“Emergent behavior” has been a major catchphrase for Assassin’s Creed Origins and its director Ashraf Ismail as of late. What this basically means is that the NPC AI will interact and react in much more believable ways while living their lives in the game’s version of ancient Egypt.
We already knew that this meant warring factions could randomly cross paths and start skirmishing, but what we didn’t know was that these dynamic events can have a longer-lasting effect on the AI.
Specifically, certain NPCs will remember recent events and, if appropriate, feel stressed out by them.
This was revealed in a recent interview with Ismail, who described a moment from an earlier demo version of the game when a military commander (and an assassination target for the player) was awoken by rebels attacking his fort in a “systemically” scripted attack:
The commander woke up, got out, and because he’s the commander, he also plays the role of the leader in these kind of combat situations. He ends up taking the charge against these rebels. The fight ends, some die, some escape, and instead of going back to sleep, the idea is he’s carrying a lot of stress at this point, because the AI carries stress, the idea is he cannot go right back to sleep, so he starts roaming his own fort, and he goes to one of the towers and it looks like he’s really doing a lookout. It was just this moment where it’s like, OK, these guys are really living.
Not only can these events just be really cool to watch unfold randomly in the game world, but it can also organically shift your approach to missions. For instance, while the player had planned on sneaking up on the commander while he slept, instead he waited for the skirmish to end and simply sniped his target with his bow while the commander was standing on the tower.
Alternatively, the player could have jumped into the fight—provided the NPCs weren’t too high of a level—and assassinated his target in the middle of the skirmish while testing out the new combat mechanics introduced in Origins.
Not only will Origins have some of the most interesting AI interactions in an Assassin’s Creed game, but it will also feature an enormous map with 30 explorable regions, meaning there’s a lot of room for random events to blow our minds.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 27th.