Of all the changes Assassin’s Creed Origins introduced to the formula, the smartest may have been the post-launch addition of a Discovery Tour mode. The series has always been firmly rooted in history, but its tendency towards the fantastical–Leonardo Da Vinci making assassin gadgets and the like–often overshadowed the time and effort Ubisoft has put into its historical research. Discovery Tour shone a bright spotlight on all the work the studio put into researching ancient Egypt, and now a year later, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey deserves the same treatment.
A lengthy E3 2018 demo was littered with historical details. The costuming and fashion appeared period-appropriate and correct down to the rope used for tying off armor or braids. The architecture was gorgeously recreated to show how the still-standing ornate structures of ancient Greece would have appeared minus 2000 years of wear and tear. The characters casually reference the gods with a precision that represents a people who regarded this as religion, not superstition.
Certainly there’s no shortage of pop culture representations of ancient Grecian culture. From 300 to Disney’s Hercules and even the God of War series, Greece is better represented than Egypt ever was. But precisely because the society has been so remixed and blended into modern myths, a more reverent and exacting take would be truly valuable.
Just like the first, it would serve as an advertisement for Ubisoft. Like any studio commentary, it peels back a layer of mystery around the development process, giving insight and context to the difficult work of making a game. And it poses the studio as well-meaning and passionate.
This may well already be in the cards for Odyssey. An Ubisoft representative was coy when asked, refusing to offer a yes or no. But it is a distinct possibility that the cost of Discovery Mode was too high for a free value-add feature to justify doing it again this year, and that would be a shame. Both for the educational value, and for showcasing the impressive work of Ubisoft’s historical research, Discovery Tour should come back to stay.
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Author: Steve Watts
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