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The joy of Assassin's Creed Origins' costumes

Assassin's Apparel

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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.

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Who am I?

Alex Wiltshire

Mechanic Man

Alex Wiltshire writes about videogames and design, is a former editor of Edge, is author of Minecraft Blockopedia and Mobestiary, and edited Britsoft: An Oral History.

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