Basim's Complete Origin Story | Assassin's Creed Valhalla & Mirage
VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown
WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Basim Ibn Ishaq from "Assassin's Creed Valhalla" has a fascinating origin story. For this essay, we're looking at the beginnings of Basim Ibn Ishaq, who will also star in 2023's “Assassin's Creed Mirage”. We'll cover all information about him in "Valhalla" as well as what we know about his youth, which will be further explored in "Mirage."
Welcome to MojoPlays! Today, we’re looking at the origin story of Basim Ibn Ishaq from “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and 2023’s “Assassin’s Creed Mirage”. We can’t wait for Ubisoft’s upcoming prequel.There are spoilers ahead for the plot of “Valhalla”, if you still didn’t get around to beating it.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Basim's Origin Story
We first meet Basim in the intro for “Valhalla”, as Eivor’s adoptive brother Sigurd returns from his long voyage away from Norway, accompanied by Basim and his apprentice Hytham. This was the first time we’d seen a true member of the Brotherhood, still known as the Hidden Ones, since 2015’s “Syndicate”, with Basim teaching Eivor many assassination techniques and even gifting them a hidden blade – even if Eivor DID choose to wear it wrong.
But Basim’s story didn’t start in “Valhalla”, by which point he was already a Master Assassin. Ubisoft announced in September 2022 that the next mainline game in the series would be “Mirage”, and that it’ll be a prequel to “Valhalla” focusing on Basim’s youth, something we don’t know too much about. What we DO know is that we’re going to be going to Baghdad in the middle of the 9th century, right in the midst of the Islamic Golden Age. Baghdad was a rich city of learning and a major stop on the Silk Road trade route, remaining that way until it was conquered and razed by the Mongol empire in the 13th century. It was even, for a time, the biggest city in the world, making it an ideal setting for an “Assassin’s Creed” game that will focus on one large, meticulously created map.
We saw in an early cinematic trailer that the game will follow Basim’s youth, from his origins as a street thief stealing to survive to his recruitment by the Brotherhood, eventually rising to the rank of Master Assassin. We also saw and heard in the trailer Basim’s mentor Roshan, who provided the narration and also appeared to fight Basim later on for unknown reasons. We’re going to see Basim’s rise through the ranks of the Brotherhood, a journey that used to be a common plot in this series but hasn’t appeared since “Unity”. It’s emblematic of Ubisoft’s back-to-basics approach with this title, and will serve as an ideal entry point for people who have been too daunted by the massive RPGs of the last few years.
At the end of the cinematic trailer, we saw Basim encounter a monster in a Memory Corridor. This monster has been identified by Ubisoft developers as a Djinn, better known in the western world as a “genie”. He’s seeing this because, as “Valhalla” players will remember, he’s a Sage of Loki. In the lore of “AC”, the Sages are reincarnations of the Isu, the precursor race who created humanity and all of the futuristic technology seen in the series. Originally, we thought the only Sages were specifically reincarnations of Isu Aita, who was the husband of Juno. But most ancient deities are, in fact, Isu, including Basim, Eivor, and Sigurd, which is what leads Basim to join Sigurd on his journey in the first place. Basim slowly learning that he’s a Sage, much like Eivor learned they were a Sage of Odin over time in “Valhalla”, is something we’re definitely going to see explored in “Mirage”.
Sigurd, on the other hand, is a Sage of lesser-known Norse deity Tyr, the god whose hand is bitten off by Loki’s son, the wolf Fenrir. The loss of Fenrir is something Basim laments in “Valhalla”, blaming Eivor, as Odin, who slays Fenrir in the Asgard memory sequence. When Basim meets Sigurd during his time in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire at the time, he immediately recognizes Sigurd as a fellow Sage, but doesn’t really explain what this means in great detail. He convinces Sigurd of how special and important he is, which goes straight to Sigurd’s head, but Sigurd is ultimately not as important as Eivor. We also saw in the Asgard sequence Odin deny Loki access to the technology the Isu used to create the Sages in the first place. Loki defied Odin, obviously, but hasn’t recovered from this old grudge, which is what continually leads Eivor, Basim, and Sigurd into conflict throughout “Valhalla”.
Basim’s influence pulls Sigurd away from the Raven clan as they search for Isu relics, while Eivor remains behind to take care of people and become the leader Sigurd is not. Eivor is also the one who helps Hytham, after his injury, hunt down England’s many Templar zealots, a duty Basim neglects. Eventually, all three of them find an Isu vault, with Basim finally giving up his designs on Sigurd in favor of Eivor, and leading to a boss fight. It turns out that this Isu vault houses Yggdrasil, the World Tree in Norse mythology but in reality, an ancient, powerful supercomputer. Eivor successfully defeats Basim and seals him in Yggdrasil, which keeps him alive for more than a thousand years.
That is, until he’s eventually awoken in the modern day by Layla Hassan. She finally discovers and connects with Yggrdasil, meeting Basim in the Gray, a digital afterlife that has been referenced in the series for years. However, he tricks her into releasing him, and then steals the Staff of Hermes from her unconscious body. Because the whole vault is radioactive, this kills her but revives Basim’s body in a painful process. Layla is now trapped permanently in the Gray with an entity called “the Reader”, who is what remains of Desmond Miles after his death in “Assassin’s Creed III”. Basim leaves the vault to find the Assassins, and though Shaun and Rebecca obviously don’t trust him whatsoever, they do agree to call the leader of the Assassins, William Miles, to meet with him, which we’re presumably going to see play out in “Mirage”.
Basim and the Reader both explain that another catastrophe like the one that first wiped out the Isu AND like the one Desmond averted in 2012 is already on the horizon. Layla and the Reader are now trying to find a way to prevent it, while Basim is free to carry out his own machinations in the present day. These have something to do with Aletheia, an Isu deity we first met in “Odyssey’s” “Fate of Atlantis” DLC, and Loki’s consort. Loki seals Aletheia’s consciousness in the Staff of Hermes, communicating with her directly upon his awakening. The entire plot to create an “Heir of Memories” capable of someday reviving Basim with the staff was apparently hatched by the two of them thousands of years ago, with Basim now looking for a way to bring Aletheia back as well.
This mirrors a plotline we’ve already seen before, with the Sage of Aita constantly trying to revive Juno and grant her a new body, though neither Aita nor Juno have been seen in the series for years now. And it will be interesting to play as a Sage once again in “Mirage”, especially if we learn through Basim’s memories exactly what his plan with Aletheia is and whether it will help or hinder the modern Assassins’ attempts to save the world once more.
And that was Basim’s origin story in “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla”.