Assassin's Creed Origins: Gameplay, quests, the start of the Brotherhood, and everything you need to know

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One year without a proper addition to the Creed was quite enough thank you very much. A whole 365 days without a new historical time period to slaughter through? Michael Fassbender just couldn't scratch that itch, could he? Well fret no more. From the same development team and creative director as Black Flag, Assassin's Creed Origins drops us into Ancient Egypt in the (not confusing at all) year of 49BC. While the game might have been the least surprising surprise of all time by the time it was announced at E3, the adventure of new hooded hero, Bayek has plenty of genuinely exciting revelations. 

Not only has the mini map disappeared and been replaced by a tantalising compass of question marks, Origins is a genuine action RPG complete with skill trees, quests and actual loot. Throw in an eagle, an entirely revamped combat system (no, really) and an entire country of wildlife that probably wants to eat you, and Assassin's Creed just got a hell of a lot more exciting. Here's everything we know so far about Assassin's Creed Origins. 

Fast facts: 

  • Assassin's Creed Origins release date: October 27, 2017
  • Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Price: $59.99 / £54.99

Assassin's Creed Origins trailer shows off Ancient Egypt in all its sandy glory

Once again proving that Assassin's Creed is still the best at choosing trailer music, the Origins trailer reveals an enticing look at the Egypt that awaits us. Lions hunt across the plains, hippopotamus keep cool in the rivers and a truly alive world constantly lives around you.  Not only can you surf down pyramids, explore tombs and discover the ins and outs of mummification - presumably hook in, brains out - but whether you are in the city of Memphis or wandering through the deserts, everything is alive. People go to and from the market, animals prey on one another and rogue factions battle on horseback, just waiting for you to join in. And yes, before I get any further, you can ride a camel. Just watch out. They spit.  

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Assassin's Creed Origins release date is October 27 and there's a Gods' Edition

And we're not even that far away from launch. Assassin's Creed Origins hits PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 27 this year. Plus, if you want to actually feel like you're in Egpyt, if you have an Xbox One X, you'll get to play the game in 4k at 60 frames per second. Alternatively you could always use a fan to blow sand in your face but I'd suggest the former. 

If you're looking for a fancy edition at launch, complete with toys and plenty of in game content you can pick up Deluxe or Gods editions, which include exclusive missions. The Gods edition even includes a 10.2" statue of the game's hero, Bayek, but you'll have to drop $119.99 for the privilege. 

Read more: Get godlike with Assassin’s Creed Origins Gods Edition pre-order - here’s where to buy it

Assassin's Creed Origins' lead character is called Bayek, who'll start the Assassins as we know them

Going right back to the very beginnings of the Creed - hence Origins, guys - this is the story of a Medjay called Bayek. The Medjay were a group of warriors sworn to protect the people of Egypt and their values and it's immediately clear when you go hands on with the game. Sailors give up their boats and every quest that you uncover is for a heroic man of the people. Bayek is this country's hero even before Assassins are mentioned. 

"The story we tell is from our protagonist Bayek’s perspective. He is a native of Siva which is a desert oasis that’s far off," creative director Ashraf Ismail explains. "And so it’s about him being a Medjay, which is a guy who is trained in weapons and helps the Egyptian people. And so the idea is kind of his journey, going to uncover and unravel a mystery, which leads to the birth of the Brotherhood, which is intimately married to the context, the setting, this moment in history where Cleopatra’s ascending her throne. So the historic element is really important, the story is very personal." Everything we know about the Brotherhood comes from here so it'll be interesting to see exactly how the Assassins came into being. 

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Assassin's Creed Origins setting is Ancient Egypt, as the line of Pharaohs is ending 

Welcome to 49BC, a tumultuous time for Ancient Egypt. Mind the mummies and the scarab beetles on your way in. They crunch. But why has it finally become time to step back this far? Well Ismail has a clear reason for that.  "We have three thousand years to play with and we tried different periods," he says. "We asked ourselves what would work, what wouldn’t work and what we found was when we were too early - lets say when they were building the pyramids -  there really wasn’t much else. We loved the idea that Alexandria was vibrant and that was the kind of modern city in an ancient time that existed, but then you also had Memphis which was ancient and old and organic and chaotic and wonderful – so we landed on 49BC. Egypt, at this time, has centuries of accomplishment and grandeur, but at its demise, the line of Pharaohs is about to end, the gods are about to die, the way Ancient Egyptian life is is going to forever change. By being in this crucible of history, where the old world is going to collide with the new world." 

Read more: Check out 30 minutes of Assassin's Creed Origins on Xbox One X in beautiful 4K

Assassin's Creed Origins open world can be explored without a mini-map

So long mini map covered in items to collect and endless lists to check off. You serves us well.  Don't worry if you like lists though there will be still plenty to tick your way through in Assassin's Creed Origins but via a quests screen rather than a map sprinkled with to do items. Everything is now discovered via a moving Bethesda-style compass bar at the top of your screen. Question marks are scattered across Egypt and you're going to have to uncover the adventure as you go. It's far more freedom than we've ever had in the Creed and don't worry, you'll still have to climb towers to unlock viewpoints, it'll just do things a little differently... 

"So we kept the viewpoints but we’ve kind of changed their function, so now when you synchronise you no longer unfog the map – you do that by physically coming to areas, so the system has exploration," explains Ismail. "They do uncover question marks, so if you haven’t physically visited a place yet so it does kind of help you out with that. The true thing it does – which is our way of playing with the series – is that in every viewpoint across all ACs you always have an eagle that flies overhead – in our game we don’t have any eagles flying overhead, and the idea is when Byek reaches this point and is synchronising, he’s actually teaching Senu to take in the lay of the land, and what it does is it enhances his scouting ability, so Senu gets faster at tagging enemies and opportunities and all this stuff. So you’re actually doing the viewpoint to train Senu and the kind of play of that is, once it’s done here then the rest of it follows. That’s why it’s an origin!" Who is Senu, you ask? Well... 

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Assassin's Creed Origins gives you an eagle to fly through Egypt's skies

If it wasn't entirely clear from the above, Assassin's Creed Origins gives you an eagle to play with. Bonelli's Eagle Senu can take to the air with a press of a button and you can soar over the deserts and cities with her, taking in points of interest with a bird's eye view. She's exceptionally useful for scouting ahead and not only can you label up  enemies for future slaughter or, y'know, avoiding, she is essential for spotting objectives. Taking to the skies, you can hover and steer around a circle pointer on screen until she sees the item of interest which will then be recognised on your quest marker. While she's really a nice equivalent to Watch Dogs 2's drone, it's a whole new way to take in the world and a lovely way to take in the scenery, especially if you're playing on a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. 

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Assassin's Creed Origins combat is a massive revamp for the series  

Assassin's Creed  combat has been the same thing since the adventures of Altair. Hooded man stands in the middle while bad individuals stand around and take turns to stab/ shoot/ strangle/ impale him. While there has been variations on this murdery theme for years, some of which have been  a lot of fun, no Creed has managed to fully reinvent the combat wheel. Until now, that is. Origins' combat has literally been rebuilt with a shield on your left bumper and heavy and light attacks on your shoulder buttons. Throw in parry and dodge buttons and this is is a whole new kettle of stabby fish. Origins has slews of different weapon types too, each with their own pros and cons and now that the AI has got smarter, it constantly feels like you're on the edge of death. Archers need taken down early or you might just end up as a human pin cushion with its hood up. Ouch. Whether you use a poisoned spear of the intimidating curved khopesh sword, Assassin's Creed combat has never felt this deadly. 

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Assassin's Creed Origins has an actual LOOT system

I know, I know. First the mini map and now this. Loot is a big part of Assassin's Creed Origins. Bayek can open chests throughout the world and discover items of three different rarity values. Legendary loot is what you're on the hunt for and you can level up your weaponry at blacksmiths around the world. Quite attached to your poison tipped spear? Keep it. How about that shotgun bow with five arrows for camel back slaughter. That's yours for the upgrading too. While the attributes of each weapon can't be changed, you can level all your loot along with you. Bayek has a level cap of 40 so you'll want to take all your favourite combat tools with you as you go. 

Also attached to the levelling is a significant skills section. Gone is the age of just levelling up the same way as everyone else. You can choose exactly how you want to play Origins. There's no info on many of the skills yet but they're not just combat based. Bayek can tame animals and even trap bodies with poisonous gas so there'll be plenty of ways to mess with Ancient Egypt. Wait, I mostly mean kill Ancient Egypt. 

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Assassin's Creed Origins has "tons" of challenging boss fights and you can fight in a gladiator arena 

I am Gladiator, you say? Well ok. In true Maximus style, Bayek can take part in huge gladiator battles in an arena. Not only that but there are bosses scattered across the world to truly challenge your combat skills. "Of course all of this wouldn't work if we didn't have proper challenge in the game...we want players to look at the loadout of an enemy," explains Ismail. "What weapons are they carrying, what shields are they using, this stuff matters. It changes the way you play against them. This allowed us to do epic boss fights. We wanted AC with boss fights, tons of boss fights."

The gladiator arena itself is unlocked via a narrative event and you'll have to do a fight to prove your worth but after that it's entirely optional whether you want to return for further bouts. Ismail has teased that there are rewards to be won the more you fight in the arena which is packed with different kinds of enemies and some gory spinning blades just waiting for you to impale an unfortunate foe or six. All in all, it adds to a world that already feels like it's positively bursting with new things to do. From tombs full of deadly traps to wildlife to hunt and upgrade your items, Assassin's Creed Origins is dangerously full of new ideas. I can't wait. 

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