You don’t know drama until you’ve heard about the stuff the Greek gods got up to. Sure, the best Assassin’s Creed games (opens in new tab) deal with secret societies, clandestine assassinations, and vast political plots to hoard incredibly powerful artefacts, but while those activities start off as dirty little secrets, the Greek gods made no attempt to hide their shenanigans. From extra-marital affairs to over-the-top shows of vengeance, the gods of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (opens in new tab) were royal pains in the arse - which is exactly why you shouldn’t fight them in the game, but try to keep them under control instead.
Now that Assassin’s Creed is voyaging into full-blown RPG territory, with its dialogue options, romanceable NPCs, and multiple endings, it’s the perfect time to include some quests that involve the Greek gods. Battling the Egyptian gods in Assassin’s Creed: Origins (opens in new tab) made perfect sense, as those immortal beings (or, they were immortal right up until your attacks sent them back into the virtual abyss) were insanely powerful and didn’t meddle in the affairs of humans too much. The Greek pantheon are a different story. They didn’t exactly do impulse control very well. Like Sekhmet, Anubis, and Sobek, they could appear in the world due to a glitch in the code. But instead of starting to battle any mortals who come near, they’d act out their petty squabbles. Just like children. Dramatic, insanely powerful children with an ego complex.
Down-to-earth gods (literally)
Various tales of vengeance and insanely extravagant exploits pepper the history of the gods worshipped by the Greeks. Their unpredictable behaviour makes just having a passing conversation with them after one of their deeds ripe for various consequences, especially with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey’s new emphasis on choice and dialogue options. So, for example, chatting with Zeus after he seduced Lena while in the form of a swan (remember what I said about insanely extravagant exploits?) would have you weighing up whether you want to take a page out of Kratos’ book and start a fight… or accompany him on a tour of the local taverns. The stories of the gods’ exploits naturally lend themselves to an RPG, as they mingled with mortals a lot - hence why they could bump into your assassin of choice - and they never took the high road. Ever.
Still not convinced that you could ‘accidentally’ bump into Hades, Aphrodite, or Hera without climbing all the way up to Mount Olympus? In one part of Odyssey’s gameplay that we’ve seen so far, Kassandra is half-seriously asked if she’s Athena “dressed in a dirty disguise (opens in new tab)”. Not surprising, really, as the gods often walked in disguise among humans. Zeus appeared in the shape of a bull, Athena disguised herself as a herdsman, and Hera appeared as the the nurse of Semele, one of Zeus’ lovers. Again, running into them in the dusty streets of Greece doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. With all the politics and scandals that regularly cropped up in the clouds, I wouldn’t blame the gods for having a bit of a break down here with us humans.
Loyal servant… or fickle bounty hunter?
Although the gods mostly fought among themselves, you wouldn’t have a hard time finding a mortal who wanted to get revenge on the gods either. Zeus had sex with basically… everyone, causing Hera to punish most women associated with him (as well as his children), and those feuds were legendary. Like the relationship between the main character and the Daedric Princes in the Elder Scrolls, you could be made an emissary of the gods and deployed, bounty-hunter style, to exact vengeance on those who had wronged the deities. Hera’s not the only one who would have need of you - in revenge for destroying a grove sacred to her so he could build yet another feast hall, the goddess Demeter cursed Erysichthon with a hunger that could never be fulfilled. Eventually he ate himself. Imagine that fetch quest where you just bring Erysichthon dish after dish after dish, with time limits between each course, and when you take just a bit too long… suddenly Erysichthon starts to think his arm looks pretty appetising. Shudder.
Odyssey is placing a new emphasis on choosing your destiny, with multiple endings being up for grabs depending on your actions. Depending on how you handle your assignments as an intermediary of the gods, the perks and loot you’d get would change as well as - potentially - how the rest of the gods react to you. Act as a loyal servant of Hera? Her husband Zeus probably won’t be too fond of you. Disobey Hera and help out one of Zeus’ (many) illegitimate children? Call down a strike of lightning bolts every so often courtesy of the bearded immortal guy in a toga.
Thanks to their overdramatic tendencies and love of escalation, plus the new RPG systems waiting in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, now would be the perfect time for a virtual glitch to worm its way into the Animus and set the gods loose in Ancient Greece. The precedent has already been set by the impressive Assassin’s Creed Origins, so all that’s left now is for either Alexios or Kassandra to meet the all-powerful deities… and try to survive the encounter.