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Assassin’s Creed Mirage adds a permadeath mode that deletes your save file if you die or commit crimes

Permadeath modes are all the rage right now. Baldur’s Gate 3 added its terrifying Honour Mode earlier this year, while games like Amnesia: The Bunker and Against the Storm included the option to play without a safety net toward the end of 2023. Now Assassin’s Creed Mirage is getting in on the high-stakes action, with Ubisoft adding a brand new mode that doubles down on the perils of professional murder.

Titled Full Synchronisation Challenge (which sounds like a Japanese game show about swimming) Mirage’s permadeath mode not only desynchronises protagonist Basim from ninth-century Baghdad if he dies, it also ends the game if he commits “illegal actions”. These include killing citizens and straying beyond authorised map locations. As explained in the game’s release notes, should any of these unfortunate events occur, the game will display a new death screen that shows “statistics of gameplay time, total amount of conflicts, cause of the death, number of enemies killed, assassin rank, and difficulty chosen to play.”

Permadeath modes for games like this fascinate me. I understand Ironman modes in games like XCOM, where you lose soldiers for good if they die. XCOM is all about fighting an impossible war, so having proper consequences for failure makes sense in that scenario. But to lose all my progress in a game like Assassin’s Creed, or a hundreds-of-hours long RPG like Baldur’s Gate 3? I think it would make me so angry that I’d never play the game again. I suppose it’s partly about the challenge, or making the game truly yours. But with such a vast library of games to play, the idea of sinking hours into one only to lose all that progress horrifies me.

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If you are of a permadeath mindset, however, then completing Assassin’s Creed mirage in Full Synchronization Challenge will provide more than bragging rights. The game offers several tiers of in-game rewards for rising to the challenge that depend on which difficulty you play on. Completing it on easy mode nets you a talisman, while a normal Full Sync run will yield a talisman and a new costume. Throw in six new costume dyes to those rewards if you finish the game in Full Sync on hard.

Alongside the new permadeath option, the 1.0.7 update adds a few other features. Players can apparently now “wear any costume they own as an outfit”, a line I frankly struggle to parse. What were players doing with costumes before, eating them? I’m sure it makes sense if you’ve played Mirage, though. Elsewhere, the update adds an easter egg that, without giving too much away, might be feline themed. Finally, there are a bunch of bug fixes thrown into the mix, which includes “multiple stability improvements” and “enemies ringing the alarm bell are now correctly affected by smoke bombs.

You can check out the full patch notes here. I’m yet to sample the murderous joys of early medieval Baghdad myself, but Morgan was fairly taken with the game in his review, calling it “the purest stealth game Ubisoft has made in 15 years of AC.” Ubisoft’s gambit on a smaller, more focussed Assassin’s Creed game appears to have paid off commercially too. While the game’s initial sales were weaker than Valhalla, they were stronger overall than Odyssey.

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