Assassin's Creed Origins (opens in new tab) just isn't finished changing everything we know about the franchise. Not only is there a quest system this time around, an eagle to scout ahead with its, well, eagle vision, an RPG skill tree and loot, there's also a series first in the shape of a difficulty setting. Things are going to get tricky in Ancient Egypt. “For us to be able to deliver this experience to a mainstream audience - a larger audience - we have a huge fanbase. We have a lot of people who play for different reasons,” explains game director Ashraf Ismail in an interview with Assassin's Central (opens in new tab).
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“Some people play for the historic context, some people for the narrative, some for the gameplay, and what we felt was by going deeper into the gameplay challenge of the game we’re feeding one part of the audience, but not others so it was a natural step for us to think ‘well, let’s give difficulty settings.’” But don't worry, you don't have to make the decision at the very start of the game. You can start on normal and work your way up - or down - from there. “If you really want that very difficult challenge you can set the game to a harder setting,” continues Ismail. “We’ve seen situations where people have asked ‘y’know I want the game to stay at a normal, balanced difficulty but I’m having difficulty with this boss or this moment so can I switch?’ So yes we allow it to switch dynamically.”
In terms of what will change, easy isn't going to turn off the difficulty altogether - you'll have to wait for the Egypt Discovery mode (opens in new tab) for that - but animal encounters and enemies will be less strenuous on the thumbs. “We don’t turn off the combat," warns Ismail. "You still will have to do whatever you run into. It’s much easier to handle and the reverse is true for hard. Stats are much more aggressive, there’s a bigger curve of difficulty and enemies are more aggressive themselves so we play with a few settings.” Having already had Bayek's skull eaten by lions, I'm looking forward to cranking up the difficulty and trialling out a new, more deadly Creed. For more from Assassin's Creed Central, find out more in the video below.