Reel to Real – ACO and Bollywood in Egypt

Left picture courtesy – Sebastien Primeau

Disclaimer: Apart from the screenshots of our game recording, all other ACO Pictures are taken from Adobe Art Station. We claim no right to their pictures. Hence we have kept the Ubisoft watermark wherever applicable. We have used it for mere comparison purposes only.

This is my story of wandering in the places where Bayek of  Assassin Creed Origins wandered along with a bit of Bollywood drama. Like most other Indians, I fell in love with the Suraj Hua Maddham song as a teenager. But, at that time, I never bothered to think if the place in the song is real. As I grew up, my playlist changed; eventually, I forgot the song and its “Snow like” desert location. One day when I was playing ACP & Sahana was eating Dosa, she recognised one location and screamed that this is the same location as Suraj Hua Maddamham’s song. We dug deeper and found out the real heaven in Egypt.

So this post takes you to the real-world locations of Assassin Creed Origins Egypt and one of the most romantic songs of Bollywood.

What is Assassin Creed Origins???

Comparing Bayek in Egyptian temple to real traveller in actual Egyptian temple

It is an action-adventure stealth game played from a third-person perspective. We have to complete quests—linear scenarios with set objectives to progress through the story of a Medjay. The Medjay were a semi-nomadic people whose homeland was in the eastern desert ranging from Egypt to the Red Sea. They are mentioned as early as 2400 BC when Egyptian texts recorded them as warriors serving with the Egyptian military. In short, you can call them the policemen of ancient Egypt. The Medjay Bayek is the Assassin and Senu is his eagle.

Where is AC origins located?

White desert and Bayek of AC Origins game

The entire game is set in ancient Egypt. On the quest of opening the entire map of Assasin Creed Origins, I landed in the white desert while playing. After finishing the particular task in the game, I kept wondering if that place exists in real. “The designers must have been inspired by someplace for sure.” – I thought and left it there. But once I compared the reel to real locations, I was awestruck.

Bayek wearing mask infront of Step Pyramid at Saqqara and Indian travellers at the same location in reality
BAYEK AND US

Is Assassins Creed origins a real story?

Bayek in mortuary temple and Indian traveller in the same location in reality

The Medjays were real. They were the protectors from a particular ethnic group. Researchers have found thousands of papyrus scrolls with hieroglyphs and paintings of Medjays. Historians believe that Medjays existed from 2400BC to 1050 BC. And the group eventually vanished during Greek-Egyptian time. the ACO Medjay Bayek is believed to be the last Medjay and his timeline doesn’t match with Greeks whose timeline belongs to the 7th Century BC. So. Bayek is real, but the timeline is made up to match the plot.

Some mercenary weapons of ACO existed in ancient Egypt. But some are exaggerated – multiple shot bows, bejewelled weapons, magical fire swords are fantabulously designed mythical weapons.

Is Egypt in AC origins accurate?

White desert cave in AC origin and reality
Left PIC Coutesy – Artsation

Egypt’s white desert of Bahariya oasis and Assassin Creed Origins

Well, you now know how accurate the plot is. But there is no doubt on Ubisoft designing Egypt almost as it is! They are almost accurate I would say! All statues and temples that look like ruins now used to be coloured in ancient times. But in ACO, you see come dissimilarities.

While travelling in Egypt, there were times when I got so busy recollecting the gaming memories that I was lost in reality. We had no plans to capture any particular frames or pose for pictures to match it with either the game ACO or the song. So what we have in this post is an “After trip” adventure of matching the reality to the reels.

White desert cave in AC origin and reality

Similar cave, different Bayek

ACO Locations in Real Life Egypt

Bayek in Egyptian temple ruin and real Egyptian temple with bell capital
MEDINET HABU

Assassin’s Creed Origins: the Journey through Ancient Egyptian temples.

You can count a minimum of twenty Non-Egyptian movies shot in front of the Pyramids. A few of them were filmed virtually, and a few of them were filmed in front of the pyramids/ temples for real. So I am sticking onto the Assassin Creed Origins only with temples and the pyramids.

Karnak Temple

Seeing those colourful temples and temple ruins in ACO, I imagined the Egyptian temples to be colourful in real life. Though Sahana had shown me the current conditions of the temples, I was still hoping it to be colourful least in parts. Honestly in ACO, Thebes is the place I wandered finishing many missions. Karnak is the main temple of their sun god, It is where I had to end Isidora’s games of intrigues

Valley of Kings

All that Bayek did in king’s valley is killing robbers who were robbing the tombs. Indeed everyone wants the treasure. Sadly this is the reality too. The treasures have been looted by humans in real locations so much that the Egyptian government asked people to move out of the archaeological site to the city of Luxor.

Colossi of Memnon  in Assassins creed origins and in reality at Luxor
PIC ON THE TOP COURTESY – Martin Deschambault

Colossi of Memnon – It used to be submerged underwater until the Aswan dam was built. I could recollect Bayek stopping the boat from fighting hippos or crocodiles here.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Bayek was supposed to chase away the robber in the King’s valley. But his mission in the Hatshepsut temple was to loot the treasure himself! As much as I love Egypt and respect its history, I want to have the parts of treasure, too. So all the time in Hatshepsut temple, I wondered if I am standing right above some billions worth of treasure.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in AC origins and reality

The most beautiful temple in Egypt is – Hatshepsut temple. Its locality with giant mountains, symmetry, levels and that staircase to infinity makes you live in the Pharoah’s era.

It isn’t just the architecture, but an insane story of how a queen became a King in ancient Egypt that makes the temple even more interesting. As much as I loved the temple and its surroundings, I loved queen Hatshepsut’s story more. Read our post ” “Best things to do in Luxor.” to listen to all these exciting stories of Egyptian temples.

Abu Simbel, Temple of Ramesses II 

Abu Simbel in AC Origins and reality

An artist’s creation Vs temple of Ramesses II & Nefertari in Reality

There were differences in reels and realities. In the game, there is no lake Nasser by the temple side. But in reality, Abu Simbel is right on the banks of Lake Nasser. The other differences are – The game shows an obelisk and villages nearby. Whereas in reality, there is no such thing.

Great Sphinx of Giza

Bayek standing on Sphinx in Assassin creed Origins and Indian traveller posing forehead kiss with sphinx in reality

Historians believe that the Sphinx was never finished. So what they show in ACO is a bit different from the reality

While playing ACO, I climbed on the sphinx and jumped off it. I even hid behind it to save myself from Hyenas. All I was allowed to do in reality was to pose in front of it from almost 30m away. Most of the tourists who go to the Sphinx either kiss him or put sunglasses on his face. Like any other typical tourist, I got a forehead kiss. 

Saqqara Palace & Rites of Anubis.

Saqaara pyramid and palace complex in Assassin creed Origins and real complex in Egypt
TOP PIC COURTESY – Emil Gruev

In the game, the map of Saqqara Nome opened with lots of side quests. I loved most of them. All I remember now is “Rites of Anubis.” Bayek had to perform a ritual inside the Step pyramid – The oldest of all the Egyptian Pyramids.

In reality, forget about going inside; we were allowed to see the pyramid from only far. There was an extensive excavation going on back then in January 2019. In April 2019, Egyptologists have found a new tomb. You can watch a detailed documentary on Netflix – Secrets of Saqqara Nome.

Saqqara Necropolis is not just a step pyramid. It is a palace complex with lots of Mastaba tombs and ruins of other pyramids. If the weather favours you, you can see the Giza Pyramids from here! To know more, read our post “Fascinating stories of Egyptian pyramids.”

Saqaara pyramid and palace complex in Assassin creed Origins and real complex in Egypt
TOP PIC COURTESY – Emil Gruev

Pyramids of Giza

One of the most challenging missions was finding Khaliset inside the Khufu pyramid and chasing away her Hyenas. As we climbed up the Khufu pyramid, all I could think of was Khaliset and her Hyenas. The way Bayek slides on the smooth white surface of the pyramid is something I wish I could do. But, unfortunately, all the plastered surface has been worn off, leaving the stones behind.

When we saw Bayek walking inside the pyramid, Sahana felt it is not a big deal in real life too. Being claustrophobic, she had a tough time inside the pyramid. However, even if you aren’t claustrophobic, duckwalking for 40-50m downwards isn’t a cakewalk. After playing ACO, she said, ” Hunting for hyenas and Khaliset was more manageable than walking inside the pyramids.”

Assassin creed Origins Bayek on camel and Indian traveller imitating the same pose infront of Giza pyramids

This picture is a result of the last moment camel ride!

Egypt’s White desert in Assassin’s creed origins

Assassin creed Origins in Egypt

The most exotic location of ACO & even in Egypt is Bahariya Oasis’s White desert. Honestly, other than killing some animals like Gazelles to collect the skin, I did not accomplish any mission in the white desert while playing. I had thought I could spot some jackals or gazelles as Bayek did here. But, other than these “Godzilla egg” kind of stone mountains, we didn’t spot any animal. Bayek was on a horse – I was in a car. He was on a mission to save Egypt – I was on a mission to make my dream of being Bayek true.

I was clueless, both in reels and in reality. Sitting on a horse with no particular mission to accomplish, I wandered aimlessly in the game. In reality, I was clueless again, wondering if I am on earth or some other alien planet.

Assassin creed Origins in Egypt

Sahana’s smile seems weird, right? She planned to wear a saree and do “LA-LA, LAAA” like how heroine Kajol does in that song. She tried to stay without her Poncho and hand gloves for a few minutes in that cold weather. By the time I clicked this, she was ready to jump off that lime mound to reach her warm wear kept on the ground, just like Bayek jumps from the roof to collect treasure on the ground.

The Bollywood -Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham in Egypt

Comparing Suraj Hua Maddham song filming location and Indian traveller in the same location

Many Indians consider Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol pair to be legendary. I neither agree nor disagree. But watching their romance in the song Suraj Hua Maddham on the white desert is a delight. It may make anyone feel romantic, but surely make everyone dream about visiting its wonderful ” non-earthly” location.

At the Bawiti village, we left our trolley at a local’s house and carried only one backpack with essentials. On that cold and sunny day at the Bawiti village, I asked Sahana if she wants to leave the saree in the main trolley. She was confident about changing her dress to a saree in the white desert despite facing a severe cold in Giza. I had packed a Dhoti to go with the flow of her ethnic wear. ( SRK does not wear Dhoti in that song, but I love Dhotis). So we carried the Dhoti and saree in that backpack of essentials. Forget about a saree; we could not even remove our hand gloves until Ahmed put a bonfire. A minute of the jacketless moment for a photo felt like we were about to get frozen forever.

The desert is vast and dazzling. It is super isolated from the rest of the world. Isn’t it obvious that this land makes you forget everything else and takes you to trans mode with its immense beauty? Each formation looked as if someone poured tons of Lime paste and sculpted these out of it. So it is extremely hard to match the scenes from the song with the ones in the desert.

Kajol in green saree with arms stretched in front of a white lime formation and the same location in reality

To know how to reach the White Desert and why you must not go there by yourself, read our post here.

Egypt’s Black desert and Bollywood

The route to the white desert is weirdly unique. The beige sand, Brown sand, Balck mountains and ultimately, you will hit the white desert. Now, I am sure of the white desert location, but a few frames of the song where I see the black mountains may not be near Bahariya. So though these photos look similar, I now doubt if the black mountain part of the song was filmed in the Wadi Gamal desert. 

Suraj HUa Maddham song filmed in Black desert

Are you a gamer and a movie maniac too? Which movie has inspired you to travel to that particular place? Let us know in the comment section below.

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