ACOrigins: CGI Trailer Analysis
Markuz & Hephaestus, August 20th, 2017

It’s that time of the year again! Gamescom is upon us and what better way to kick it off than the Assassin’s Creed Origins CGI Trailers that many were expecting at E3 and many more asked for afterwards?

With a plot twist for some and a confirmed expectation for others, the trailer landed yesterday evening (Italian time) and it shocked the community for everything that it contains, from the beautiful visuals to the environments, from all the new historical and side characters to the themes that are sometimes explicit and sometimes a bit more subtle.

With this analysis of the CGI trailer we at Access The Animus can officially start our Gamescom coverage, so stay in the coming days, we have a lot of content planned for you!

So… let’s try and follow what happens throughout the video while in the background resounds the aptly chosen song “You want it darker” by Leonard Cohen. The trailer starts with a ship reaching a dock of the river Nile with Sneferu's Bent Pyramid in the background. The ship seems to be carrying someone very important as the dock is very close to a big temple which resembles in shape the Temple of Edfu, a temple dedicated to the falcon God Horus located on the west bank of the Nile. The assumption is confirmed as a group of eight soldiers plus their mace-wielding leader get out of the ship, four of them holding a throne on their shoulders with a man sitting on it.
Our "important character"

The man is masked, only his eyes and hands can be seen. He’s dressed in blue and gold and has a golden pin of what seems like a falcon, which might be once again a reference to Horus. What attracted our attention the most, though, is, of course, the mask itself. It probably represents Amun-Ra, the king of gods that represented the fusion of gods Amon and Ra which was visually represented by the union of the two symbols usually found on their respective heads: two long golden plumes for Amon and a red sun disk for Ra. These two can actually be seen on our “important character”’s mask, which is why he seems to be representing Amon-Ra, while still not being the pharaoh, whose title at that time was held by Cleopatra along with Ptolemy XIII.
What’s more, this mask is very important because it’s the same mask (and so the same character) that appeared on the Assassin’s Creed Origins wall calendar holding an Apple of Eden as we reported a few weeks ago. This should definitely draw some attention towards him but we’re just at the beginning.

The masked man holding the Apple of Eden

The trailer then moves onto the interior of possibly the same temple, showing more statues dedicated to Horus and to the bull god Apis and a procession of people that bows down to two people: one of them is again a masked man, with a different mask, but still representing Amun-Ra while the other is the one that everyone is bowing too and that in a later scene addresses a roaring crowd which makes him almost surely the then co-ruler of Egypt, Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator. This scene is important because while the people bow to him, “Ptolemy” seems to look at the masked man, possibly worried, and only then the masked man looks back at him, implying that he has a sort of dominant position over the pharaoh / co-ruler.
Men wearing Anubis masks...
The next scene of the trailer takes place in a fan-favorite location, the pyramids. More specifically the action takes place inside one of them and we see the process of mummification where people take the organs from a dead body to store the in the canopic jars so that their previous owner can keep them for the afterlife, according to the Egyptian tradition. The camera moves backward through the corridors of the pyramid and shows another phase of the mummification process, where the body is wrapped in bandages and then the completion of the process with the final sarcophagus. In these specific scene we can also see some men wearing Anubis masks, which makes sense considering Anubis is the Egyptian god associated with mummification and the afterlife.

In a few seconds, though, something more interesting happens. This time it’s three men wearing a mask with the Amun-Ra symbols and if that’s not enough, for a few frames the trailer shows one of them giving dagger to another masked man or more specifically what seems to be an Egyptian ceremonial dagger which looks almost identical to the one found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. More specifically, Tutankhamun’s [meteoritic] dagger was part of a set of blades that appear very similar to those used in the Egyptian opening of the mouth ceremony, a ritual performed for the benefit of the deceased to achieve the afterlife. So one would have to ask why are the ominous masked men wielding a ceremonial dagger (made possibly of [only] iron and not [gilded meteoritic iron] like Tutankhamun’s one)?

A comparison between Tutankhamun's ceremonial dagger and the one used by the masked men

Going back to the trailer, the camera then zooms out very fast to show a pyramid (and that the previous scenes were shot inside of it). More specifically the trailer now shows a very brief “fast forward” sequence showing the three main pyramids of the Giza Pyramid Complex and a few moments afterwards the environment actually becomes a scale model of the Giza plateau that is looked upon by none other than… Cleopatra!


The famous Egyptian queen and pharaoh / co-ruler of the country that had already been mentioned as part of the cast of AC Origins and was also partially shown in a preview of the wall calendar finally makes her official appearance and does it in a majestic way: she puts on the scale model an element that will change the political situation in Egypt and all over the known world forever. In fact, that element is a man on a horse, dressed in Roman armor and wielding a sword. The trailer once again shows a transition from the scale model to the real world showing that the man dressed in Roman armor is – and I’m going to repeat myself here – none other than Julius Ceasar!

Julius Ceasar!!

This time the trailer reveals a major historical character that had not been announced before and that will probably play an important role over the narrative of the game. Caesar is shown leading his army towards Alexandria and its famous Lighthouse and these few frames represent the so called Siege of Alexandria which, of course needs a bit of context to better understand the political situation that, based on this trailer, we are going to find in Assassin’s Creed Origins.

The beginning of the second half of the first century BC is very important for the Roman Republic. In fact, from 49 to 45 BC Rome is torn by the so called Great Roman Civil War, a conflict that started as a confrontation between Julius Caesar, who had previously emerged as champion of the common people and Pompey who supported the politically conservative and socially traditionalist faction of the Roman Senate. The two sides fought through several battles, the most important of which was the Battle of Pharsalus, in central Greece, that took place in 48 BC which was an utter defeat for Pompey who, after the battle decided to flee to Egypt.

The Ptolemaic Kingdom around
300 BC (blue) [Source: Wikipedia]
Egypt at the time was under the control of the Ptolemies, a Hellenistic dynasty that had been established after the death of Alexander the Great (who had conquered Egypt in 332 BC and set the new capital in Alexandria), when Ptolemy, one of the three main generals of Alexander’s army, appointed himself as king of the country with the name of Ptolemy I Soter (thanks to a Prong of the Trident of Eden, according to the Last Descendants series).

The Ptolemaic Dinasty lasted for around 300 years and because its kings adopted the Egyptian custom of marrying their sisters, many of the them ruled jointly with their spouses (or their daughters), who were also of the royal house. This is why starting on 51 BC Cleopatra co-ruled Egypt with his brother Ptolemy XIII but quickly she made clear that she had no intention to share the power with him to the point in which she removed his name from all official documents and his face from the coins used in the country. Of course Ptolemy XIII did not like this and three years later, thanks to his counselor Pothinus was able to depose her and make her flee to Syria, but she quickly organized her own army and started a civil war in Egypt.

This is where the Roman civil war and the Egyptian one meet each other because in 48 BC, as we mentioned, Pompey flees to Egypt to seek help from Ptolemy XIII (remember, considering these are the years that are going to be featured in Origins, all of these events might appear in the game – or none :P). Ptolemy initially pretended to accept Pompey’s request but then had him killed by two of his former soldiers and decapitated to try and win Caesar’s favor in order to win the civil war in Egypt…. But didn’t receive the response he expected.

Caesar arrived in Alexandria two days later and was disgusted when he received the head of Pompey. He is reported to have wept for the death of his former ally and then rival and ordered Pompey’s body to be found and given a proper Roman funeral.

After knowing what happened, Cleopatra did his best to use the situation and have Caesar on her side (the trailer does an amazing job in showing that Cleopatra is using Caesar quite literally as a pawn in her quest for the throne).
"I was sent by Apollodorus" (Source: IGN)
According to historian Plutarch, she had herself smuggled into Ptolemy’s palace while rolled up in a carpet that was carried by Apollodorus the Sicilian (we bet this famous anecdote will appear in the game). Does the name Apollodorus ring a bell to you? Well, it should, as Bayek seems to know him and even carry out tasks asked by him, as shown in the E3 demo of Origins.

As many of you may know, Cleopatra won Caesar’s favor so much so that the two became lovers and because of this he arranged her official return to the throne of Egypt, but Ptolemy didn’t accept it, so he had his generals attack Alexandria, which led to the aforementioned Siege of Alexandria which was eventually won by the Romans thanks to the help of Mithridates of Pergamum, although, again according to Plutarch the Library of Alexandria got burnt in the process.
As a final result, the Romans defeated Ptolemy and his army in 47 BC during the Battle of the Nile, at the end of which many of the Egyptians fled, including Ptolemy, who reputedly drowned when his ship capsized.

We wrote all of this long historical explanation, like we said, to give context and also to expose some of the events and characters that might appear in Origins but the trailer is far from being over.
After showing Caesar, the video proceeds to show Alexandria by day, with a roaring crowd in front of the main palace. On one of the balcony we can see the pharaoh, Ptolemy, who is once again prompted, or should we say controlled by the same masked man with the falcon pin from the beginning of the trailer that points at the crowd that Ptolemy has to meet.

At this point it’s easy to hypothesize who is going to be the real antagonist of the game… or maybe it isn’t. As we know from the Assassin’s Creed lore both Cleopatra and Caesar are killed by an Assassin (respectively Amunet and Marcus Junius Brutus) and Caesar specifically was supported by the Templar Order while was nominated “dictator” of the Roman Republic in 49 d.C. as mentioned by the Assassin’s Creed Encyclopaedia. Also, the Abstergo Files from Assassin’s Creed Revelations mention “We [The Templars] were there when Cleopatra claimed her birthright”, hinting at the fact that possibly the Templars supported her claim for the Egyptian throne.

Still, the CGI trailer is very clear in showing who will be Bayek’s enemy, as it goes back to the first scene, where the masked man with the falcon pin is still sitting on a throne hold by several soldiers…. And gets hit by an arrow, while the same happens for other soldiers. Finally our protagonist, Bayek, appears showing that he’s there for the masked man. Of course a battle with all the guards ensues, and through it it’s possible to actually see some of the gameplay features in the game like arrows getting stuck on shields, the possibility of using arrows that were stuck on dead bodies or even the chance of having more than one guard attacking Bayek at once.

Bayek's glance aimed at his enemies

Bayek comes out of the battle victorious although very heavily wounded and bleeding from his left arm, so much so that some blood goes on his Hidden Blade as he prepares it to strike on the masked man…. But his target has fled, leaving only his mask and his cloak with the falcon pin. A snake comes out of it, and this seems to have a symbolic meaning as the camera focuses on it. One moment later, Bayek tilts his head a bit and the trailer immediately shows Senu, who attacks and kills the snake, ending the trailer.

This last moment is very interesting for two reasons. The first is that, even if very briefly, it shows the – still to be explained – connection between Bayek and Senu, as the Assassin seems to actually call her when she tilts his head. The second one, which may possibly be more important, is the symbolism that Senu attacking the reptile may have. In fact, the trailer ends with an eagle attacking the snake, while both seem to represent the two competing factions, Bayek and the masked men or, to possibly better put it, the proto-Assassins and what probably is going to be the order of the proto-Templars.

To be honest, there have already been some tidbits of evidence about the masked men even in the information that surrounded Origins at E3. For example, in the gameplay trailer shown at the Microsoft Conference Bayek talks about his target, Medunamun and calls him “the next masked one on my list” even in he’s not wearing a mask in the trailer. What Medunamun is wearing, though, is a falcon shaped pin on his cloak, which makes him very much “consistent” with the masked man from the CGI trailer.

Medunamun and his shiny falcon shaped pin

Another reference about masks comes from the quest “Sobek’s Gold” that could be played in the E3 demo. When a priest wearing a mask dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, unjustly beats his apprentice, Bayek says “Your priest’s clothing is just a mask for cowardice. By god I hate masks!”, which is another proof that Bayek is standing against the masked men.

Speaking of masked men, another member of the group might be Hetepi, the man wearing an Anubis mask in a t-shirt, on a promotional art and in a screenshot of the game.

Finally, the last reference from the E3 demo comes from the main mission “The Crocodile”. In this mission, as stated by the database in the pause menu, “Bayek travels to the Faiyum to hunt his next target, the member of the Order of the Ancients known as ‘The Crocodile’”.

The first mention of the "Order of the Ancients"

This last picture possibly shows us another member of the masked proto-Templars and even gives us a potential name for the Order before they chose to call themselves the Knight Templars, as many other members have already hypothesized.

And that’s it for our CGI trailer analysis! Do you agree with what we discussed about? Did you spot anything else in it that you might want to share with us?

Let us know in the comments!

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