A systemic open world that dynamically adjusts to the player.
Assassin’s Creed Origins looks to be a great return to form for the franchise- after taking a year off, the new game, which narratively takes us further back into the timeline than any other game has so far, and mechanically is rebooted into an open world action RPG, looks to be like just the breath of fresh air the series needed.
In the latest issue of gaming magazine Play, game director, Ashraf Ismail (who incidentally also helmed the previous fan favorite Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag) explained more about the new things that this new format for the series enables.
“We created a new AI framework that actually allows us to have thousands of persistent people living in this world,” Ismail said. “NPCs actually have a life out in the world. It means that all of those constraints are gone, completely gone. These were frustrations that we wanted to remove.”
The important thing about this is that each NPC’s persistence means that NPCs will continue to exist independently of your actions in the world, as opposed to being forced into a reset if you fail an objective, like in previous games.
Indeed, that dynamism appears to be something that will mark the game at large. “The point is this, we give this information to the player, that this AI is really living out in the world, doing whatever it is that they are doing, and as a player you get to make the choice of ‘what kind of experience do I want to have?’ When we ask you to do something in the game, the objective is now far more open ended… So yes, you do still have assassination targets but, technically, you can do whatever you want to get to your target,” he explained.
“We have a target in the game who has decoys in one of the cities. You have to learn about him and his schedule. You actually have to pay attention to him, and the decoys – the ways they are living their lives – to figure out which one he really is, because the decoys are innocent people. The gameplay experience can change, even as you’re in the flow of chasing him down.”
It sounds in a lot of ways like the kinds of things that Nintendo accomplished with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild earlier this year- a dynamic world that tries to take away the constraints from the players and adjust dynamically to how they play. Will Ubisoft be able to pull it off as well? We will find out on October 27, when the game launches for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.