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Assassin's Creed Origins

Discovery Mode to bring education to Assassin's Creed

Knowledge is power as this free upcoming mode will teach us about ancient Egypt.

  • Text: Stefan Briesenick & Sam Bishop

We're just one month away from Ubisoft releasing the latest iteration of their famous Assassin's Creed franchise, which will take us to Ancient Egypt (49 BCE to be precise) to show us a vast open world full of secrets to discover. To further strengthen their efforts, Ubisoft has put additional work into presenting their historical data in a newly announced game mode, called Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt.

In Discovery Tour (as most people call it) players explore a world stripped of everything like narrative and combat, and instead there will be special missions asking players to visit different locations and learn more about ancient Egyptian ideas such like mummification, as well as famous people and places. Since there's no danger, then, players are free to explore at a calmer pace, and all of the locations you will see are ones that are already in the base game, so they're not bespoke for the Discovery Tour Mode itself.

"It's really something that we wanted to do for a long time," Creative Director Jean Guesdon said about the game mode when we spoke to him at a preview event in London. "The idea is, we put so much work and effort into recreating, as accurately as possible, these time periods that we are visiting, that we felt that a lot more than gamers would actually be interested [in] being immersed and know more about that time period."

"We really intend to bring a much more interactive experience, and a much more educative experience. This time we said 'okay, we do it, and we do it fully', so we stripped, basically, the game from all the narrative and the conflict and the combat, and we instead created dozens of tours that are guided tours, just like in the museums - it's really an open-world, interactive museum, if you wish - and these tours have been created with historians, with specialists, that actually provided us with true, valid, academic content."

"The world, the 3D world of the game, is really the stage, the receptacle that will bring all the participants, the players, to these tours, that are broken down into stations, so that you can actually learn true things that are already in the world, but this time the focus is about that."

In terms of what motivated the decision to make this Discovery Tour now, Guesdon said: "Well, having an extra year, for us, really helped [...] We felt that Assassin's Creed Origins was the perfect moment, actually, to really have this statement that we are a franchise that is dedicated to history, history with a big H, and to really put the light, the focus, on the quality of the recreation of the world that we're doing."

"And so, especially with this one-year break, it gave us basically the time needed, on one side to fully develop the entire country of Egypt, we needed that time to do the game, but while we were doing the game, we had also the time to meet with institutions, with museums, with teachers - we even went to the White House at [one] point, they have a game jam, serious game stuff - to really understand what could be our value, and what would be the good formula to bring to everybody, and so we came up with this design of multiple tours that are thematic and focusing on very precise elements with this curated content. I think this was a good moment because it's the 10th anniversary, the setting is one of the most appealing of all - we know Ancient Egypt is still very fascinating for a lot of people."

The content should arrive in early 2018 and players will unlock different characters to move around the world in Guided Tours. Ptolemy, Cleopatra and Julius Caesar have already been confirmed, as well as Aya and Bayek of course, and Guesdon even said that kids will be involved as well.

The objects in the world will be important too, as Guesdon explained to us when he said that "there will be also a 3D viewer to look at objects that normally you cannot manipulate in the regular game, but in this mode you will have the opportunity to look around, to look at them." Specific cameras also work to shed light on the world around you as well.

Historical facts have always been a part of the Assassin's Creed games and this initiative is an extension of the in-game encyclopedia, which gave information on the game's setting for those who wanted it. The series originally started off in the Third Crusade, i.e. the Middle Ages, before going onto explore other areas of history like Renaissance Italy, colonial America, and Victorian London, so it makes sense that the historical accuracy aspect of the series is being pushed further and further into the spotlight.

Is this a part of the series that has impressed you? And can you see yourself enjoying Discovery Tour when it lands next year?

Assassin's Creed Origins