To say there’s a lot riding on Assassin’s Creed Origins would be an understatement. Fair or not, when Ubisoft announced it was rethinking Assassin’s Creed and taking a year off from annual releases in an effort to deliver something great, it all but guaranteed the next game would be seen as a make-or-break moment for the series. Now, following a seemingly endless series of leaks, we’ve seen and heard plenty about Origins from official sources, and we know when fans everywhere will be able to get their hands on the game. But will it live up to expectations? That’s harder to say. To help build the most complete picture possible of Assassin’s Creed Origins, we’ve compiled all the latest information—and everything we’re still uncertain about—into one handy guide.
What we know we know
What is Assassin’s Creed Origins? Ooh, this one’s easy. Assassin’s Creed Origins is the next entry in Ubisoft’s popular series of historical open-world action games. It’s very different from previous entries in a few key respects, though, as you’ll find out below.
Where and when is Assassin’s Creed Origins set? Origins, as you might have guessed from the name, is set further back in history than any other game in the series so far, in a brand new location. The action takes place in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, which lasted from 323 BC to 30 BC. Most of the action will apparently take place around 50 BC, but past Assassin’s Creed games have jumped around in time a fair bit, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see similar segments in Origins.
Who is the main playable character in Assassin’s Creed Origins? The primary character in Origins is Bayek, the last member of a group known as the Medjay. Ubisoft has repeatedly describing the Medjay as “Ancient Egyptian police” to make it easier for people to understand, so if that helps, there you go. They basically worked for the pharaohs, protected important sites, and patrolled the desert. He hails from a village oasis known as Siwa. The team has also called him “the physical embodiment of Ancient Egypt,” which means he’s definitely got a lot of dead cats inside of him somewhere.
Will you still have to climb towers to unlock the map in Assassin’s Creed Origins? Thank the heavens, you will not. There are still towers, and you can still climb them, but they won’t be nearly as vital to the main game. Synchronizing viewpoints will apparently only serve to open up new fast travel points on the map.
You’ll be able to unfog the map simply by walking around, and you won’t be limited in where you can go by any arbitrary barriers. Certain areas may feature tougher enemies that will make it harder to explore before you’re adequately equipped, but you can still give it a shot.
And if you do need a higher vantage point, you’ll now be able to use Senu, Bayek’s eagle, to fly up and scout the surrounding areas. She works a bit like a drone. You can deploy her, at which point you’re in direct control with the camera leaving Bayek behind. Senu can give you a good look at areas you haven’t been to yet, and she can also mark enemies and items so they’ll be visible once you return to Bayek. (This change to gameplay also means that Eagle Vision as we knew it is gone, replaced by a separate vision mode that lets you mark only objects, not enemies.)
How is combat different in Assassin’s Creed Origins? The biggest change to combat is that the game will now use true hitboxes. In previous games in the series, fighting enemies relied on paired animations. You’d press the attack button, and the game would line you up with the nearest enemy and start a choreographed fighting sequences based purely on timing.
In Origins, pressing the attack buttons will simply cause Bayek to swing his weapon. If there’s an enemy in its path, he’ll hit them. If not, he’ll whiff at the air. This new approach is much more akin to what you’ve seen in games like Dark Souls. The benefit is that combat will have a great deal more depth, forcing you to keep track of enemy locations and prevent yourself from being surrounded. Dodging will also play a crucial role in avoiding enemy attacks, since you can no longer relying on insta-kill counterattacks.
There are now more than 150 unique weapons with different attributes and rarities, and what you equip will have a significant impact on how you fight. Heavier weapons like maces will do more damage but leave you more vulnerable to attacks, for instance. Different bows will also play into different strategies, with some functioning similar to traditional video game shotguns, firing multiple projectiles in a spread, and others allowing for rapid fire shots, akin to an Ancient Egyptian Uzi. Some weapons can also inflict special status effects, like critical damage or bleeding.
To take advantage of these deeper mechanics, you’ll face a greater variety of enemies of different difficulties, including boss fights against powerful human characters and beasts. Higher-level enemies will also be a much bigger challenge this time around, especially because burying your hidden blade into an enemy’s back isn’t an automatic one-hit stealth kill if they’re a high enough level.
Finally, Bayek has a new Adrenaline meter that fills up as he fights. Once it’s full, you can activate a special combat mode that allows Bayek to attack harder and faster and take less damage in the process.
What else about gameplay has changed in Assassin’s Creed Origins? In general, Origins will play much more like an action role-playing game than previous entries in the series. The open world has a full day-night cycle, and its inhabitants will follow set schedules throughout the day. There’s a full ecosystems of animals that will interact with you and with each other. You can expect a whole lot more emergent behavior from the game’s AI-controlled characters, including the fact that NPCs will have believable reactions to the events unfolding around them.
Missions are much more open-ended, essentially giving you an objective and letting you decide how best to complete it. In addition, you can have multiple quests at the same time, and you can complete assigned quests in the order you want—a real departure from the old method of linear missions broken up by side content. Even better, you’ll no longer fail if you walk outside of the area or are detected by enemies during a stealth segment.
To better serve all these changes, the minimap has been removed, replaced by a compass similar to the one found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Rather than showing you the immediate area and everything that’s nearby, you’ll instead be pointed in the general direction of major points of interest.
Perhaps the most RPG-like new feature, however, is Bayek’s skill trees. As you play, you can unlock new upgrades to grant him new abilities that will help you take on even tougher foes. Origins supports three different playstyles: Warrior, for strength and melee; Hunter, for ranged combat and Senu’s abilities, and Seer, for diversion and stealth. Additionally, there’s a full crafting system that allow you to improve your equipment, right down to the iconic hidden blade.
Can you tame a crocodile in Assassin’s Creed Origins? Hell yes, you can tame a crocodile. You can tame other animals too, but who cares about that.
How big is Assassin’s Creed Origins‘s open-world map? How big are the cities? According to the development team, the world of Origins is bigger than that of any Assassin’s Creed game to date. Sort of. The developers have said it’s roughly the size of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, only instead of vast stretches of empty ocean, it’s almost entirely on land. Additionally, director Ashraf Ismail said that the main cities in Origins will be at least twice the size of Havana from Black Flag, though he admitted he didn’t have the actual numbers on that.
We also know that the open world will cover the entirety of Egypt, with 30 explorable regions and a number of different biomes represented, as seen in the game map. The team put a lot of research into making these different areas as authentic as possible. In addition to mountainous regions and number of different deserts, players can also travel to and explore major cities like Alexandria, Faiyum, Giza, Memphis (the original, not the Elvis one), and Siwa, Bayek’s hometown. These populated areas are designed to be far denser and more detailed than those in past games.
Will there be tombs to explore in Assassin’s Creed Origins? What would Ancient Egypt be without a lot of musty tombs? There will be a total of 20 ruins to explore, and the team has put effort into making them as authentic as possible. Like the interiors included in some previous Assassin’s Creed games, these tombs will offer a mix of puzzles and navigation challenges as you work your way through them.
And if you’re wondering how in the world Bayek could be exploring Ancient Egyptian ruins while he’s still in Ancient Egypt? Keep in mind that the civilization lasted for thousands of years, and by the time it declined in prominence much of its earlier history had already been forgotten. Origins is set late enough in the history of Egypt to make this a historically accurate feature.
How will you get around in Assassin’s Creed Origins? You’ll have a whole host of navigation options open to you in Origins. Obviously, you can walk, run, free run, and climb as the terrain and buildings allow. If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, however, you’ll also be able to ride horses, camels, and chariots. In the water, you’ll be able to use traditional Egyptian boats known as feluccas. Bayek can also swim and dive wherever the water is deep enough, and there’s even underwater combat in case a croc or a hippo gets nasty with you while you’re below.
Finally, the game will also include fast travel. To open up fast travel points, you’ll need to synchronize viewpoints, making this the one thing you’ll still need to climb up towers to unlock.
Will Assassin’s Creed Origins have multiplayer? No, Origins will not bring back the series’ adversarial multiplayer mode. The game will have some sort of online features that “enhance” the game, but probably not anything worth getting your hopes up for.
Will Assassin’s Creed Origins have DLC after release? Yep. Ubisoft has announced a season pass for Origins, but the contents are still pretty vague. All we know is that the game will be getting two expansions and two “equipment sets.” A bonus weapon called the Calamity Blade is also included in the season pass.
What historical figures will Bayek interact with in Assassin’s Creed Origins? So far, only a handful of historical figures have been outright confirmed to appear in the game: Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and her brother, Ptolemy. (Ptolemy XIII, to be exact. Cleopatra had at two brothers name Ptolemy. They really ran that name into the ground.) Beyond that, though, we’re sort of in the dark. Then again, the historical record of that era isn’t exactly exhaustive, so those three may be all we get in terms of big, recognizable names.
The Basics (skip)
Who is developing Assassin’s Creed Origins? The lead developer on Origins is Ubisoft Montreal, specifically the team that previously led work on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. As is par for the course, though, many other Ubisoft studios are also helping out: Ubisoft Sofia, Ubisoft Singapore, Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Chengdu, Ubisoft Bucharest, and Ubisoft Kiev, as well as independent studio Sperasoft.
What’s Assassin’s Creed Origins‘ release date? The game releases worldwide on October 27th, 2017.
What platforms will Assassin’s Creed Origins launch on? The game will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Special support is also planned for the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, allowing the game to run at 4K resolution and 30 frames per second on both consoles. Even on the more powerful Xbox One X, however, the game will reportedly not render at native 4K but will instead rely on a technique known as checkerboard rendering to reach that resolution.
Despite earlier rumors, a Nintendo Switch version is not planned at this time.
Will Assassin’s Creed Origins have any pre-order bonuses or special editions? Will it ever! Pre-ordering the game will get you a bonus mission, “Secrets of the First Pyramids.” That’s the easy part.
Now for the hard part. There are six different special editions of the game available, the biggest of which costs a whopping $800. The lineup is a bit too complicated to list all the different versions here, but you can read all about them in our previous writeup.
Where can I see Assassin’s Creed Origins gameplay? EGM’s Ray Carsillo had a chance to capture some direct feed gameplay during E3 2017. Take a look:
More recently, EGM’s Nick Plessas went hands-on with the game’s Gamescom 2017 demo, in which he explores the dense, richly detailed city of Memphis:
What we think we know
What’s the story of Assassin’s Creed Origins about? Ubisoft has only shared some vague outlines of Origins‘ plot so far. Bayek leaves Siwa when something bad happens and sets out to unravel the mystery behind it. Eventually, he discovers even bigger secrets and eventually plays a role in the foundation of the Assassin Brotherhood. Along the way, he has to navigate the politics of the era, with Cleopatra and Ptolemy engaged in a civil war of sorts for control of the country. More specifically, we know that Origins follows the period after Cleopatra’s exile, when she returns to reinstate her claim to the throne. Considering that Julius Caesar also plays an important role in the story, we can assume that the game will cover Cleopatra’s affair with Caesar and their combined efforts to remove her brother from power.
As far as the extended Assassin’s Creed storyline is concerned, we know that Bayek will at one point butt heads with a group known as the Order of the Ancients—pretty much just proto-Templars—working behind the scenes to sow chaos for its own mysterious ends. Though we don’t know more beyond that, there are some obvious conclusions to be drawn. At some point Bayek will get clued into the evil of the Order of the Ancients, and probably uncover a lot of the prehistoric lore established in past Assassin’s Creed games, including the First Civilization, the Pieces of Eden, and all that stuff. And at some point he’ll play a crucial role in founding the Assassins—maybe.
Will Assassin’s Creed Origins show the founding of the Assassin Brotherhood? Probably? It’s right there in the title, and plenty of statements in the trailers and from the developers have hinted at or stated this outright. But some potential issues leave us more uncertain than we should be. We know the Origins is set around 50 B.C., but previous games in the series have referenced Assassins working even further back than that—as early as 465 B.C. Bayek doesn’t really look like he’s 400 years old, so it’s hard to imagine he’s the actual first Assassin ever.
Maybe we’ll see the actual origin of the Assassins through flashbacks within the game. Maybe Ubisoft is going to alter the series’ established continuity. Maybe we’ll just witness the first time the Assassins actually decide to call themselves that, or the first time they build a super cool clubhouse, or some other sort of cop-out version of their “origins.”
What we still want to know
What will the present-day portions of Assassin’s Creed Origins be like? If there’s one area of the Assassin’s Creed games where Ubisoft has been struggling lately, it’s the present-day segments. Ever since the through-plot following Desmond Miles wrapped up, the series has largely felt like it’s spinning its wheels when it comes to doing anything interesting with the ongoing Assassin-Templar War in our modern world. With Origins seeking to revitalize so many pieces of a formula that was on the verge of going stale, we’re curious to see how it will refresh the modern storyline. At the moment, though, all we know for sure is that there will be some form of present day segments in Origins.
Some of the earliest leaks about the game claimed to offer up info on what the modern gameplay sections would be like, but they were contradictory. One leak claimed the present-day main character would be male, while another said it would be a woman named Charlotte.
Will there be any other time periods playable during Assassin’s Creed Origins? The last two games in the series, Unity and Syndicate, both offered brief gameplay sections set during different eras from the main story. Some of the early leaks said something similar would appear in Origins, including one specific claim that some gameplay would be set during Biblical times, but we haven’t heard anything since the game’s official announcement to that effect. Perhaps Ubisoft is saving it as a surprise.
What’s up with that giant snake in the Assassin’s Creed Origins reveal trailer? Many have asked Assassin’s Creed Origins director Ashraf Ismail to explain the snake. No one has gotten a clear answer. Ismail has said, however, that there is a reasonable explanation for the snake that won’t disrespect the general tone of the series so far. He’s also said that if you “align everything [he’s] said” so far you’ll be able to figure out what’s going on. Maybe Bayek is just on some serious Ancient Egyptian drugs. Maybe he’s having a bad dream or a hallucination brought on by the desert heat—something we know is a feature in the game. Maybe Cleopatra can secretly turn into a snake and the history books have been lying to us all along. We’ll probably have to wait until the game comes out to find out for sure.
Will Assassin’s Creed Origins tie into the 2016 movie? The director of the Assassin’s Creed movie, Justin Kurzel, and its star, Michael Fassbender, have both mentioned that Ubisoft is interested in borrowing at least one element from the film to include in future games. That’s the new, more dynamic Animus, which resembled a large robot arm and allowed the present-day character, Callum Lynch, to physically act out things he was doing in the past as his ancestor. We can see why Ubisoft might make the change, given that the Animus models of the games, which resemble high-tech beds, are a lot more boring to look at.
However, this hasn’t come up in anything we’ve heard about Origins so far, so maybe Ubisoft decided to ditch the idea. Time will tell.
Will Assassin’s Creed return to annual releases? Ubisoft has said it isn’t certain about this, but with multiple teams working on the games, it’s reasonable to assume that a big success will motivate the publisher to return its cash cow to a one-a-year release schedule. Still, we could see Ubi taking the opposite approach, too, especially given the sales dip another prominent annualized action series, Call of Duty, saw with its 2016 release, Advanced Warfare.