After releasing a new Assassin’s Creed every year for nearly a decade, publisher Ubisoft took a “year off” in 2016 — no, 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. Ubisoft recently confirmed that a new Assassin’s Creed game would be released by the end of its current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2018. Based on AC series history, that may mean the struggle between the Assassins and Templars will resume this holiday season.
What is it called?
Eurogamer recently reported that the next Assassin’s Creed game, code-named “Empire,” will be officially titled Assassin’s Creed Origins. As the name implies, the report suggests the game may be a prequel. 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was chronologically the latest game in the series, as it takes place in London during the Industrial Revolution.
Where are we going?
Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate both took place in Europe, but Origins may apparently take players to ancient Egypt. The notion of an Assassin’s Creed set in ancient Egypt first surfaced back in 2016, and was supported by the recent Eurogamer report.
Unlike the last few games, however, we won’t be limited to assassinating targets on land. A reported leaked image of the game, which shows an assassin with arrows guiding a boat down a river, was leaked alongside the Origins title. The Reddit user who posted the image went by the name “shoutouttoashraf,” a reference to the director of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Ashraf Ismail. Given that game’s level of polish and innovation, it’s a very good sign that he is involved.
On May 30, an image of what appears to be an Assassin’s Creed: Origins shirt was posted on gaming forum NeoGAF, which shows an Assassin, apparently named “Bayek,” holding a bow and shield, with his back facing the camera. The Assassin’s Creed symbol is visible in the bottom-right, and both the bow and shield appear to be the same as the leaked image from a few weeks earlier. Rumored director Ismail also tweeted “nice t-shirt” on the same day, though he didn’t actually link to the original post. On June 7, a picture of a Target pre-order card was posted to NeoGAF, further cementing the name of the new entry, along with the Egypt setting.
The leaked game image also includes a reference to Khenut, the Queen of Egypt who ruled alongside Unas around 2,400 B.C. This would place Origins a few thousand years before the events of the original Assassin’s Creed, though the technology wielded by the assassin in the image looks relatively similar to what we see in later games.
According to another anonymous leaker spotted by GamesRadar, the game will also introduce a new, modern-day protagonist. The source said modern-day Assassins Rebecca, Shaun, and William, who have appeared in games following Desmond’s death, will return in the new game.
The same anonymous source cited by GamesRadar claimed that the mechanic of climbing towers to unlock portions of the game’s world map, a staple of the series since the original game, has been cut. Another recent open-world game from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs 2, also eliminated its tower equivalent in favor of more organic exploration not tied down to climbing or unlocking towers.
The leaker, posting on 4chan, claimed the game will have feature new “reaction-based” combat mechanics: According to the report, enemies will actively try to flank you in open areas. The game’s stealth systems have also been altered feel more natural, particularly in public, “social stealth” situations. Naval combat will not be making a return, with sailing serving as a form of traversal only — given the game’s apparent time-frame, this makes sense.
Anyone hoping for a return to Black Flag‘s multiplayer mode will also be disappointed, as the game will apparently be single-player only, just like Syndicate.
Just the beginning
As with the “Ezio trilogy” in 2009, 2010, and 2011, Assassin’s Creed Origins will apparently be the first of a new trilogy. According to the same anonymous source, the next Assassin’s Creed — the one following “Origins” — will take place in Greece “about five to ten years after the end” of the upcoming game. The source claimed Ubisoft has not picked a setting for a third game.
Season pass, editions, pre-order bonuses
The Assassin’s Creed Origins Target pre-order card not only confirms the name and setting of the game, but provides details about the game’s many retail editions, season pass, and a pre-order bonus.
The pre-order card showed the Gold edition of Assassin’s Creed Origins, which comes in a steelbook case, and will include the game’s season pass. This is the first we’ve heard about a season pass, but it’s not too surprising considering most Assassin’s Creed titles have had one.
More specifically, the card said the “Gold Edition” grants access to a bonus mission called “Secrets of the First Pyramids.”
When can we learn more?
Ubisoft announced it will reveal more about the next Assassin’s Creed during its E3 presentation on June 12. Expect a first look at gameplay, as well as more details on the historical and modern-day stories.