It wasn’t until after I had finished the main game that I started to dig into some of the finer aspects of the story design of Origins. The world, the characters, and the story are all impressive in their own right. Still, as I was doing my research, I came across several details that truly exemplified the meticulousness of those who worked on the game.
I thought it would be fun to include some of these hidden nods to Ancient Egyptian mythology. The average casual gamer can easily miss these on a first play-through of the game. Some range from being pretty expansive to being others just a cool reference. Read through them. Let me know what you think!
1) The history behind Amun and Amunet.
At the end of the main game, one of the protagonists, Aya, changes her name to Amunet. Besides just being a killer (pun intended) name for one of the founders of the Assassins, Amunet is actually the name of an Egyptian Goddess as well, more specifically the female form of Amun.
Amun is the top God in Egyptian mythology for those who don’t know — think like Zeus-caliber or Odin — so the name Amunet has some weight to it, being the top dog. Also, Amun and Amunet both loosely translate to “hidden” or “hidden one,” which is what Bayek and Aya name the precursors of the Assassins. Finally, since Egyptian mythology evolved, worshippers saw Amun and Amunet as two distinct forces, who were also husband and wife during certain periods of history.
This is significant because as the game progresses, it could be argued that Bayek is Amun or becomes Amun or at least carries out Amun’s will. This is exemplified by the badass Servant of Amun outfit that you can obtain for Bayek at the end of the Curse of the Pharaohs DLC. Given that connection, it would only make sense that Aya would take on the moniker of Amunet. As the two founders of the Assassins and the two ultimate Gods in Egyptian mythology, the name fits.
2) Bayek and the ostrich feather.
During the various assassination and confession cutscenes in Origins, Bayek and Aya are seen wielding an ostrich feather. In these scenes, the feather is used to send a victim off to be judged, often accompanied with the phrase, “The Lord of the Duat awaits.”
The Lord of the Duat (the Egyptian version of the underworld or afterlife) is Osiris, regularly depicted with a crown decorated with ostrich feathers. He is also the ultimate judge of which souls get to pass through to the Field of Reeds (Egyptian heaven) or be devoured by Ammit, a demon with the head of a crocodile. The souls come to Osiris in the Hall of Truth and then engage in a two-part ceremony to see whether they are worthy of paradise.
First, they must categorically deny wrongdoings in their life, and then their heart is weighed against the feather of Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, Justice, and Order. This feather is often depicted as an ostrich feather in ancient Egyptian writings that depict this ceremony.
3) The boss battle between Bayek and the snake is based on a real belief.
After you take out the first few members of the Order of the Ancients in Origins, you are charged with assassinating the Scarab. Your trail leads you to Letopolis, a city literally being dug up from beneath the sand. While you’re there, you talk to the High Priest’s wife who is having trouble conceiving and end up being fed a hallucinogenic concoction by her shaman. This takes you on an extended dream sequence that culminates with you riding a glowing barge, wielding a bow made of light, and doing battle with a giant snake.
This encounter is taken straight out of one of the most fundamental aspects of Egyptian mythology, the daily skirmish Ra, the God of Light, has with the snake God, Apep, in the underworld. According to Ancient History Encyclopedia:
“Apophis (also known as Apep) is the Great Serpent, enemy of the sun god Ra, in ancient Egyptian religion. The sun was Ra’s great barge which sailed through the sky from dawn to dusk and then descended into the underworld. As it navigated through the darkness of night, it was attacked by Apophis who sought to kill Ra and prevent sunrise. On board the great ship, several different gods and goddesses are depicted in differing eras as well as the justified dead, and all of these helped fend off the serpent.”
This battle is pivotal for Bayek and is also a microcosm of the whole series, playing into the larger themes of Order vs. Chaos that plays out in the current version of the series’s modern-day storyline. It’s always fun to see how the story of an Assassin hints at the larger story of humans and the Isu.
4) The Curse of the Pharaohs DLC is heavily inspired by history.
The larger story of this DLC is actually a major focal point in Egyptian history. Amenhotep IV, who eventually came to be known as Akhenaten, meaning loosely “Effective for the Aten,” was a pharaoh who ruled from 1351–1334 BC. Five years into his reign, he decides to throw out all of the old Egyptian gods in favor of the Aten or Sun Disc. The old polytheistic religion of Egypt is practically eliminated and in its place is a monotheistic religion of Akhenaten’s creation. He declares that only he and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, can communicate with the Aten, and that all of Egypt must now worship the Sun Disc.
With this new religion firmly in place, Akhenaten sets off into the desert and builds a new city, solely devoted to worshipping the Aten, which he humbly names Akhenaten. (Origins hints at this mythical city in its Pharaohs DLC.) He then promptly moves Egypt’s capital from Thebes to Akhenaten and continues with this transition for another twelve years. Only when his 9-year-old son Tutankhamun takes the throne does Egypt return to its old polytheistic ways, and Akhenaten is eventually branded as the Heretic Pharaoh.
This is just a few of the ways AC: Origins continues to shine long after it has been released. If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, this is an entry you won’t want to miss. If you know of any other cool references or anything else I missed, please let me know.
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