The Assassin’s Creed games have always been brutal, but with Origins, Ubisoft has cranked up the violence even more.
Origins is set in Ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period and sees you play as nimble assassin Bayek.
But unlike Ezio, Altair and Connor – the series’ other protagonists, Bayek’s a much more capable fighter.
A large part of this is down to Ubisoft overhauling the combat system – moving away from paired animation to something more versatile and fast-paced.
After all, Assassin’s Creed has traditionally been more about stealthy take-downs than out-and-out violence.
According to game director Ashraf Ismail, after 19 games, a new combat system was essential for the game’s evolution – giving gamers ‘more freedom than ever before’.
“When we started developing Assassin’s Creed Origins, just after the release of Black Flag, we knew from the start that we wanted to bring more depth and challenge to the Assassin’s Creed Experience,” he told Dream Team Gaming.
“We’ve rebuilt combat from the ground up and are now using a hitbox system. With this new system, the players’ positioning as well as the size and the speed of the players weapon decide if and how the player can hit their enemies.”
Origins is now much more of an action-RPG than its predecessors and the new combat system plays a big part in that.
“We wanted players to have combat choices and their decisions to have a major impact on the outcome of the fights – that the weapons they wield and the gear they wear influence the way they play,” Ismail continued.
This new paradigm also translates in the RPG dimension of the experience.
“Not only do weapons differ in size and speed, they also come with their own specific statistics, attributes and rarity levels, from Common to Legendary,” Ismail explains.
“A Legendary Hunter Bow will be much deadlier than a common one and might have some special abilities e.g. a better chance of critical hit. All those changes contribute to the same goal: give players control, depth and freedom in the way they fight for a thrilling and challenging combat experience.”
This greater focus on violence is evident in the lengthy weapons list, which stands at 160 – ranging from blades and daggers to bows and darts.
“We have seven different types of Melee weapons (Dual Swords, Regular Swords, Heavy Blades, Spears, Sceptres, Heavy Blunts, Sickle Swords), each type having a different set of moves and combos,” Ismail said.
“There are four different types of Bows (Warrior Bows, Light Bows, Predator Bows and Hunter Bows). But on top of that, every weapon comes with its specific rarity – Common, Rare or Legendary and they also include attributes, such as a higher chance to do a critical hit or to put enemies on fire.
“Players can also use tools such as Smoke Bombs, Sleep Darts and Poison Darts.
“There is a lot of diversity in the arsenal and the choice of the weapon has a crucial impact on the gameplay.
Although there’s been a greater focus on brawling and hand-to-hand combat, stealth remains an important part of Origins.
Ismail said: “There is no quest that forces you to play stealthily or to go full-on in melee fighting.
“We built our Ability Tree to help players specialise and decide if they want to focus on melee combat, on stealth and range combat or on their ability to manipulate the environment, such as poison or taming animals.
“It’s also totally possible to create a balanced character by picking the abilities you want in each branch of the Ability Tree.
“If you want to play stealthily, then you might want to craft a better version of your hidden blade so you deal more stealth damage and can one-shot kill enemies that have a higher level than yours.
“This is your choice as a player, as it is your choice to pick the weapon that suits you best or to decide which quest you want to tackle next.
“That is what we challenged ourselves with from the beginning of the development: build a game that, while true to the franchise’s DNA and telling a major story in its global lore, gives more freedom to players than ever before.”
Assassin’s Creed Origins is out on October 27 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.