E3 2017: Ubisoft is Making All The Right Changes to Assassin’s Creed

When Assassin’s Creed Origins was officially announced on Sunday, it was no surprise. The game had been leaked a bunch, and we knew almost all of the big details. But now that we’ve gotten to look deeper into what Assassin’s Creed Origins is really going to be, and how it’s going to be different from its predecessors, you can riddle me excited.

Now, I know it’s hard to get excited for an Assassin’s Creed game after years now of misses, but the tweaks to gameplay, systems, and the overall nature of the franchise they’re making are in my opinion the perfect ones to make.

Taking Cues From Others

One of the first things Ba Yek does in the gameplay reveal shown at E3 on Sunday is take out a couple enemies and take their gear from them. Assassin’s Creed Origins will implement a ton of RPG features that I think are really going to make the campaign much more interesting. A loot system similar to that of Destiny’s was shown, where different weapons and items you find will have different levels of rarity, and with stats that promise to change how a weapon actually feels. This will hopefully bring some variety to the weapons and tools we decide to use based on how we want to play.

More on the playstyles, Assassin’s Creed Origins is implementing a new skill tree system a la Far Cry where you’ll be able to choose abilities from different categories. This will hopefully drastically expand the gameplay in the sense that there will be more ways to customize and personalize your version of Ba Yek. In another tip of the hat to other Ubisoft games, specifically to Ghost Recon Wildlands, your new animal friend, Senu, acts as your eye in the sky, similar to Wildlands’ drone. It looks like it will be a great way to survey environments before you dive into the action.

Another interesting tidbit from the gameplay trailer is that of the target — the guy that Ba Yek is hunting. In a small in-engine cutscene, we get a look at who we’re after, and it reminded me a bit of Shadow of Mordor’s nemesis system. If there is any sort of anything in Origins with any semblance of a nemesis system, I think it is a good move. To have enemies and characters in the game reacting to the decisions you make is awesome, and would work perfectly in an Assassin’s Creed. There hasn’t been any confirmation of this happening, but here’s hoping.

The new quest system might be the biggest deal of them all. Assassin’s Creed has been the poster child for overpopulated maps with just much too much to do all at once, and I think a streamlined quest system is going to fix a lot of those problems. Having main missions and side missions separated and organized is going to be a great way to help players not get lost in the weeds. Again, the RPG elements might be just what the Assassin’s Creed franchise needs. And if this works out and Origins is great, I hope Ubisoft realizes they should let the development team take their time with the next one too.

Reimagining Combat

While we all loved climbing walls and landing cool jump stabs for a while there, the Assassin’s Creed gameplay loop has certainly gotten tired, but with Origins, they’ll be taking a different approach to combat. When the shit hits the fan, Ba Yek will use his bow, shield, and your choice of a one- or two-handed weapon for those guns-blazing moments. Instead of the simple combat that we’re used to, Origins will employ a new fighting system somewhat reminiscent of Dark Souls. You’ll be strafing, blocking, and waiting for the right moment to attack. It doesn’t look at first glance to be as in depth as Dark Souls is, but it seems more interesting than the combat in any of the other AC games, and that’s a great step up. They’re also introducing Gladiator-esque fighting arenas, which are optional, but if you’re into it, it adds a whole new level of challenge.

It should be noted that it doesn’t seem like they are making any big changes to the stealth system, however. Watching Ba Yek climb walls and trees, grab people and throw them off a ledge, and the general deadly use of the hidden blade looked to be unchanged. The only thing I noticed was the ability to jump off a ledge, draw your bow, go into a slow motion state, and aim for an enemy’s head. That was pretty cool and seemed to be plucked right from Breath of the Wild, which I am very much ok with.

Bringing It Back

Another huge difference in the trajectory of Origins is in the name. They’re taking players back in time; all the way back, in fact. For a long time Assassin’s Creed games have kept creeping further and further into modernity, making it all the way into the late 1800’s, but now they’re taking a huge step back, and letting the franchise get back to its roots. The historical aspect of Assassin’s Creed has always been one of the big reasons for its success, and ancient Egypt is just a perfect place to take the Order. The Pyramids of Giza, the mythology of the Egyptian gods, and that whole era is a really interesting setting, and to have that be where the Assassins get their start is going to be really cool.

It also doesn’t look like there’s going to be much, if any relation to the current day Abstergo storylines from previous games. Which is great, in my opinion. If they focus solely on Ba Yek’s story, with no frame structure at all, I think fans are going to be pleased.

So while it may look to some like the new Assassin’s Creed game is just aping gameplay elements from other games, well, that’s exactly what they’re doing. But that’s what everyone does. Games learn from each other, and if that’s what makes Assassin’s Creed good again, I’m down with that. It’s going back to its origins (sorry), but also making changes that can potentially make this stale franchise fresh again. It’s exciting to see Assassin’s Creed make an effort to get back on its feet, and I personally hope they succeed.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments. For the rest of your E3 coverage, be sure to stay tuned on Hardcore Gamer.