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Assassin’s Creed Origins’ hieroglyphs passes this scholar’s spell check

Ubisoft did its homework

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A scholar who studied ancient Egypt during the reign of Cleopatra VII — the setting of Assassin’s Creed Origins — decoded hieroglyphs used in some frames and screenshots promoting the game and, whaddaya know, found that Ubisoft designers really did their homework. There’s a message in the hieroglyphs the game uses, and it’s accurate to the period represented in the game.

This is interesting because in adventures set in ancient Egypt, hieroglyphs are so easily be presented as gibberish or filler and a mainstream audience probably wouldn’t know the difference. While Claire Manning points out that there are some filler characters in the following image, it still translates from Middle Kingdom hieroglyphs, which she studied as her honors subject at university in Australia.

Lo and behold, it contains the phrase “Everything may be,” which easily fits the (literal) Assassin’s creed: Nothing is true; everything is permitted. There is also the phrasing “We work in the dark, to serve the light.” That portion was added to the creed by Ezio in Assassin’s Creed 2.

Manning’s thread gathered attention over the weekend, including from Ubisoft. Part of its promotion of the game is a machine-learning initiative, developed in partnership with Google, to translate hieroglyphs. More on that is in the video below.

Assassin’s Creed Origins comes out Oct. 27, a day packed with A-list launches. The 10th console title in the decade-old franchise, its setting is the earliest point in history and will establish the order of chaotic-good assassins and the beginnings of their conflict with lawful-evil Templars.