The series is progressing.
Assassin's Creed Origins has been officially revealed after quite a few leaks, and yes, it's set in Egypt. At a Ubisoft event during E3 2017, GameSpot got a chance to play an hour of the next instalment in the Assassin's Creed series on Xbox One X. We'll have gameplay footage up soon, so stay tuned; for now, we know a bit about Origins, from combat to progression to its quest structure.
You play as Bayek, the last Medjay, who's basically an Egyptian sheriff tasked with protecting the people from threats local and foreign. As the title suggests, Origins tells the tale of how the series' Brotherhood got together. But even in telling an important part of the games' story, Origins doesn't feel quite like Assassin's Creed. It departs from its action-adventure roots and fully enters the realm of the action-RPG--and it's a welcome change.
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Exploration was the highlight of what I played. I commandeered a boat and sailed the Nile looking for sunken treasure until a rogue crocodile snuck up behind me and attacked the ship, sinking it. I ended up killing it underwater, but blood in the water attracts more predators, so I hightailed it out of there before I could get eaten--just not before I got my loot from the riverbed.
Origins' version of ancient Egypt is always moving, populated by NPCs (and animals) that do their own thing. In addition to a main story, the game adopts a side quest structure that works within that open world. A crocodile could kill the target of your latest hit before you even get to him, and all you have to do to complete the quest is confirm the kill, for example. During my hour with the game, I was seeking out stories like these, not just following along with one.
Also part of this new RPG gameplay is a skill tree designed to help you tailor combat and exploration to your playstyle. I didn't get to select any skills, but they fall into three main categories: warrior, archer, and rogue, basically. Most notably, they aren't separate but instead intersect at overlap points, so you can blend and customize them. It's typical RPG fare, of course, but it's refreshing to have more control over your assassin style.
Combat was the weakest part of the demo. It's not bad, but it's not especially exciting--enemies have actual hit boxes now, and fights require more movement and planned counters, but it was a bit clumsy to execute. That matters, because Origins has actual boss fights, so you'll most likely still be fighting even if you strive for stealth. I was able to lure a boss into an environmental trap for major damage, though, so lukewarm combat may not be a huge issue in the final game.
Assassin's Creed Origins launches on October 27 and will feature 4K gameplay on the newly detailed Xbox One X. Stay tuned for more Assassin's Creed news and gameplay in the coming days, and be sure to check our E3 hub for all the latest announcements from this year's show.