There’s currently a big rumour circling around the internet, all to do with the much anticipated new Assassin’s Creed title hopefully launching this year. The title, which is rumoured to be named Assassin’s Creed: Origins, is set to be a prequel and set in Egypt – if a supposed leaked screenshot is anything to go on anyway (see below). According to Eurogamer’s sources, the leaked materials for the game are true. I’m getting excited about a new Assassin’s Creed title all over again; the first time since Black Flag.
This image supposedly shows our new protagonist sailing a small vessel, equipped with a bow and arrow and a shield on his back. As per the Eurogamer report, “the image also reveals the “Assassinate the Crocodile” mission, and includes the following text: “Follow Shadya to Khenut’s villa.” Khenut was a Queen of Egypt and the wife of King Unas who lived during the time of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt”. The screenshot certainly looks convincing enough to me and is more than enough to start me thinking about what direction I’d like to see the game head in.
Assassin’s Creed has become stale time and time again. The first game was too repetitive, so Ubisoft shook things up more with its sequel – a template that stuck around until Revelations. Assassin’s Creed III shook things up a little again, with the introduction of a very large map, hunting and naval battles. Black Flag took this concept and rolled with it in the series’ largest outing to date, which saw you take control of a pirate ship and sail the high seas surrounding the Carribean nations. Rogue stuck too closely to this successful formula. Then Unity and Syndicate reduced the exploration aspect to just one city – Paris and London respectively. There hasn’t been a new mainline entry since Syndicate, back in 2015. While I can count the number of Assassin’s Creed titles I’ve played on one hand, I believe that a return to the style of gameplay seen in Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag and Rogue would be best.
First things first however, we don’t need any modern nonsense. Assassin’s Creed is at its best when you are exploring the awesomely detailed worlds of the past. With Origins, I want to be able to explore big, sprawling areas of Egypt without any ties to the present day or near future. I want to scale the pyramids, assassinate slave drivers and hunt animals at my own pace, with no stupid distractions like “you need to walk around this office area to find audiotapes”. Enough. Leave the modern crap to Watch Dogs. In Black Flag, we were given the freedom to explore vast environments. It allowed for great feelings of discovery even if most of the small islands you found were uninhabited with nothing but one or two trees on them.
The Assassin’s Creed template for exploration and danger with animal hunts has since been aped by the fantastic Tomb Raider reboot games. I’d love for the series to come back to it. I was never that bothered by Unity or Syndicate because they seemed to compact compared to the brilliance of Black Flag’s large, fully explorable map. While a more compact map would help for a more concise and easier to follow plot, I think the scope and scale of Assassin’s Creed is better played across a large, more open environment. If Origins gave us an Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag style Egypt to explore then it could be something truly exceptional.