‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Doesn’t Reinvent The Wheel, But It Definitely Smooths Out The Bumps

I’ve been an Assassin’s Creed junkie since the very beginning of the franchise back in 2007 with a unique twist on the stealth genre of games. The original Assassin’s Creed introduced millions of gamers to a world within a world where they became Desmond Miles who then became Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad through a process of viewing genetic memories of his ancestors in a machine called the Animus. Through a series of plot devices and exploration, gamers progressed through the story to learn about the beginnings of the Assassins Guild and their eternal struggle with the fabled Knights Templar.

Okay, so I know the premise is a bit… unorthodox but the game was met with mostly favorable reviews from critics and fans alike. As the story progressed, with each game building out of the previous, fans started to feel as though the games were bleakly similar and not pushing the boundaries of originality. Along with the rushed production schedule by Ubisoft’s commitment to releasing a new title each year for the holiday season, something had to give – and eventually Ubisoft listened to the loyal fanbase and the team took to the drawing board to see how they could reinvigorate fan excitement, and then they chose to tell a new origin story – of the first very Assassin.

The New Origin Story

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[Credit: Ubisoft]

Assassin’s Creed Origins is a game that had high expectations from the very beginning, ultimately even before it was announced. Fans relished in the news that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gave when he explained that the 2 year delay between Syndicate and Origins was purposeful in order to focus on the quality and possibility of the game within their newly developed game engines. Then as the leaks began, fans got a brief glimpse into the distant past and it was discovered that the upcoming game would explore the lands of Ancient Egypt.

With Origins officially released now fans have been slightly hesitant to step into the adventure after the pitfalls of the previous games – but I’ve got to admit that although I was hesitant, this game is what we should have started the franchise with.

Assassin’s Creed was a great game that got bogged down by the religious symbolism and cultural nuances. Origins tells a story that steps out of the political and religious realm to focus on a real origin story: Bayek. In telling the story of Bayek, a Medjay in Ancient Egypt Ubisoft was able to, in a sense, forego the plot devices of all the preceding games and give gamers a true story about the beginnings of the assassins, and ultimately opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for the future of the franchise with the mechanisms that the developers have introduced in Origins.

Why Is This Game So Pivotal For The Franchise?

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[Credit: Ubisoft]

From the very beginning the team at Ubisoft wanted to develop a game with real depth and originality. Game Director, Ashraf Ismail (who also helmed the critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag) wanted to introduce a new schema for bringing the assassin to life in your own unique way – thus the true RPG element was introduced, and within that style of game players are able to create one-of-a-kind assassins that match their preferred play style.

We give players many avenues within the crafting system, within the inventory system, within the skills. So a concrete output of this means that you cannot assassinate anybody in the game with one shot… If you dedicate yourself to crafting your hidden blade, to increasing the damage that it can do, you may get there, but you have to dedicate yourself to it. – Ashraf Ismail, 2017

If you’re a warrior with swords drawn, then you can charge in wildly. If you’re a stealth assassin, then feel free to sneak from shadow to shadow; even using the dynamic ecosystem to your benefit. Coupling that with the crafting system makes Assassins Creed Origins a similar feel to the PS4 smash Horizon Zero Dawn in terms of unique story with RPG elements.

Even though Assassin’s Creed Origins is still a Creed game in the sense that it still features many of the same mechanics, it doesn’t feel as clunky as previous games in the franchise. There is a freshness to the game that is bringing many fans back into the warm embrace of Ubisoft’s uPlay, and is making many start to wonder where this new storyline could take the franchise.

Was this change to the Assassin’s Creed franchise a smart move? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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