him peering out of a giant snake’s head. No, I can’t have any of that.

I don't mind snakes, but the sheen this thing has is just gross.

(As an aside, Assassin’s Creed has always seemed to enjoy its main characters looking hot. My experience of Tuscan summers is enough to know that Ezio will have been sweating like hell. Even Altaïr, whose outfit looks positively minimalist against the Byzantine excess of modern Assassin’s Creed, was surely uncomfortable. And I guarantee that Edward Kenway will have stank most.)

Anyway, the reason I like the Egyptian Irtyu outfit is that as a 42 year old dad, I’m fundamentally into light cottons for comfort, simple patterns in neutral and darkish colours so I don’t stand out, and minimal exposed flesh. I’m fully aware that it’s the most likely the Blue Harbour of the late Ptolemaic Kingdom, and I don’t care. (10 years ago, I would definitely have cared and probably have worn the cool Roman centurion gear or something.)

I'm sure it's pretty popular, but it's just not assassiny, or Egypty.

And I also like it because it’s one of the outfits in Oranges which subtly changes over the game. It’s part of a little feature that I love, that your weapons will change and you’ll upgrade your armour, but you don’t need to change your clothes. In many loot-heavy games you tend to have to leave nice clothes behind in favour of better ones. There are things like Diablo III’s Transmogrification system that separate cosmetics from functional garb, but they’re extra faff.

But in Oranges, a few of the outfits, including the Egyptian Irtyu and Bayek’s default set, have him wearing some standard bits like bracers and a pouch which represent his fundamental stats and as you upgrade them they become more sumptuous. Bayek’s usekh collar steadily becomes this wonderful armoured, golden, decorated thing under the frayed folds of the hood I chose for him, a design that takes the best of both worlds: I get to wear what I like and also to see it gently evolve and reflect his growing power.

Sorry about the blood stains. Lions attacked me.

Most of Oranges’ other outfits don’t allow this, and many kinda skirt around traditional Assassin’s Creed couture, that hood ’n’ forked tail coat/robe thing that Altaïr sported. And I guess another part of the Irtyu’s appeal to me is that follows it closely. It makes me realise that I really dig, well, maybe not the hood so much, but definitely the forked tail. That way Bayek’s boots flick up the forks as he runs, I must have spent hundreds of hours across the series watching that little stylistic flourish, from loading screen to historical city, era to era. It’s that expression of dynamic, live motion, and I don’t seem to be able to get enough of it.

24 Comments

  1. Kamestos says:

    If they had half the talent in the game and mechanics design department compared to the artistic (and world design) department we would have a Zelda BOTW-level game every year.

    • Lovely Alexander says:

      I wanted to love BoTW. And I did at first. I’ve been playing it for the past few days. But I’m finding it a frustrating slog of poorly thought through, or at best, poorly implemented, mechanics. Held together by constant backtracking. I really feel it doesn’t respect my time. I feel like I’m missing something after seeing it showered with so much praise. I’m extra disappointed, because in the same fortnight I’ve gone off Mario Odyssey too. Again, something that I liked at first.

      Now, a Horizon Zero Dawn every year. Yes please.

      Sorry, I think this feeling of frustration and disappointment has been building up over the past couple of weeks. I don’t mean to unload on a game you like. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

    • Hyena Grin says:

      I’m not even sure what this is really supposed to mean.

      Origins is pretty darn good, gameplay-wise. They trimmed a lot of the fat from the formula that had been growing like a tumor since the first game. It’s stripped down into what I think is a pretty concise and effective game, with more focus on quests/missions and exploration than on collecting nonsense. In fact there’s not really much in the way of things to collect, apart from crafting materials (the hunting of which is largely optional, as you tend to find materials along the way without trying, enough to keep you going)

      I dunno what they could do exactly. I almost feel like people have these kneejerk reactions out of habit.

      BotW is a great game, but it’s a pretty meaningless comparison. I have been every bit as enthralled with Origins as I was with BotW. The exploration is a lot more satisfying, the world is more beautiful, and while BotW has a little bit more going on in some ways, I don’t feel like Origins is missing anything. Everything it does is done really well.

      • EwokThisWay says:

        “I dunno what they could do exactly. I almost feel like people have these kneejerk reactions out of habit.”

        It’s EXACTLY that, don’t look any further. Every Assassin’s Creed it’s the same thing since AC3, people shit on the series for no reason, even when they actually enjoy the game. They just refuse to praise UbiSoft because UbiSoft.

        Assassin’s Creed has some misteps but it remains one of the most intellectually ambitious series of video game ever made. And to be that ambitious you have to make mistakes, experience with some stupid mechanics to find the perfect balance.

        I’m glad UbiSoft didn’t back down after the Unity shit storm and delivered a good Syndicate and an amazing Origins.

        • Shadow says:

          “Every Assassin’s Creed it’s the same thing since AC3, people shit on the series for no reason”

          The reason is right there, in the middle of your phrase.

          • Hyena Grin says:

            The game sells very well, there’s obviously an audience for what Ubisoft is doing.

            This is like going to baseball games over and over and complaining that you don’t like baseball, it’s the same thing every time.

            If you don’t like the formula, stop playing the games. I don’t know why people keep complaining when the games are successful, and tons of people find them fun.

            God, it’s like it’s not allowed for games to exist that don’t appeal to every single person on the planet.

  2. Zenicetus says:

    The costumes are indeed very well done this time around. Almost all the blue and purple sets look like something a Medjay/Assassin could wear walking through a village without attracting too much attention. About half of the Legendary/DLC sets are that way too, and they still manage to look cool.

    The one thing I miss is an asbestos set, because half the time I’m dying from accidentally setting myself on fire by glitching into a brazier or something, and botching the “roll” to put it out. You’d think the Cobra leather or one of the minimalist sets wouldn’t burn that easily!

  3. ReluctantlyHuman says:

    It is definitely the least practical of outfits, but I enjoyed wearing the Sekhmet outfit during the major assassinations. I like the symbolism of it, plus those jerkmasters liked to wear their spooky outfit when they did their dirty deeds, so it seems like a fine comeuppance.

    Also, I love love love the evolution of the accessories as they are leveled up. It legit bugs me that I haven’t got both bracers to match yet, but I am getting there.

    • Sartharina says:

      Yes! So much! Especially if you know who Sehkmet is… and I’m using a Flaming Hunting Bow and sword that spreads poison, which both fit that fantasy very well.

      My only problem is I keep forgetting to take the helm off when talking to friendly people.

    • PampleMoose says:

      Only thing I don’t like about the Sekhmet outfit was that you would wear the helmet all the way through the cutscenes in the underworld when talking to the targets. Sometimes I wished in at least some of those the helemt would just toggle off, so you could see Bayek’s facial expressions and not hear the echoey helmet thing. But yeah, 100% did the same thing, feels so appropriate wearing that outfit.

  4. Lovely Alexander says:

    I’m yet to play Oranges. But I wonder if they’ve got around to fixing the tails of the protagonist’s robes clipping through the perch at the top of viewpoints. Once I noticed it 80 games ago, I’ve seen it at the top of every single viewpoint in every single Ass Creed I’ve played since. Which, I think, is just about all of them.

  5. racccoon says:

    Saw this game on ps4 god it looks so poor graphically on that console.

  6. DeRR1ck19 says:

    Is no one going to call out the fact that the author randomly starts calling the game Oranges???

  7. pixeltoniq says:

    My favourite is the bathhouse towel outfit from the Snake mission.

    • ReluctantlyHuman says:

      I’ve also enjoyed that, and if I wasn’t playing on a large TV in front of my husband and mother-in-law sometimes, I’d probably wear it more often.

    • Sartharina says:

      I wish it had the collar :(

      Seriously – Collar, skirt, and maybe the utility belt and bracers would have been the best outfit for him.

  8. dangermouse76 says:

    Whats with the gmail login help link ?
    I’m getting a potential malware redirect from that.

  9. kdlastun88 says:

    I definitely agree with you on this!Take a look at The Anxious Gamer – Yet another gaming blog for articles.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>