The most exciting bits of info on the upcoming Ubisoft mammoth.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey might not be taking the one year gap that its direct predecessor did, but it’s looking like a stellar game. It’s building on exactly what made Origins so good, bringing back some of the most beloved features this franchise has ever been known for, and adding radical new changes and departures that will, potentially, forever change the face of the entire series. It’s release is looming large on the horizon, and as we gear up to engage in the age-long battle of good versus evil once again, let’s first take a look at the fifteen most interesting bits of info you need to know about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Combat was the area where Origins changed things the most, perhaps, and Odyssey is, at its core, building on that same reinvention. However, it’s changing things up a bit as well, by essentially making all of combat a lot more customizable than it was in Origins – or ever has been in the series, by the looks of it. Ranged combat, stealth, and brawler style melee combat will all three have their own individual skill charts, and Ubisoft have promised that they’re each going to be deep enough to allow players to cater the combat experience to their own tastes and preferences. How much truth there is to that remains to be soon, but already it’s looking a low more fluid and open than Origins.
Assassin’s Creed might be a series that tries to – at least to some extent – maintain a semblance of historical accuracy, but that doesn’t mean it sticks to the history books to the letter. Ubisoft have been known to try interesting things with the franchise, and it looks like that’ll continue in Odyssey. Mythological creatures such as minotaur and Medusa are going to be featured in Odyssey, and players will be able to take part in quests that task them with hunting these creatures down.
FULL BLOWN RPG
The thing that Ubisoft have put the most amount of emphasis on in the months since Odyssey’s official reveal is the fact that with the game, they’re turning the series into a full blown action RPG. It’s a direction that Assassin’s Creed has been inching toward bit by bit for a long time, but Odyssey seems to be taking the full leap of faith. That doesn’t just apply to customizable combat either- dialogue choices, romance options, proper gear and equipment management, and everything else you’d expect to see in an RPG is all going to be in here.
MORE THAN 30 HOURS OF CUTSCENES
Did we mention dialogue choices? Yeah, I think we did. Ubisoft have claimed that the dialogue choices in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey aren’t going to be there just for the heck of it- no, they’re actually going to have an impact on the way the story progresses. A byproduct of this is that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a lot heavier on cutscenes than the series has ever been, which makes sense, because if choices are as meaningful as Ubisoft says they are, there will be plenty of cutscenes that players will be missing entirely. Odyssey, according to the developers, has over thirty hours of recorded interactive cutscenes. Woof.
Sticking with the point about the choice and consequence mechanics, here’s just how meaningful it’s apparently going to be- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will have multiple endings as well. Ubisoft have claimed the game will put players in situations where they will be faced with tough decisions, and that these will have consequences that will have long-term effects on the story. They might even result in different endings- that’s how long term they will be. Of course, the game will still have to remain historically accurate to the era and events it depicts, which means that the outcome of the Peloponnesian War isn’t something you’ll get to decide- apparently, it’ll be the characters and the protagonist whose endings will be impacted by the choices you make in the game.
Speaking of the Peloponnesian War, while it’s unlikely that you’ll be unable to literally change the course of history, changing the course of the way, if not its outcome, is something Odyssey will still allow you to do. It will, in fact, be a full fledged mechanic, and a core part of the experience’s gameplay loop. Each region of the map will see both Sparta and Athens fighting against each other to assert control over, and players will be able to side with either one of them, being the mercenary that they will be in Odyssey, doing missions for whichever side you choose and hence rendering them more powerful in that particular area. These will also involve all-out battle sequences between both sides which will see over 100 soldiers from both sides fighting against each other in real time, something the players will be part of as well. Looks and sounds suitably epic.
Dynamic weather is something we more or less expect large emergent open world games to have in today’s day and age, and a large emergent open world game is exactly what Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is. So yeah, it has dynamic weather, which is something Ubisoft have confirmed. What kinds of weather patterns we can expect isn’t something we know much of yet, but we can definitely expect plenty of furious storms out in the seas. Speaking of…
Naval combat was a surprise addition to the series in Assassin’s Creed 3, which was then taken to its absolute peak with Black Flag and, to a lesser extent, Rogue. Origins brought it back in a very limited fashion, but with Odyssey, naval exploration and combat is coming back in all its glory. Of course, given the game’s setting, you’ll now be firing volleys of arrows instead of canons, but it looks great. You’ll now also be able to ram into ships head on and literally split them in two, which looks as amazing as it sounds (let’s hope it feels just as good). And, of course, it’s getting expanded in other ways as well…
Your ship is a lot more than just a means to travel and engage in naval battles in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It is, more or less, your home base. Kind of like Mother Base in The Phantom Pain. Something else like Mother Base in The Phantom Pain? You can recruit people to your ship. Almost every enemy NPC you run into in the game, you can analyze for their stats and advantages and disadvantages, and recruit them into your naval crew. They will provide unique bonuses and buffs, and some might even provide missions.
Ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins has to be, without the shadow of a doubt, one of the best open world maps I’ve ever seen in any video game. It was gorgeous, it was huge, it was decently diverse, and it had a ton of interesting things to do. Odyssey’s Ancient Greece is looking to one-up it in almost every area possible- Ubisoft says this is the biggest map its ever created for Assassin’s Creed, and at 130 km², it’s 62 per cent bigger than the one in Origins. Of course, the catch is that a large section of that 130 km² is covered in water, so when it comes to just the landmass, Origins still ranks ahead. But given how vital naval exploration and combat is going to be in Odyssey, that’s still a whole lot of interesting ground – or water, as the case may be – to cover.
Sure, the map’s large, but even the largest maps can suffer from monotony. Hell, there are some people who will tell you even Origins’ world suffered because of a lack of variety and because of the sameness of its environments- it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case here. Other than the vast open seas and huge, populated cities like Athens, which you pretty much already know about, there’s going to be plenty of other different stuff to see in Ancient Greece. There’s going to be an entire undersea to explore, lava volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, beaches, open green areas, and lots more.
Assassin’s Creed games have always been one step ahead of most contemporary titles when it comes to the visuals department (not counting the bugs they seem to suffer from that almost seem to go hand in hand with huge open worlds), and Odyssey is going to continue that trend. The game looks absolutely beautiful, and its visual variety is really making its art pop that much more. In fact, when the game’s director, Scott Phillips spoke to us some time back, he called Odyssey “the prettiest game in the series”. I’m inclined to agree- but let’s reserve final thoughts on those until October 5th.
Quest variety is something that has been a point of criticism in the Assassin’s Creed games for- well, for as long as Assassin’s Creed games have existed, really. Right from the ancient days of 2007 up until now, the games so often tend to resort to trailing missions, or eavesdropping on someone, or some variation of a mission that has been almost done to death by this point. In our interview with Scott Phillips, which I mentioned earlier, this was something we brought up, and Phillips told us that thanks to the game’s choice and consequence mechanics, that’s something that’s going to improve automatically. “I think we have made huge improvements on that by focusing on choice, by giving players choice, by giving players options, and how they complete quests, how they interact with quest givers, how they role-play with the characters,” he said. “Because for the first time ever you’ll be choosing who you play as. It is a very different experience and it’s much more interactive and dynamic in both the world and the characters in the story. So, gameplay will reflect that as well.”
Here’s something else Phillips told us- “You’re no longer driven by the Assassin’s Creed”. Which makes sense, because Odyssey is set centuries before the Assassins Brotherhood was even created. In Odyssey, we are a mercenary- which means we can kill, lie, steal, and be a scoundrel in general to our hearts’ content. In earlier games in the series (even up until Origins, actually), every time you tried to kill a civilian NPC, it wouldn’t take long for the game to get “desynched” which is essentially just a fancy failstate. In Odyssey, that’s no longer the case, which means the game now runs on a notoriety system similar to GTA’s wanted levels. For this, the game will pull in the Phylakes mechanic from Origins. Bounty hunters and other mercenaries will hunt you down as your notoriety increases, while you can also make it go down through various means, such as finding the person that put a bounty on you and killing them.
PRESENT DAY STORYLINE
I know, I know- “ugh”. Ever since Assassin’s Creed 3 (many might say even before that) the present day Abstergo storyline of the series has been an absolute mess. It’s going nowhere, it’s boring, it’s uneventful. Origins made some slight improvements in that area- Layla Hassan’s story in the present day was a tiny, tiny focus in the grand scheme of things, but it was an improvement over most of the stuff that came before it. Layla’s story is going to continue in Odyssey- let’s just hope it actually goes somewhere.