The next entry in Ubisoft's long-running (and roof-running) series is coming a little sooner than expected. Assassin's Creed Odyssey is arriving in October and is taking us even further back in AC canon than Origins. Set in 431BC in Ancient Greece, you can play either as Alexios or Kassandra 17 years after they're cast out of Sparta and left for dead.
It's also doing other gameplay elements a bit differently too, along with that choice of protagonist, as while Assassin’s Creed Origins had RPG elements included in its open world structure, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is taking the AC RPG to the next level, offering greater player choice than ever before with dialogue options, choice-based gameplay and even multiple endings.
So let’s go back to Ancient Greece and tell you a little more about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and don’t forget to read our extensive Assassin’s Creed Odyssey preview first too:
- I've played Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and you're not ready for how much its freedom-fuelled, RPG twists change up the AC formula
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey release date is set for October
Although we weren’t quite expecting another Assassin’s Creed quite so soon, the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey release date is set for October 5 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s been in the works for three years though, so don’t fret that it’s been rushed out. This is one heck of an Assassin’s Creed game.
Alexios and Kassandra are your two Assassin’s Creed Odyssey characters
In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you get the choice of whether to play as Alexios or Kassandra. Unlike Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you won’t be able to switch between the two throughout the game, but instead make one decision at the very beginning. According to Ubisoft, their stories have subtle differences, but essentially it’s down to the decisions you make and what you do in the game that makes these characters unique.
“The characters are the same; they follow a very similar story,” explains Assassin’s Creed Odyssey narrative director, Mel MacCoubrey. “But it’s really up to you as a player as to how you’re making decisions and how you’re role-playing those characters that really makes the experience unique.”
But don’t be fooled, your experiences are building on top of already existing characters, with a strong back story and unique personalities, rather than creating a character from scratch.
“It was very important for us to make sure that we had two solid, personable characters from the get go,” adds MacCoubrey. “Somebody with a very strong personality who is very much established, who you then mould as you’re going forwards. We didn’t want it to feel like you were choosing a blank slate, that’s not what we wanted, because the main character of the Assassin’s Creed brand has always been an iconic figure and we wanted to keep it that way, even though we’re giving you a choice.”
And Kassandra is canon
Although no everyone in the Assassin's Creed community is pleased about this, Creative Director Jonathan Dumont has confirmed that Kassandra is canon for the series.
"Yes, there will be a canon represented by the novel," said Dumon in a recent Reddit AMA. "It features Kassandra and her journey. But in the game you decide your path, there is no right or wrong way."
Assassin's Creed Odyssey has multiple endings
Just to confuse the canon even more, Ubisoft has confirmed that the game will have multiple endings, which marks the first time this has happened - ever - in an Assassin's Creed game.
“I don’t want to spoil stuff, because I want players to discover stuff for themselves, but there are multiple endings and we wanted to make sure that we were faithful to the tone of the story," explained Mel MacCoubrey, narrative director on Odyssey, in an interview with us at E3. "But yes there are choices and decisions that you make along the way that will impact the end.”
“We really wanted the player to feel like they were really making a choice and that their choices matter," she adds.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey combat has changed a lot since Origins
Odyssey is also building on the combat featured in Origins in a big way. Not only do you see wounds appear in real time, with blood flowing a lot more freely in Ancient Greece, but if you get hurt and dive into the water, blood flows behind you from your wounds. It’s all lovely little touches that heighten the immersion. But, it’s not just about gore, Ubisoft has really ramped up the customisation when it comes to combat. There’s still an element of lock and block mechanics, but you really need to be excited about the new abilities. There’s a new ability wheel that you can map with a range of different skills, including an awesome Sparta kick, a shield break, a heal option and even an area attack that involves leaping and smashing the ground with your spear - the one that’s been handed down from King Leonidas of Sparta and grands you almost superhuman abilities. The skills mapped to your ability wheel can all be chained together as long as you have enough XP. There’s something fantastic about stealing an enemy’s shield, smacking them with it and then kicking them in the chest Sparta style, before taking out their goons using the spear smash. It’s powerful stuff. And that’s just the melee abilities - there are ranged ones too, which you can map to quick access buttons. The customisation options are seriously impressive.
And all that comes in handy when you’re in one of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s big 150v150 battles and you’ve got to take down as many captains as you can before your troops are wiped out. It’s stressful but incredible.
There’s still a plethora of weapons, but now you build your character’s abilities and weaponry to better suit your playstyle. You can tweak the stats of your weapons using engravings, which all help build stats in three categories - Hunter, Warrior and Assassin - which you can level out according to how you like to play.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey naval exploration and battling is a major part of the game
But combat isn’t just limited to the land, because after the success of all the naval adventuring in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Odyssey is including seamless open-world water navigation, and puts your ship at the centre of the story as your main base, a bit like the train in Syndicate. You’ll be able to customise it, recruit your crew and of course sail around. It’s all seamless, all you need to is get on and off your ship to traverse the gigantic map - although more on that in a minute.
As you sail along with the dolphins and the sharks, you’ll also be able to engage in naval battles, fighting using arrows and fire rather than the cannons of Black Flag but it’s exhilarating.
There's a brand new wanted system that'll make you think twice about your pilfering
Think twice before you start searching through chests in someone's house, because in Assassin's Creed, someone is watching, and, more importantly, judging. While previous games would just kick you back to the start of a mission if you killed a civilian, Odyssey lets you play with havoc and chaos, but at your own peril.
That's because Odyssey actually features a GTA-style wanted system, and the more unwanted attention you garner with your actions, the harder people are going to start hunting you down. Just replace the cop cars and helicopters with armed Athenian guards and mounted cavalry and you've got it about right.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey map is the biggest in the series yet
By combining mainland Greece and the majority of its surrounding islands, along with all that blue, the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey map is easily the biggest the series has ever seen. Just take a look:
Will Assassin's Creed Odyssey feature the hidden blade?
There's quite a hubbub around whether Assassin's Creed Odyssey will be the first game not to feature the series' iconic hidden blade. It certainly didn't feature in the E3 build I played, but delving into the lore a bit - and actual history - I think we might see it feature after all.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is set in 431BC, which is 400 years before the events of Assassin's Creed Origins. It's only in Origins that Bayek receives the very first hidden blade and it becomes part of an assassin's arsenal when he and Aya set up the Order of the Assassins.
However, the blade itself was given to Aya by Cleopatra, and Aya calls it "an ancient blade that killed the tyrant Xerxes". Roll back to 465BC and a chap called Darius actually killed King Xerxes, who was apparently a Persian assassin. It's this, according to Assassins' lore, that was the first recorded use of the hidden blade.
That's all before the events of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and it's not actually known how the blade gets from Darius in 465BC to Cleopatra in 48BC some 400 years later.
What makes it all even more interesting is that Xerxes is connected to Leonidas, whois the Spartan king both Alexios and Kassandra are descendants of. The Battle of Themopylae was fought in 480BC between an alliance of Greek city-states and was led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and Xerxes for the Persian Empire. It can't be a coincidence that there's a direct link between our Odyssey heroes and the man who gets killed by the very first hidden blade.
What do you think of Assassin's Creed Odyssey so far? Are you loving the new heroes? Let us know in the comments below.