Assassin’s Creed Mirage finally hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Luna, and PC this week. We’ve been covering it for a few weeks now as part of Game Informer’s exclusive cover story coverage – check out our Mirage hub here for exclusive features, interviews, previews, and more – but everyone can play the game starting October 5.
Ahead of its release, we spoke to famed actor Shohreh Aghdashloo about her role as Basim’s mentor, Roshan, in Mirage, what the experience was like, what she wants players to take away from Roshan, and so much more. We also spoke to Basim voice actor Lee Majdoub and Mirage narrative director Sarah Beaulieu and you can check that out here.
Enjoy our interview with Shohreh Aghdashloo below!
An Interview With Shohreh Aghdashloo
Game Informer‘s Wesley LeBlanc: Can you give me a quick elevator pitch for your character in Mirage?
Shohreh Aghdashloo: I would say definitely she’s one of the strongest female warriors I have ever seen in my life. She has this strong sense of justice. She wouldn’t mind putting her life in danger and at the forefront to bring justice to this town. And she’s a representative of diversity, ethnicities, and cultures, in the Ninth Century in Baghdad and its golden time.
This is the first time in a minute that Assassin’s Creed has gone back to its Middle Eastern roots. There’s a Middle Eastern protagonist in Basim, and you’re an Iranian actress. I’m curious what it’s been like being able to breathe life into this character where you might have a cultural connection with them.
Aghdashloo: Obviously, projects closer to you are closer to your heart. When I was offered the role, I was hoping that she was Persian, you know, coming from ninth-century Baghdad, because it’s the golden time of Baghdad. But also, when I started reading the script, I noticed that she is one of the Hidden Ones. I’m thinking, “Hidden Ones, I do remember hearing stories about the Hidden Ones in Persia.” When I was a kid, my grandmother told me a lot of stories about the Hidden Ones. And then I started doing more research, and I found out that is what it was inspired by, a book called The Book of Lord or The Book of God, and it comes from Persia. And obviously, I was more interested in thinking that maybe I could do better now that I feel so close; it feels so close to my heart. And it’s such a multi-layered, sophisticated game. Perhaps knowing what happened, what took place back then with the Hidden Ones, would help me even more to be able to do a good job for this game.
Can you speak a bit about your character’s connection with Basim?
Aghdashloo: It’s interesting. When I first read the script, it was obvious, it’s on the surface: this female warrior is looking for young people to recruit and to be able to bring justice to Baghdad with Basim. After a couple of pages, I noticed that their relationship is also multi-layered; she does not only believe in him, she does not only believe that he will be able to turn into an amazing assassin. But also, the feelings that she has for him is like mother and son. What really made me interested in portraying this character was the fact that this mother believes in justice so much that she wouldn’t mind putting her kids on the front as well with herself and fight for justice. It’s a very, very complicated, sophisticated sort of multi-layered relationship between the two of them.
How did you get involved with the game to begin with?
Aghdashloo: I was offered the role. I started doing games 15 years ago. With the first one I did, I enjoyed it so much I said, “I’m going to do more and more.” And when it came to Assassin’s Creed, I noticed that the more I do video games, the more evolved they become. I keep saying this: the first time I played a video game was with my nieces decades ago, and it was all about the guy jumping from one roof to the other.
It didn’t have such an elaborate story like Assassin’s Creed Mirage has and not such elaborate sets, and we were just watching a bit of it, and I was in honor of what Ubisoft has done with bringing Baghdad in the Ninth Century to life. It looks exactly like the pictures, obviously the imaginary pictures of Baghdad or the region back then in the Ninth Century. And it blew my mind when I saw a bit of it, and what a great job Ubisoft has done with making it real. You only can relate to it when you believe in it. And if the game makers and the actors, the voice artists, are able to bring a bit of the truth into this, obviously, the audience, the game players, the gamers would immediately connect to it. Another reason it’s so easy to connect to is because although it takes place in the Ninth Century, it can relatively speak for today very well. If you just change the coats the pashminas into brands of today and give them fast cars instead of horses, and the story, history, repeats itself. And we need to learn from it in every which way.
What’s the biggest difference between film, TV, and video games for you?
Aghdashloo: From head to toe, you are at the disposal of bringing the story to the silver screen no matter what. But with voice artists, with the voice-over, what you need to do is channel it all into your voice because in order to be able to project, we need to move around. We are in a box, limited. If I need to call someone or, when I get angry, or my character gets angry, it’s like, yeah, you need that movement to open up your chest and allow you to project as much as you can.
The reason us actors love doing voiceover is the fact that we don’t have to go through the process of hair and make-up two, three, sometimes four hours. With some of the series I had to do, my call was at 4:30 a.m., and I would get to the studio at five. And it would take them three hours to do hair and makeup, and it’s wild and uncomfortable sometimes, but you need to pretend that it’s not, that it’s so comfortable in uncomfortable shoes, period shoes especially. So you don’t have to go through those passes. All you need to do is to wear flip-flops and pull your hair back – you don’t need makeup. It’s all about acting, putting the acting part into your voice.
What’s it like projecting your voice into a microphone and then, however many months later, the team at Ubisoft puts that on to your character and into the world. Do you remember the first time you got to see your work in the game?
Aghdashloo: Oh, yes, I do remember. Well, my first reaction was, “Why do I walk like this?” They said, “This is not movies, this is games.” Yes, it’s very strange the first time you see yourself and hear yourself. It’s a very strange feeling. But then you get used to it, and you love doing it. As an actor, we really are storytellers at the end of the day. Sometimes people ask me which one I prefer more: theater, movie, television, or voiceover? And I keep saying that I don’t act for the medium; I act for the sake of the acting.
What do you hope players take from your character and her journey in Mirage?
Aghdashloo: First and foremost, I hope for them to have fun. I’m telling you, this is amazing. This is a really fun game to deal with, to play. I always wish for my daughter to be happy more than anything else. So first and foremost, I would love for players to have fun and be happy that they are able to play such a sophisticated and complicated game. They will take it in no matter what because no matter what, it’s going to go into their subliminal and make them ask questions. For me, a real piece of art is not there to teach me anything; It’s there to ask me questions and make me think when I ask myself questions as to why are these people doing this. Why are they not? Why do they have to do this to people who are beneath them? Why can’t we have justice for all?
You know, questions like that come to your mind and then make you feel like, “There are still places that this is happening. What can we do to make the whole world wake up and understand that we are all human at the end of the day? People of the world, regardless of the color of our skin, our accent; we’re all human beings, people of the world, and why can’t there be justice for all of us? Why can’t people stop being greedy and be more kind?” These are the questions that I would love for them to ask themselves. But I know for sure that no matter what, regardless of what I like, they are going to do this, they are going to take this in, and they’re going to ask these questions. They’re going to think about it. And when a piece of art makes me think, the piece of art has made it home.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage hits PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Luna, and PC on October 5. It’s due out sometime next year on iOS as well.
For more about the game, be sure to check out Game Informer’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage exclusive coverage hub for previews, features, in-depth interviews, videos, and more.
Source: Game Informer Shohreh Aghdashloo On Her Role As Basim's Mentor, Roshan, In Assassin's Creed Mirage