One of the issues I have with male player character is often that they’re fully bought into the stoic, emotionless, stiff and solitary aspects of masculinity. In short, because they’re so emotionless, they’re boring. This might be an ideal if you’re a guy, it might be a wonderful power fantasy, but it’s not my power fantasy. I can’t identify with a dude on screen acting all stiff. I can’t identify with a dude, period.

Bayek is not like other game protagonists. Bayek is different. He’s got a full range of emotions and they show on his very expressive face. This is one of the reasons that Bayek is one of two male characters I’ve managed to play through a whole game. The other is Galahad in The Order 1886. But, back to Bayek and Bayek’s smile. In this instance, he’s being told how to behave in the presence of Cleopatra. We could discuss the portrait of Cleopatra at length, I feel, but this is about Bayek’s smile.

Bayek smiles so widely and I can’t help but love that face. So joyous. That’s why the game is so hearbreaking. As it progresses, Bayek has less and less reason to smile. But man, when he does… It’s dazzling.

Bayek smiles around 1:40 in this video, if you want to jump straight to it.