Assassin’s Creed is no stranger to other forms of storytelling, but among the series’ shelves of tie-in books, stacks of graphic novels and lonely Blu-ray of the Michael Fassbender film, there’s not been anything quite like Assassin’s Creed Gold. An eight-part audio drama created and released by Audible, Gold is an enjoyable mix of the video game series’ usual historical shenanigans – that feeling you’re mixing with key historical figures – via a dollop of Hollywood talent to help things along.
Gold’s starry cast includes Star Wars: Rogue One’s Riz Ahmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Anthony Head, who respectively steal the show as blind assassin Omar Khalid and apple-loving scientist Sir Issac Newton. Together, the two tackle a counterfeiting conspiracy which has left a trail of bodies in its wake. Meanwhile, in Gold’s present day storyline, Khalid’s descendent Aliyah Kahn (No Offence’s Tamara Lawrence) – acts as its protagonist, aided by familiar Assassin faces such as series stalwart Shaun Hastings (the ever-present Danny Wallace).
The story begins in a familiar way – with Kahn being scooped up by Assassin handlers so her genetic memories can be explored via the Animus. Kahn, a poker-loving scam artist with a heart of gold, is as developed a modern day protagonist as Assassin’s Creed has ever had. This isn’t saying too much, of course, but we hear enough about her life in and around trips to the past that there’s more of a balance to the present and historical storylines than we’ve had for a long time. There are parallels to her experiences too, sort of – she’s a victim of the recent cryptocurrency bubble, while her ancestor helps Newton investigate a plot to destabilise the British economy with fake coinage. And her reflections on the racism Khalid faces in the past, as a person of colour today, are well observed.