A shift that needed to happen.
In a recent interview with Twinfinite, Assassin’s Creed Origins’ game director, Ashraf Ismail, spoke at length about the development team’s efforts to modernize and rejuvenate the now nearly decade old series. The biggest and most obvious change that returning fans will notice in AC Origins is the gameplay shift to something that resembles an action role-playing game (ARPG). We asked about that, and Ismail spent a lot of time explaining the reasoning behind this genre switch, and its impact on classic AC elements. You can read our full Q&A with Ismail here.
Most notably, Ismail hammered home the point that the shift was necessary and needed in AC Origins. Over the years, some fans (and non-fans) have complained about the frequency of the Assassin’s Creed games. Since the games started coming out more often, the quality of them have varied quite a bit. Some such as AC4: Black Flag (which Ismail also worked on), have been praised. While reception to others such as AC3 and Unity have been been mixed.
Ismail is passionate about AC Origins being an entry point for newcomers to get into the series, and it also being something that will feel fresh and fun to returning fans:
“Right now we’ve been working on this series for four years and really focused on this AC, and shipping this AC, and it’s almost there. We’ll see what the future holds but most definitely this is not a barometer check. This is not an attempt to see will this work or not. No, we assumed this path and yes we’ve gone to a much more action RPG philosophy, and for me as the game director and the guy who has been working in the series for two games now, this is a natural progression for us. This needed to happen. We needed to modernize AC to bring something fresh and new to our fans.
And every game needs to do that, to ask themselves: how can we bring a new experience to our players? But for me, most definitely the action RPG element of the game is a natural step for AC to go, and we should keep that going going forward.” said Ismail.
Specifically, what can players expect with this genre switch in AC Origins? Ismail also had this to say later on in the same interview when asked about the reasoning behind the change in the game’s combat:
“Combat is one of the core pillars of AC. So, we wanted it to change. We wanted to fundamentally go back, and ask some deeper level questions. So the first thought was, it’s always been a paired animation system, so we wanted to go to a hitbox based system, to challenge us to drastically change that experience because we wanted more gameplay challenge.
Our intention was, we want boss fights, we want a ton of boss fights. So these questions, these intentions, are what got us to the system that we have. It’s our goal that we build a system that asks for a lot more gameplay thinking, depth, and that has a longer shelf life. That was one thing that was very important to us, that if you’re playing 40, 50, 60, hours of this game, the game is proposing to you new challenges, but also new abilities, little intricacies in the weapons that change the way you think about the fight.
So, it’s for gameplay depth, to support the RPG elements, to have boss fights. So these are the reasons. For sure, in terms of the behavior of the character, it’s a lot more credible, being able to swing your weapon and miss an opponent. That the distance, the length and the speed of the weapon, the position of the enemies, their load out – do they have shields or not – that all of these are questions that matter to the player and that you have to think about micro-detailed level and deal with that. That was important to us.”
To read Ismail’s full comments via the complete Q&A, check out our interview with him here. AC Origins will release on Oct. 27 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.