Eight months removed from the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the most successful and arguably the best Assassin’s Creed game since the franchise began way back in 2007, Ubisoft accidentally announced yet another entry in the stealthy stabby franchise before formally announcing it at this year’s E3 conferences in LA, back in June.
Sparta-kicking us in to Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey will put you into the fashionable strappy sandals of one of two siblings, Kassandra or Alexios. These descendants of the Spartan King Gerard Butler Leonidas have found themselves a lucrative career as mercenaries in a land torn apart by conflict.
For the first time since the franchise started, we get to choose the character we play as – permanently – at the start of the game. Although it is more or less a cosmetic choice; who you play as makes no difference to how your game plays out, thankfully.
Like Origins before it, Odyssey tweaks the gameplay formula we all know and love so much. Many of the mechanics that were stripped out of the series for the previous entry will remain missing in action, while new favourites like the literal eagle vision will be staying.
Introduced last year, Bayek’s eagle Senu was so much more than just a companion. He was a finder of treasure, a locator of targets and a harasser of harassers. The return of his mechanic with the sibling’s eagle, Ikaros, should make fans everywhere happy.
Odyssey will further the series’ reach to become a fully-fledged RPG. From multiple skill trees to unlock to the ability to romance a selection of characters of either gender – that news got exactly the reaction you think it got – to an ever more sprawling world, these games are looking more and more like The Witcher 3 with every iteration. The changes and improvements introduced in the previous game that continue with this one have been almost universally for the good. Where this latest instalment may trip over though, is the reported removing of the hidden blade.
A staple of the franchise – nay, an iconic weapon that is part of the very DNA of the Assassin’s Creed series – swapping the Assassin’s weapon of choice out for a broken piece of Leonidas’ spear may prove to be the radical change that upsets one too many people. Or maybe I am the only one who has found himself attached to it?
While little is known about the story at the moment, to guess would be futile – much like the Origins release last year. Set around 430BC (compared to the Egyptian entry’s 49BC), Ubisoft Quebec (the team behind 2015’s Syndicate) have the chance to continue rewriting the story of the birth of the Creed and the start of the war between the Order of the Ancients and what will one day become the Assassin’s Order.
Can they top that final cutscene that closed out Origins on such a high note? Can they mimic the personal connection we had with Siwa’s guardian last year? We will find out when the game is released on PS4 and Xbox One on 5 October 2018.