After releasing a new Assassin’s Creed every year for nearly a decade, publisher Ubisoft took a “year off” in 2016 (the mediocre Assassin’s Creed film does not count) to take a step back and better deliver the kind of open-world stealth that made fans fall in love with the series in first place. Earlier this year, Ubisoft confirmed that a new Assassin’s Creed title would release within its current fiscal year. At E3 2017, Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed Origins will launch on October 27 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Where are we going?
Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate both took place in Europe, but Origins will take players to ancient Egypt circa 49 B.C. The notion of an Assassin’s Creed set in ancient Egypt first surfaced in 2016 and was supported by a recent Eurogamer report.
As is evident in the world premiere trailer above, there will be plenty of pyramids and ancient artifacts to explore. But you won’t just be on land, you can also travel via naval ships like in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and there will be full-scale naval battles as well. You can also hop off the deck and swim to great depths in the sea to explore for sunken treasure.
You play as Bayek, one of the first assassins. He is an Egyptian sheriff and warrior who practices his own form of justice, just like most of the other protagonists in the series thus far.
This time around, our hero has more than just steeds (and camels) to ride around on. Bayek can control his pet eagle, Senu, which players can then use to survey the area from above, adding an extra layer of strategy and planning for missions.
Famous historical figures
Origins takes place shortly after Cleopatra was removed from power by her brother, Ptolemy, who is being controlled by a shadowy group called the Order of the Ancients. Bayek and his wife, Aya, have aligned themselves with Cleopatra against the organization, as the Egyptian Assassin works to prevent the Romans from seizing control. A CGI trailer released during Microsoft’s Gamescom 2017 presentation also showed off Julius Caesar — being carried in a chair by several Romans.
While Assassin’s Creed III featured villainous versions of historical figures, Origins will instead treat its characters as authentically as possible.
With Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft has taken combat cues from other open-world action games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. In our hands-on preview, we found the combat to be more engaging and diverse. Attacks are now separated into light and heavy, and deployed by using the left and right triggers rather than the face buttons. The combat overhaul brings Assassin’s Creed Origins into the class of games with “reaction-based” mechanics that emphasize offensive strikes and defensive stands.
The combat changes, including the profound importance of dodging, will allow players more freedom to attack groups of enemies, whereas previous entries featured an antiquated targeting system that made large-scale battles feel interrupted rather than fluid. As Bayek, players can use a wider range of attacks.
While much of Assassin’s Creed Origins‘ combat will still be used against regular foes, its combat refinements allow for more exciting battles. For the first time in the series, players will square off against huge bosses, which forces players to utilize Bayek’s a full range of attacks and evasive maneuvers, including long-range weapons.
Bayek will wield both hand-to-hand weapons and bows and, as shown in the gameplay trailer, when shooting an arrow, players can sometimes see it travel in a slow-motion, first-person perspective toward its target. This feature can also be used when Bayek shoots in midair, allowing players to aim before landing to execute enemies with well-timed arrow strikes.
Assassin’s Creed Origins puts a major emphasis on its challenging combat, moving away from the counter-heavy fights the series was known for in the past, but if you’re not the most experienced player, you can still have a good time. For the first time in the series, you will be able to pick from multiple difficulty settings. Should you find yourself struggling with a certain opponent or mission, you can temporarily lower the difficulty before raising it back up again for the next mission.
The difficulty won’t just change how much damage protagonist Bayek can give and receive, but also the aggression of enemies. While earlier games often saw guards waiting for their allies to attack, they will gang up to strike in Origins, so you have to position yourself accordingly. It’s unclear if it will change any other aspects of the game, such as the time it takes for Bayek to get spotted while sneaking around or the effectiveness of his eagle vision.
Learn about ancient Egypt on the “Discovery Tour”
For those not interested in combat at all, Assassin’s Creed Origins will feature a completely nonviolent educational mode. Ubisoft will add the mode, called “Discovery Tour,” as a free update in 2018. The tour removes combat and missions from the game entirely and allows players to immerse themselves in locations and historical figures as they explore Egypt.
Yes, you will still climb in Assassin’s Creed Origins, but climbing up towers to scout your surroundings, a staple since the beginning of the series, will be gone in this iteration. It makes sense considering that Bayek has a literal eagle to scout the area for him, rather than the “eagle vision” without a bird that was featured in all previous console entries.
A modern-day hero returns
Lest we forget, the Assassin’s Creed series has a modern-day narrative weaved into the historical adventures. The Animus hasn’t been a focus in recent entries, but according to GamesRadar, a new trained assassin will be implemented in Origins.
Other modern-day characters like William, Rebecca, and Shaun will be in the modern sequences. At this time, it’s unclear the nature and extent of the modern day arc in Origins, but it could include some real missions.
Keeping with the theme of switching things up, Assassin’s Creed Origins will ditch its mini map in favor of a Elder Scrolls/Fallout-esque compass to point you in the direction of quests. This will bring Assassin’s Creed closer to more modern open-world games in terms of exploration, and you will not have to look at an overstuffed mini map in the corner of your screen anymore.
Loot and crafting system
As demonstrated in the gameplay trailer, and experienced during our hands-on, Assassin’s Creed Origins will employ an RPG-influenced inventory system. Each weapon has its own stats (the inventory screen looks straight out of Destiny), and players can upgrade and craft weapons with materials dropped at random.
Like Overwatch, Forza Motorsport 7, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and many other recent games, Assassin’s Creed Origins will feature a “loot box” system for players looking to earn weapons or shields more quickly. They’re sold by a traveling merchant running “Nomad’s Bazaar,” and the items can be purchased using the game’s drachma currency. They don’t appear to be purchasable using real cash.
However, it’s possible that drachma itself will be offered for real cash, as was the case with the “Helix credits” in Assassin’s Creed Unity. At the time, these were sold in bundles going all the way up to $100.
Eurogamer also spotted real-money transactions for additional costumes in the game’s shop. According to director Ashraf Ismail, the costumes can be acquired in the game through normal play, and don’t differ from digital goods sold in past Assassin’s Creed games, where certain chests were locked behind pre-orders and paywalls.
Season pass, editions, and pre-order bonuses
Assassin’s Creed Origins will, like other games in the series, have a season pass that gives players access to all content expansions post-launch. On top of that, Origins has seven different editions, including a “Dawn of the Creed” Legendary Edition, which goes for a startling $800.
Origins also has a Dawn of the Creed Edition, God’s Collector Edition, Steel Book Gold Edition, Gold Edition, Deluxe Edition, and, of course, the standard edition of the game. All pre-orders come with an extra mission called “Secrets of the First Pyramids.”
The $40 season pass will give players access to two DLC expansions, plus some extra items and in-game currency:
- DLC 1 The Hidden Ones (January 2018): The first story-driven expansion will look ahead after the events of Origins to see the growing Brotherhood clash with an occupying Roman army, raising the level cap and adding a new area to the game.
- DLC 2 The Curse of the Pharaohs (March 2018): The next story expansion will take a supernatural twist, throwing players up against mythological horrors as they attempt to unravel a curse that is raising mummies from the dead. It will also raise the level cap and add new abilities for the player.
- Roman Centurion and Horus Packs (November 2017): Themed add-ons including new outfits, weapons, shields, and mounts.
- 500 Helix credits (launch): This is in-game premium currency.
- Calamity Blade (launch): This is an exclusive, rare weapon.
PC system requirements
For PC players, it appears that Ubisoft has made a concerted effort to ensure that the game performs as well as its console iterations. Game producer Jose Araiza told UbiBlog that “the PC version was developed in parallel with all the other versions by the main team in Montreal, in collaboration with our PC-dedicated team in Ubisoft Kiev. This approach was adopted while the game features were being designed, making PC and mouse-and-keyboard controls a full part of the equation from the get-go.”
As for specific hardware requirements, Ubisoft laid out both minimum and recommended settings. According to Ubisoft, the minimum requirements mirror the minimum specs for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, despite the two-year gap between entries. Even if you haven’t upgraded your PC since then, you are still in the clear. The game requires a 64-bit version of Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-2400s 2.5 GHz or AMD FX-6350 3.9 GHz or equivalent
- GPU (Graphics): Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD R9 270 (2048 MB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0 or better)
- RAM: 6GB
- Resolution: 720p
- Video Preset: Lowest
- CPU: Intel Core i7- 3770 3.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz
- GPU (Graphics): Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 or AMD R9 280X (3GB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0 or better)
- RAM: 8GB or better
- Resolution: 1080p
- Video Preset: High
When can we explore Ancient Egypt?
Update: Added section on minimum requirements and recommended specs for PC.
- ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ will soon offer New Game+ mode
- Have cash to spare? Pick up this $500 Assassin’s Creed figurine
- ‘Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered’ is coming to PS4, Xbox One
- ‘Final Fantasy XV’ gets ‘Royal Edition’ complete with first-person mode
- It’s really stupid. But ‘Devil May Cry’ spawned much smarter offspring