Since the game’s release back in October 2017, I’ve put well over a hundred hours into Assassin’s Creed: Origins. The main protagonist, Bayek, makes this game and its story exciting to play through and the origins of the assassins more meaningful. As we progress through the game, we get an idea of just how personal Bayek’s mission is and how he changes into a crime-fighting assassin for Egypt. If you haven’t finished playing the game yet, this isn’t the article you’re looking for! I’ll be taking a deeper dive into Bayek’s character and the journey he undergoes throughout ACO so there will be spoilers!
At the beginning of the game, we are thrust into Bayek’s revenge path with no idea of what happened to him. Only when he returns to Siwa and reunites with his beloved Aya do we discover that his son, Khemu, has been murdered at the hands of The Order of the Ancients. Bayek’s bloodlust and desire for vengeance spurs him into killing all who are a part of this order. As you travel throughout Egypt, you learn more about Bayek’s and Khemu’s relationship through the side quest called “Bayek’s Promise”. While aligning the stars with each stone circle, Bayek explains what each constellation means and how they relate to the gods they worship. Bayek promised Khemu that he would take him to all the stone circles in Egypt and vowed to keep that promise even after his death (side note – if you complete this side quest and go to the secret entrance at the Sphynx, you can unlock a sick outfit).
What makes Bayek’s mission of killing The Order of the Ancients so gut-wrenching is how his son died. The level of heartache and pain that Bayek experiences is understandable to any parent. A parent’s greatest fear is the death of their child. To portray that through a video game and do it so well is a feat in of itself and Ubisoft knocked it out of the park. What makes it more haunting is experiencing Bayek’s visions of Khemu throughout the game. It’s clear that the start of the Assassin’s (or Hidden Ones) is a result of Khemu’s death. Be sure to pour one out for Khemu after reading this.
A Love Lost
If Khemu’s death wasn’t enough to get your waterworks going, Bayek’s relationship with Aya will open up the floodgates. Aya’s passion to fight against injustice and broaden her horizons is what got Bayek to fall in love with her and it’s clear that their love runs deep (#relationshipgoals). They fight together and often have to be separated because of Aya’s commitment to helping Cleopatra overthrow her brother while working to get rid of The Order of the Ancients. Each time they reunite, it is as if no time has passed. However, as the game progresses, you start to see the falling out of their relationship. It is clear that vengeance for Khemu is the only thread left that is holding this union together as Aya hangs out more with Cleopatra in Alexandria and Bayek wonders all over Egypt assassinating members of The Order of the Ancients. By the end of the game, Bayek and Aya decide it best to go their separate ways because of Aya’s bad investment with Cleopatra (hey, we’ve all been there) and Bayek cannot go with her to Rome.
Watching their love for one another slowly crumble throughout the game is heartbreaking. Of course, it’s not just Aya’s or Bayek’s fault alone this happened. It’s a result of duty to the greater good taking precedence over a person’s love life. Aya has to make the painful decision to leave and rectify her choices and Bayek has to learn to let her go so he can help with keeping the people of Egypt safe. Having to make the decision to abandon your union in order to protect people who will never know you makes Bayek’s sacrifices that much more valuable.
Side note: If you are like me and want to play Aya throughout the ACO universe, she is a playable character in the Discovery part of Origins (Cleopatra is playable too). However, I’m still holding out hope that we can play Aya in Rome or Egypt in future DLCs. Ubisoft, please and thank you.
Yes, Bayek’s journey is the story of how the brotherhood of assassins came to be but it’s also a story of grief, loss and redemption. We see a man turn from a vengeful father to someone with a new purpose to help others and fight for the greater good. In a way, Khemu’s murder was the spark that established a force of good against evil. Assassin’s Creed: Origins shows us that how the Brotherhood of Assassins was formed isn’t important: it’s why it was formed that makes Bayek’s journey so critical to the story.