It’s been less than a year since the launch of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Ubisoft is already delivering an epic follow-up. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes the new foundation for the series and builds on it with even deeper gameplay, an even richer story, and the most compelling open-world universe yet. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey?
Last year, Ubisoft released their most deep Assassin’s Creed game yet. Assassin’s Creed Origins started the series on a path down RPG land, with upgradeable skills and weapons, deeper crafting, and more being added to the experience. All of that joined the deep open worlds we’ve already become accustomed to, as well as the game’s rich lore and memorable characters.
Fast forward a year later and Ubisoft has wasted no time building on that. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is set to introduce mechanics and ideas that may not be new to the art of gaming, but they’ll definitely make for an awesome Creed game.
Will you fight for Sparta or Athens?
Before we even jump into the new gameplay bits, let’s talk about where it’s taking place. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is continuing the series tradition of revisiting ancient times. The last game took us to Egypt, but this time we’ll be heading to Greece during the year 431 BCE, which places us right at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War.
The Peloponnesian War was a significant conflict with many different players, but the bulk of it was ultimately carried out between Sparta and Athens. It was instigated by rebels who were unhappy with the latter, and they ended up helping Sparta in their quest to dominate the Aegean Sea.
Whereas previous Assassin’s Creed games decided your path for you, it appears you’ll be making some important decisions of your own in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. One of the biggest decisions is who you’ll choose to fight for over the course of the game. That’s because you’re not strictly part of the Spartans nor the Athenians. You’re a mercenary, and you’ll be able to choose who you fight for. Mercenaries typically fight for money, but there may be other forces at play swaying you in one direction or the other.
It being a game set in ancient Greece, Ubisoft isn’t shying away from the concept of paranormal meddling from the Gods of old. That’s not to say you’ll be shooting thunderbolts from your palms through the power of Zeus, but the Gods can and will play a role in some form or another. Ubisoft is being quiet on the specifics of this element for now, so it’s something we’ll just have to explore for ourselves once the game is made available for purchase.
The backdrop of the Peloponnesian War is interesting enough, but other story details remain a mystery. What we know right now is that you can play as either Alexios or Kassandra, marking both the first time you can choose multiple characters in an Assassin’s Creed game as well as the first time you can play as a female. (Yay for gender representation!)
No matter which hero you choose, you’re known as a descendant of the Spartan king Leonidas I. Your family doesn’t recognize your royal heritage, though, and you quickly learn that you’re all alone. You do embark on your quest with a family heirloom, however: Leonidas I’s broken spear, which is eventually reforged into a steel polearm sword-looking thingy.
The deepest Assassin’s Creed game yet
Assassin’s Creed has largely been responsible for some of the mainstay mechanics still prevalent in games today, namely its climbing, combat, and stealth systems. Despite the initial burst of innovation Ubisoft brought with this series, it hasn’t evolved much until recent times.
The biggest turn came with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag with its pirate ship gameplay, and you’ll get a chance to return to the high seas in Odyssey with a ship and crew of your own. You’ll use it to travel the Aegean to carry out your duties in Athens, Sparta, and everywhere in between. There are at least 27 significant regions to explore and do missions in.
This will also be the first Assassin’s Creed game that offers the ability to make dialog choices. There will be branching dialog, too, so there will be multiple outcomes in any given situation. It figures to be a big part of the game with Ubisoft professing that there will be multiple endings – again, a series first.
The player will be able to develop and manage relationships with people, too. You’ll even go as far as romancing some of them. Protagonists of old have historically had love interests, but you’ll be in control of them this time around, and it sounds awesome.
Of course, the bread and butter of Assassin’s Creed games – combat and stealth – will get a bit of a facelift. The player can now unlock and level up skills from three different categories: hunter, warrior, and assassin.
Those classes will improve your proficiency and grant you new abilities in areas of archery, hand-to-hand combat, and stealth, respectively. If it’s anything like Assassin’s Creed Origins, you’ll be able to mix and match skills from different trees in order to craft the perfect character tailored to your play style.
Weapons and armor are once again a big part of character development, so much of your progression in the game will come from finding new gear and upgrading it. Each piece of gear will come with random stats, with some of the best gear said to grant you unique abilities and bonuses. You’ll be able to use materials – either found, bought or gathered from hunting animals – to make upgrades and craft unique items.
When you’re done fighting your individual battles, you can check in on the war at large. The aptly-named War System will allow you to see who has the upper hand at any given time. This information is useful not just for the purposes of following the ongoing narrative, but also because you can influence the war through your own decisions and actions. For instance, you can pick up mercenary contracts to help weaken or defend certain regions.
There will be chances to help influence the war in more direct ways, with Odyssey featuring massive battles that can have as many as 300 participants. Large-scale warfare is something we haven’t really seen in an Assassin’s Creed game before so it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of abilities the player can get to excel in them.
Oh, and your trusty bird that you can somehow control and see the world through its eyes is back, so scouting out the area to plan your next move should be light work.
As you can tell by now, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is taking the series to entirely new heights that may just help define the standard for open world video games going forward.
You may not be an actual assassin anymore
We feel it necessary to point out that Assassin’s Creed is no longer strictly an assassin’s game. That is, you’re no longer bound by a strict creed that has you staying your blade from the innocents and other such edicts. This is important because it makes way for nearly everyone in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to be attacked.
You’ll still have targets and you’ll still assassinate them, yes, but you can also just as well go on a murderous killing spree. There are consequences to this, however, such as bounties being placed on your head that will make other mercenaries come to hunt you down.
We’ve also noticed that a hidden assassin’s blade has yet to be shown in any of the trailers and screenshots to date. Ubisoft isn’t making a big deal about these details, likely because the concept of an assassination clique with morals wasn’t really a thing back in the times the game takes place.
Don’t fret, though. You’ll still have plenty of opportunities to stalk and kill specific enemies with the swift thrust of a blade or however it is you prefer to do your killing.
There will be regular content updates
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ubisoft executive director Alain Corre confirmed that Ubisoft plans to support Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with regular content well after its release. In fact, we’re told to expect content on a weekly basis. Corre didn’t get into specifics about what to expect, but we know some of that content will likely be cosmetics that you can buy for your character.
This would imply that microtransactions are coming back. Microtransactions were mostly optional in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Players could unlock most cosmetic outfits and effects through regular play, but the option to pay for it was there for anyone who didn’t have the time to commit to it. This has been a long-standing Ubisoft practice and remains one of the fairest balances we’ve seen for microtransaction policies. There will also likely be limited time missions and your regular rollout of extended story content that will come in at a premium.
Which one will you pre-order?
If you’re sold on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and looking to pre-order, your options are quite plentiful. Pre-sales for the game are already live, and there’s a lot to choose from. Those pre-ordering the standard edition can look to Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, and Ubisoft for the best bonuses.
GameStop will exclusively offer a helmet keychain and access to the Blind King mission.
Ubisoft is also offering the Blind King mission for ordering through them.
Best Buy doesn’t net you the mission, but you do get a $10 rewards certificate to use on almost anything at a Best Buy Store.
Amazon also has no extra bonuses, but will offer the steepest discount to those with Amazon Prime, bringing your total down to $47.99.
Don’t have Amazon Prime? Newegg has a nice $10 discount upfront, too.
And if you’re into avatars, the PlayStation Store’s digital pre-order option isn’t bad as it comes with the Blind King mission, 7 avatars to use on your PlayStation Network profile, and figures to be your only option for preloading the game to play it the moment the clock strikes midnight.
If you want to step up to the $80 Deluxe Edition, you’re in line for a sizable list of digital goods, including two different gear packs, a naval pack, an experience points boost, and a currency boost.
The Gold Edition goes for $100, and with it you’ll get the season pass, exclusive access to the Secrets of Greece mission, a steel book case for those who go for the physical copy, and the ability to play the game three days early, on October 2nd.
The Ultimate Edition is available for $120 and simply combines all the bonuses from the Deluxe and Gold Editions.
These next two are for serious fans. For $150, GameStop is offering a statue of Kassandra outfitted in classic Assassin’s Creed garb with a bird perched on her forearm. This is the Ultimate Edition of the game otherwise.
Last but not least, there are the Spartan and Pantheon Collector’s Editions, both of which are available exclusively through Ubisoft. They cost $160 and $220 respectively and mostly come with the same things. No matter which one you get, you’ll have the Ultimate Edition content, a 64-page artbook, a lithograph created by Hugo Puzzuoli, a soundtrack, and a real map. The difference is in the statues you get.
The $160 Spartan Edition comes with just a single Spartan statue.
And the $220 Pantheon Edition comes with both the Spartan and Athenian statues. These are available exclusively from Ubisoft.
Collect the Statues
Ubisoft is doing something especially fun for this release: there are statues you can collect on an individual basis! There are statues of both main characters.
Kassandra’s comes in at 29cm tall and costs $60.
Alexios is a bit taller at 32cm, but has the same $60 price tag.
Then there’s the $750 behemoth. It’s a 68cm statue of Alexios standing atop Medusa’s head. He’s donning the Hero of Sparta armor and is wielding the same spear featured in the game. The statue is highly detailed, but for its cost this figures to be for the most die-hard (and, perhaps, rich) collectors. There will only be 1,900 of these ever made.
When can you play it?
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launches October 5th, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. As we mentioned above, those willing to pay $100 can get the Gold Edition and play it three days early on October 2nd, 2018. Let us know if you’ll be buying the game, and if so, which version of it you’ll be getting.