When it comes to the almost annual Assassin’s Creed franchise, I’ve always reserved my excitement. I thought the first game was a phenomenal idea and I even enjoyed Assassin’s Creed 2. However, I lost touch with these games shortly after trying out Brotherhood, finding most of them to be the same song and dance. For many players, this was the case as well. Ubisoft also lost a bunch of trust when Assassin’s Creed Unity released as a buggy, broken mess. Syndicate did a little better, but the franchise has still yet to climb back up to the top where it once was. With a gameplay demonstration at Microsoft’s E3 event though, I think we’re in for something special with Assassin’s Creed Origins.
Assassin’s Creed Origins takes place in Egypt, putting players in the role of Bayek. Bayek’s story will tell the beginnings of the Brotherhood through his actions and decisions. Origins is being developed by the same team that brought us Black Flag, which for many is the high point of the entire franchise. Surprisingly enough, Origins is incorporating RPG elements into its systemic world, which is clearly shown in the gameplay demonstration. We see Bayek picking up a bow, checking its stats and level, and choosing to equip it to take down his target.
Through the entire demonstration, I kept picturing Horizon Zero Dawn, which is ironic because that game took a lot of influence from Assassin’s Creed. Controls appear to have revamped for a more shooter friendly approach, even including slow down when jumping off of ledges for a super cool and precise shot. Not only that, but players can also scout their surroundings with an eagle, which is fully controllable. Combine this with what seems like a faster combat system with more interesting enemies and bosses and we could have a hit on our hands.
For me, this little showing of how the game actually plays, shows that the franchise is finally stepping out the mold it so strikingly established to become something new. It’s interesting to see games that were influenced by Assassin’s Creed influencing Origins. Everything seems to have come full circle in the development of open world games, both externally with games like Horizon Zero Dawn and The Witcher 3 and internally with Far Cry Primal. I do hope Bayek isn’t as talkative as he was in the demo though; that could get annoying pretty quick.
I have always liked the idea of Assassin’s Creed with its bold character design and dramatic action sequences. It’s story framed with the Matrix-like setup of the Animus was a highlight of discussion with my peers when I was younger. Come to think of it, I have no idea how those stories resolved. Yet, even though I’ve been out of touch with the series for quite some time, Origins may be the game that breathes new life into the franchise and brings me back into the secretive world of assassins. Of course, we’ll know more when the game comes out in October. I’d actually like to see it come to the Switch as well, but it may not be powerful enough considering how the game looks.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 27th, 2017. More information as well as pre-order offers can be found on the official website.