Assassin’s Creed is going further back than it ever has done before, to ancient Egypt and the origins of the Brotherhood of Assassins. After taking a year out, it seems like this new entry is trying to change up the formula for the series with a revamped set of systems. What’s different? What’s returning? Here’s everything we know.
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Assassin’s Creed Origins release date
To compete with the other titles this holiday, Assassin’s Creed Origins is coming out on October 27. It’s not a huge surprise, considering the series has always been so huge.
Assassin’s Creed Origins setting
We’re going back to ancient Egypt for Assassin’s Creed Origins, and we’re going to be playing Bayek of Siwa; the last of an Egyptian military order called the Medjay. The story takes place during the transitory period between the Macedonian Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom, roughly about 300 BC.
Bayek is a hero in his hometown, but is looked down upon as an example of previous rule by those in the more Greek Ptolemy-influenced areas; the Medjay are no longer required now that Pharaohs are a relic of the past.
Otherwise, we don’t know a huge amount - Bayek is going to start the Brotherhood of Assassins as he believes the gods of Egypt are on his side, but we don’t know a huge amount about his motives and goals.
Bayek will be accompanied on his journey by other playable characters, but as of yet we know very little about them. Unlike Jacob and Evie Frye from Syndicate, you won’t be able to swap on the fly between Origins’ characters; there will be specific missions when you control different people.
Assassin’s Creed Origins open world
There’s a huge feat being undertaken for Assassin’s Creed Origins: Ubisoft are recreating all of Egypt. It’s probably not to scale (trekking through a 1:1 desert can’t be that much fun) but it’s still a huge task that hopefully will yield impressive results. Naturally this means a huge map; almost ten times larger than Syndicate’s world, with multiple cities.
Part of the way they’re capturing all of Egypt is by creating defined areas. In an interview on the Ubisoft blog Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Origins’ game director, said that they’re trying to show off the different areas of Egypt as “the perfect playground”.
“We know that people, when they think Egypt, they think desert,” he said. “But Egypt is way more than that. You have the Nile Delta, you have the Nile River, you have tons of oases.”
The E3 demo shows off a small part of one region, Faiyum, and there’s going to be further regions that span the country, presumably to match the different areas and ecosystems of Egypt.
Something important here is that viewpoints, an Assassin’s Creed staple, are a little different. Rather than being just for revealing the map (although, in the same blog post as above, it’s implied this may not be the case for the final version), they’re for unlocking fast travel points and quests. You can fast travel between unlocked locations, as well as use horses, camels, or chariots to get around the country, or boats along some of the bodies of water.
Climbing has been vastly overhauled, too. Now if you can see it, you can pretty much climb it. This means you’ll be able to crawl your way up trees, cliff faces, and mountains, not just buildings. The pyramids themselves will be somewhat trickier, though; each will be a navigation puzzle requiring a bit of thought to reach the very top.
The world’s day and night cycle will now offer you a larger range of opportunity. At night many NPCs will go to bed, leaving the streets empty for you to make your approach. And if your target has tucked in for the night, too, well that’s just easy pickings.
Assassin’s Creed Origins combat
One of the major changes to the Assassin’s Creed formula is a revamped combat system. Fight mechanics are now rooted in stamina and adrenaline. Successfully striking and dodging will build your adrenaline meter, and you can spend this to finish enemies with flashy attacks. Bayek is also equipped with a shield, which adds a new element of defence; it can be used to deflect incoming strikes and knock enemies back.
You can also unleash a special move that can only be activated after being in combat for a while, should you just want to just batter your way through a crowd. You don’t always have to be a sneak.
The key thing to take away from Origins is that it is being re-tooled as an action RPG. That means unlockable abilities, as seen in the skill tree, and a move towards XP governed systems. Enemies will be levelled, and if you take on foes that are higher level you’ll fail to assassinate them in a single hit. Targets in story missions will always be at your level, but you’ll find it pretty much impossible to stealth areas populated by stronger characters.
Your approach to combat has also had a bit of an RPG makeover; while you don’t select a class, the items available to you allow you to roleplay the likes of a warrior, ranger, or rogue. Bayek can use a bow and arrow, meaning the series now has fully-integrated ranged combat now. There’s also a skill to control those arrows and bend them mid-flight to ensure that all-important headshot.
The RPG elements also pass over to loot and gear; killed enemies drop items, weapons and armour are levelled, and you’ll want to make sure you have the best stuff equipped before taking on your high-level targets.
Overall the combat appears to more closely resemble games like The Witcher 3 and Dark Souls, signalling the series’ apparent move away from stealth to a more action-oriented focus. Sneaking will almost certainly still be a key component, but we predict that the overall feeling of the game will lean closer to that of an open-world RPG than a stealth game. This new combat will no doubt take a bit of getting used to, and it seems like the new gladiator arena is the perfect place to learn and hone your assassin skills.
Assassin’s Creed Origins weapons
There are 160 unique weapons in the game, split into categories designed to cater to different situations. On the melee side of things you’ll be able to equip swords, sickle swords, dual blades, heavy clubs, heavy blades, scepters, and spears. On top of that, you can fight bare-fisted, or with one of four types of bows: a hunter’s bow, a warrior bow which lets you fire 5 arrows at once, a light bow that fires 5 arrows in quick succession, and a predator bow equipped with a viewfinder. Yes, that’s essentially a scope on a 300 BC bow.
In the style of Far Cry, bows can also be used as a distraction, such as opening up the cages of nearby animals. On top of that, fire arrows are available to set boats or oil pots on fire.
You can hold two bows and two melee weapons at any given time, but the unlimited inventory will mean you can easily swap these out for different items from your collection.
One thing to note is that the famous Hidden Blade isn’t always an instant kill now: you’ve got to keep upgrading it for it to be so effective. And it’s not just the hidden blade, either: there are progression levels for all of Bayek’s weapons and tools.
The abilities tree ties into your gear, allowing you to unlock things like firebombs or poison clouds once you’ve progressed far enough, or even tame lions to help you out.
Assassin’s Creed Origins preorder
There are six(!?) different versions of Assassin’s Creed Origins that you can preorder for PC. There’s the base game, with just a bonus mission called Secrets of the First Pyramids for preorders, and a deluxe edition includes a physical world map, the official soundtrack, an exclusive mission called Ambush at Sea, and the Desert Cobra pack (a collection of weapons, outfit, and a horse with tusks). Upgrade that to the Gold edition and you’ll also bag the season pass.
If you’re a fan with cash to spare, you can invest in one of the more elaborate variants. The God’s Edition comes in a flash gold box and includes an art book and a figurine of Bayek on the Sekhmet, as well as everything in the Gold edition. Next up on the lavish-o-meter is the Dawn of the Creed edition, which packs all of that in plus an amulet, art cards, and a steelbook. The statue is replaced with a larger one of Bayek and his eagle Senu, too.
And that leaves the monstrous Dawn of the Creed Legendary Edition, which replaces the Bayek statue with an identical one that’s both larger and made of resin. There’s four lithographs in the box, too, to sweeten this £699.99 deal.
Assassin's Creed Origins trailers
The most important of the trailers so far, this five minute gameplay video shows off many of Origins’ new elements. Check out the refreshed UI, the slow-motion archery, the drone-like eagle vision, and the beautiful new open world.
The E3 trailer is a bit of a sizzle reel, showcasing snapshots of Ubi’s recreation of ancient Egypt. We get a good luck at the wildlife and some of the landscape variety, as well as some outbreaks of cinematic violence.
The Mysteries of Egypt trailer shows no gameplay, but offers a look at the landscapes in-engine. It certainly looks like a beautiful place for a good stabbing.
That’s everything we can tell you about Assassin’s Creed Origins for now. There’s a few months left until release, though, so hopefully an intelligent eagle will tell us more about the new features it saw while scouting the Ubisoft offices very soon.