Less than a year has passed since the launch of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Origins, and we’re gearing up for another chapter in the epic saga of clandestine murder, political manipulation and secret societies. Revealed at E3 2018, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes players into a richer story, deeper gameplay, and one of the largest and most engaging chapters in this long-running saga.
We previously brought you a list of what we knew about the upcoming game, but now more details that have come to light. So, let’s take a Leap of Faith into this new title, shall we?
For whom do we fight?
As we talked about in our E3 reveal article (linked above), this new game will take gamers to the year 431 BCE, and drop us in the middle of Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War. What we didn’t quite know at that time was which side we would be fighting for. Well, that’s a bit of a complicated answer.
As our protagonists (Alexios and Kassandra) are mercenaries, they act as soldiers of fortune, and their services go to the highest bidder. This new chapter in the battle between Templar and Assassin will allow the player to choose who our swords will support over the course of the game. However, there’s a good chance that money will not be the only force at play, which may color our opinions of one side over the other.
The Gods of Ancient Greece
Speaking of other forces at play, the Assassin’s Creed series has always had a notion of “Those Who Came Before” (who held the names of the Gods we know from various pantheons), and with Ancient Greece having one of the more well-known pantheons of Gods, the word is that Ubisoft has added a bit of a supernatural spin on this portion of the saga. Let’s be honest, however: did we really expect any less? We may now get to see some of the old Gods enact their famous meddling in human affairs. Now, while neither Alexios nor Kassandra will be wielding the power of Zeus’s thunderbolts, or using the weapons of Ares to cut through their foes (we’ve already got a great videogame character for that), the Greek Gods will have a part to play in one form or another. However, since Ubisoft is being tight-lipped about this element of the story, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out when the game releases.
Romance and Relationships
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also marks a first for the series. While Origins gave us chapters which made us play as either Bayek of Siwa or his wife Aya (based on which chapter it was), this new title will actually give players the option of playing through the game as Alexios OR Kassandra; making it one of the first Assassin’s Creed games to feature a full play-through with a female lead (Assassin’s Creed Liberation was the first).
In addition to all of this, Alexios and/or Kassandra will be able to develop, manage, and maintain relationships with some of the NPCs in the game, with the mechanics of this going so far as to allow for a romance option. Sure, some of our former protagonists have had love interests (Ezio was a very charming Italian devil). This time, however, the player will be in control of how those relationships progress (or go down in flames?), with the inclusion of the ability to maintain a same-sex relationship. This bodes incredibly well for gender representation in gaming.
The gameplay mechanics that we’ve seen throughout the Assassin’s Creed timeline have stayed relatively consistent throughout the series: combat, climbing, environmental interaction, and of course, stealth. Sure, Ubisoft had a bit of a surge in innovation early on, but these aspects haven’t really evolved a lot during AC’s time on our preferred gaming platforms – until recently, that is. One of the biggest jumps in the aforementioned innovation came in 2013, with the ship-to-ship battles and high seas exploration in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. Well, that nautical gameplay will return in Odyssey, as our protagonist(s) will gain a ship and crew of their own, in order to sail the Aegean Sea. As far as we currently know, there will be at least 27 significant ports of call which can be explored, and in which missions may be carried out. However, that’s not to say that we won’t see some smaller areas where goodies may be found.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will also have more firsts for the series, starting with dialog choices. Much like the choice-based dialog in games like The Witcher 3, the dialog in this new AC chapter will be branching, so multiple outcomes will exist for every given situation in which our hero finds himself/herself. This being the case, and with these dialog choices being a large part of this title, Ubisoft has stated that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will have multiple endings.
With all these updates to the Assassins Creed series, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that even the amazing combat and stealth mechanics we’ve had over the years will be getting a bit of a makeover – but not too much. In the same way we were able to unlock and level-up skills in Assassins Creed Origins, Odyssey will see players doing much the same, across three skill trees: Assassin, Hunter, and Warrior. Each class will allow players to customize their style of play, and grant new abilities in various areas – namely stealth, archery, and hand-to-hand combat, respectively. This works quite well, as some of us prefer a more surgical approach to things, while others of us are fans of a more blunt and destructive feel when disposing of our adversaries.
In addition to the customization of our character themselves, the use of various types of weapons and armor will give the game more depth as well. A lot of the progression within Assassins Creed Odyssey will come from finding, equipping, and upgrading new gear. As with any RPG-style game, each piece of gear will boost certain stats, with the more rare and powerful gear granting special abilities and bonuses. The ability to upgrade (and even craft) gear will of course come from finding and using materials in the world. These materials can either be purchased from merchants, or hunted in the wild.
The War System
While the core of each Assassin’s Creed title usually revolves around the protagonist’s personal stake in (and reason for getting involved in) the Assassin/Templar conflict, a new system in Odyssey will allow players to “check in” on the Peloponnesian War at large. This “War System” will show you which side has the upper hand at any given point throughout the game. Not only is this kind of information useful for narrative purposes, but the branching style of this chapter’s story also allows the player to influence the war via their own actions and the decisions they make. To give an example: the player can choose to complete mercenary contracts, which will allow you to defend or weaken certain regions, and by extension, the faction(s) attached to those regions.
There are also more direct ways to shift the balance of power during the war, as Odyssey will feature some HUGE battles, in which upwards of 300 participants can be seen. With this large-scale warfare being new to Assassin’s Creed, the different ways in which players will be able to customize their play style may come into even greater play when attempting to excel in these battles.
What of the Assassins and Templars?
All of this being said, there are some rumors floating around the gaming world about the ubiquitous faction (and their enemies) in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Sure, the Assassins and the Templars have been the mainstay of our journeys through time with Assassin’s Creed. That’s a given. However, Assassin’s Creed Origins made it clear that the factions did not always hold their respective names. That being said, we’ve seen word that we’ll be getting a look at a new clandestine faction called the Cult of the Kosmos (“Kosmos” means universe/cosmos in Greek). This secretive cabal of masked individuals seem to have infiltrated various levels of society across different areas of the (huge) map, have taken on an array of jobs, and all seem to have some sort of interest in our hero/heroine.
This surreptitious organization seems to want to take control of all of Greece (Sparta and Athens notwithstanding), through the manipulation of the populace and the existing political (and other leadership) systems. It looks like opposing this cult will be integral to the story.
Sure, this sounds a lot like the Order of Ancients from Assassin’s Creed Origins, but there’s been no formal confirmation from Ubisoft that there is a direct link between the Order of Ancients and the Cult of the Kosmos. We’ll just have to wait and see what part this group has to play.
There’s another bit of a change to the ages-long Assassin/Templar conflict, though. Namely, that our protagonist may not be an actual member of the Assassin Order anymore.
Yep. It seems that while this title will fall under the AC canon, it may strictly be an assassin’s game this time around. By that, I mean that your character is not bound by the strict creed we’ve seen before. The edicts that had previously had us staying our blades from the flesh of innocents will not come into play here (we are playing as a mercenary, after all), which will presumably allow for nearly everyone in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to be attacked and/or killed.
It looks as though we will still have targets to learn about, hunt, mark, and assassinate; but those of us who want to inject a little mayhem in our day could potentially also go on a random killing spree. However, should you undertake such a thing, be aware: there are always consequences to your actions. Bounties will be placed on your head for these types of things, and other mercenaries will be sent to hunt you down.
Another thing that makes us think that this isn’t like any other Assassin’s Creed game, is that we’ve yet to see any type of hidden blade in the trailers, gifs, or screenshots that have been released. Now, some fans may take issues with this, but it’s important to remember that the only assassin group known to exist in the era of Ancient Greece, was the Sacred Band of Thebes, although the earliest known historical evidence of that group was from 324 BCE – just over a century after the events of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Still, we shouldn’t stress about this. There will still be plenty of chances to stalk, mark, and kill specific enemies in various ways.
Content Updates & DLC
With Assassin’s Creed Origins, we saw a lot of content updates and some really cool pieces of DLC. Based on what we’re hearing from executive director Alain Corre, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey won’t disappoint on that vein either. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Corre confirmed that there will be regular support and content updates to the title, well after its initial release. What’s a bit interesting about this, is that we’re told that there will actually be weekly content updates. With that kind of frequency, there’s a good chance that the updates will contain a lot of cosmetic items for Kassandra and/or Alexios, but Corre did not go into other specifics about what else we could expect to see.
“The idea with Odyssey is to create new content every week so that it’s a [lively] adventure for the fans. So there’s always something new, something fresh and something they can discover and appreciate. We want this Odyssey to be living, to always be fresh, so it’s a different way to create games this way.”
– Alain Corre
Everything has its price…maybe
The revelations of frequent updates to the game, and the idea that these will consist of lots of cosmetic add-ons, brings to the minds of gamers a downside to all of this. It could mean that we’ll see the return of the bane of many a gamer: microtransactions. There were some optional microtransactions in Assassin’s Creed Origins, which allowed players to unlock some of the more special effects and outfits through regular play (or completing special events), but the option to purchase these items from the game’s store was always there. The updates that Corre spoke of in the above-linked interview kind of allude to the idea that these things will also be available at a price to gamers, and possibly that some limited-time missions and the rest of the content roll-outs will also come at a premium. Ubisoft has kept this kind of thing as a long-standing practice, however, and they’ve typically remained fair & balanced about it – especially since several editions of the game will come with a Season Pass, granting free access to a lot of the updated content.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be available worldwide on October 5th (unless you took advantage of the special editions allowing for early access). The game will launch on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Let us know what you think of all of this new info, dear readers! Will you be playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, or will you skip this chapter? Leave us a comment down below!