Ever since the gameplay reveal trailer for Assassin’s Creed Origins premiered at E3 2017, one question has been lingering like a dark cloud over director Ashraf Ismail’s head: What’s up with that big-ass snake?
Ismail finally addressed the giant snake controversy in the latest issue of Official PlayStation Magazine UK. When asked about the snake, Ismail replies, in the exhausted tone of a man hounded by thousands of angry fans every day over a small detail taken completely out of context:
There is a justification for that snake, of course, you don’t want me to spoil that for you and I won’t. Yes it’s a giant snake, if you ask yourself, how could a giant snake exist for a guy like Bayek? I’m sure there are a few answers that can work, but I’ll stay saying that Assassin’s Creed is an authentic, credible experience. We have our lore, but we don’t ever really break that immersiveness by all of a sudden going fantasy out of nowhere—outside the realm of the First Civilization stuff.
Thankfully, it sounds like Assassin’s Creed isn’t going full-on Harry Potter and introducing basilisks to the already confusing sci-fi lore of the Isu, or the First Civilization. So if we’re not dipping into the territory of high fantasy, what are some explanations for a giant snake?
Hallucinogenics are one possibility. Ubisoft is no stranger to sending its characters on drug-fueled, murderous vision quests. More recent Far Cry games are basically founded on this trope. In an interview with Eurogamer, Ismail dropped a major hint about the snake, stating that Bayek, the game’s protagonist, starts his journey by “unraveling a mystery” that “pushes him to leave his village and explore Ancient Egypt, and uncover his own soul in the process. And if you align everything I said, maybe it will explain what that snake is!” Sounds like a good old-fashioned, peyote-chomping vision quest to us.
However, as fun as tripping balls in ancient Egypt sounds, another possibility is that the snake is a glitch within the Animus. Ubisoft has given almost no information about the modern-day scenes of the game, or if they will even exist, though Ismail has hinted that there will be modern-day, Animus-related parts to the game. This would rest easy with the series’ sci-fi background, and add an interesting twist to the connection between Bayek and his as-of-yet unnamed descendant.
We’ll find out soon enough when Assassin’s Creed Origins launches for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 27th.