New Assassin's Creed Origins info on redesigned fighting and traversal, naval combat, levelling and modern elements

Assassin's Creed Origins' director Ashraf Ismail has been talking about some of the the latest game's key features, and explaining more about how things have changed in this instalment. 

Combat, traversal, levelling and more have all been redesigned, and in a recent GI podcast  Ismail talked a lot about these new features. Here's the full show, and then, afterwards, I've picked out the big takeaways for Origins. 

Assassin's Creed Origins' has naval combat... of some sort

We've already seen reed boats and other small craft in the game, as well as some larger craft, just don't expect anything quite on the scale of Black Flag, according to Ismail. "There are bigger ships," he explains. "You don’t commandeer them but you can jump on them, ferry ride them." 

That doesn't mean there aren't opportunities for larger ship battles, it just won't quite be like previous games. "There are other navel combat opportunities, something closer to what we had on Black Flag but for now we’re not going into too much detail," teases Ismail. "I don’t want to give people the wrong impression, it’s not the same level as Black Flag."

Assassin's Creed Origins' city size

When talking about one of the main cities in Origins, Memphis, Ismail says, "it’s a fairly large city, I think Alexandria’s slightly bigger, but very slightly. If I compared it to previous cities in the past, I don’t know the exact numbers for sure, I could say it’s at least twice the size of Havana from Black Flag." However, he's keen to point out that it isn't just about making it big: "I don’t think the size of the city matters, it’s the experience you have inside of it, it’s how alive it is. We filled these locations with quests, actually making each city unique to itself."

There's no limit to how far you can send your eagle

Assassin's Creed Origin's uses an eagle called Senu to scout and scan new areas. Interestingly, he's not tethered to the hero, Bayek, in anyway. "There's no limits, and the return is almost instantaneous," says Ismail. "There’s no leash, there’s no limit to flying away. You can technically fly as far away from Bayek as you want."

Assassin's Creed Origins' has "a ton" of tombs

"We have a ton of tombs," says Ismail. "They’re super cool. We run the gamut of puzzles, navigation puzzles, navigation challenges, some combat challenges. There’s a lot of different tombs with a lot of different flavours. Yes there are traps in some, there are hidden secrets. We tried to have fun with tombs, there’s a ton of tombs in the game."

Origins has redesigned its traversal to "look as awesome as we can make it"

While the basic assassin's free-running looks the same, the controls have changed a lot. "The parkour? One thing that’s changed is there’s no longer a high profile button," explains Ismail. "It used to be on the trigger, where you sprint. We changed it so that all the input is on the stick. So you you can walk, to trot, to jog, to a full out sprint on the stick. This actually allows the player to have much more control over what they hit. So A and B are still there, A to go up, B to go down; they still work but there’s been a lot of tweaking and tuning done based on the way we’ve seen people play, again to make it super responsive. The goal is to make the assassin do what the player wants, looking as awesome as we can make it look."

How do you level your gear? 

"There’s multiple ways to manage the gear and to upgrade it," says Ismail. "You can actually take a weapon you already have, take it to blacksmith and buy - paying with a bit of money, some materials you find in the world - you can upgrade the weapon's level. So, if there’s a weapon you’ve found that you absolute love and you want to keep, there’s a way to level it up to your level."

As well as paying to keep your weapons the best they can be, you can also make new stuff to improve Bayek's abilities. "The crafting system is away to increase a lot of your defence and damage stats, including stealth damage, range damage... all of this," says Ismail. "Here, it’s a physical piece of equipment on Bayek that when you craft it, it physically changes so you see the improvement but it also changes your stats."

Assassin's Creed Origins' modern day stuff is...

One big thing everyone wants to know about it what shape the modern day sections take. We know they exist but that's it. Ismail isn't really helping just yet either: "When it comes to modern day and marketing, I’m the game director. I’m focusing on finsihing this game. The PR/marketing team, I’m not sure if they want to talk about it, or when. What I will say is that one of the reasons we hesitate is that we know it’s an important element for the series, we’ve read what our fans talk about, what they ask, and what they wish for. Part of me wants people to be surprised by the experience." 

Okay, that's not giving much away but Ismail does conclude, "I think people will be happy."

Leon Hurley
Managing editor for guides

I'm GamesRadar's Managing Editor for guides, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.