We recently caught up with narrative director Mel MacCoubrey ahead of Assassin's Creed Odyssey's E3 reveal. As well as all the obvious questions which we covered in our preview, we also got to discuss some of the finer points of the next entry in the series, such as how the team planned to approach relationships and romance this time around.
It turns out it was quite an involved process and aimed to bring a more engaged process for players to follow when trying to initiate romance. The team began by examining historical texts to try and understand how people lived in Ancient Greece and explore the sort of relationships they formed. They didn't just apply this mentality to the game's romantic pursuits and instead, implemented it across the broad spectrum of characters the player engages with, from friend to lover, to convey a more genuine appeal to relationships within the game.
"For romance what we really wanted to do was avoid what I generally find in triple-A games," MacCoubrey said, "which is, I want to have a relationship with you so here's a present. Here's another present, are we married yet? Or, look there's a heart icon on the screen let's just click it until we're at 100% and we have babies."
Instead, the team wanted to take a more nuanced approach to relationship building that adapts depending on who you're talking to and how you approach them as opposed to winning them over with gifts. It's this more intimate approach that the team hopes resonates with those looking for more from the game in terms of romance options.
"On Assassin's Creed Odyssey what I thought was really important was that every person that you're going to have a romantic relationship with needs to be their own unique person and the story that you're going to engage with along the way has to be unique to that person," MacCoubrey told Gamereactor.
Romance in Odyssey might not be all smiles and loincloths though, as they could have serious consequences for the characters and the story. When you enter the city many of the characters you met will already be in relationships leaving you with the difficult choice of splitting people apart with your interference. These difficult choices may go on to have further consequences for the story and result in different outcomes for the characters you choose to engage with.
"Yes, sometimes it is to your benefit," conformed MacCoubrey, "but sometimes it has disastrous consequences and that's life."
Assassin's Creed Odyssey for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 5. Check out the most recent gameplay trailer here for more information.