Assassin’s Creed Origins Discovery Tour: History Without Blood & Gore

Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour

Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed : Ancient Egypt is a creative interactive experience that strips Assassin’s Creed Origins of the combat system in order to be used as an education tool in classrooms. It aims to enhance learning, while also keeping lore nerds happy by adding behind-the-scenes Assassin’s Creed Origins scenes in the tours.

Jean Guesdon, creative director of Assassin's Creed Origin s, worked on the Discovery Tour project. His team put in close to five years of research and fact-checking for Assassin's Creed Origins  to make it both massive and incredibly detailed. This precise historical background is what makes it ideal for the Discovery Tour.

“History is the core of the franchise,” Guesdon told Player.One. “Starting in AC2 back in 2008-09 we thought such a mode would be interesting. For many different reasons we couldn't afford it so it morphed into the [current] game encyclopedia. This year for the tenth anniversary, with this amazing setting and this extra year of production, we said ‘You know what? This is the time. This is the moment.’”

One of the biggest challenges with the Discovery Tour was making the historical content digestible. When developers first started working on the project tours were as long as an hour, which isn’t feasible in a classroom setting. Guesdon, along with volunteer Ubisoft developers, artists and researchers, kept tailoring the content to create 75 “tours” lasting anywhere between 3-20 minutes. And each tour is unique and interesting.

Player.One had the opportunity to experience some of the tours during an NYC preview event. One tour teaches players why beer and bread were Ancient Egyptian staples. It's full of fun facts, like how Ancient Egyptians suffered from toothaches because of sand getting into their bread. The sand would destroy their teeth over time, and it’s a detail Ubisoft developers kept in mind when creating Assassin’s Creed Origins as you’ll see some of the NPCs holding their jaws in pain. The tour explained that Ancient Egyptians also loved a good craft brew and had festivals dedicated to getting drunk. And there wasn’t any wine around; that was a Roman delight.

"We [incorporated details] that were really important to portray as accurately as possible,” Guesdon said. “Yes, the Pyramids, Cleopatra, and Alexandria, but not limiting [ourselves to that]. We wanted the bring life to the people so all the stations that you see in the game come from documentation. We came up with the ideas to tell stories and give details about all the things we learned creating this game.”

Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour
Players can interact with items when white circles appear before them. Photo: Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour
Players don't have to stay on the tours. All the Assassin's Creed Origins viewpoints are unlocked for fast travel. Photo: Ubisoft

Players aren’t limited to the tours in the Discovery Tour. It was important to Guesdan and his team that you can still explore the entire world. All the fast travel points are unlocked and so are the characters. You can play as an Egyptian child to Cleopatra herself. And if there’s something not historically accurate, Guesdon’s team calls themselves out. For example, there was a room in the the Egyptian temples only religious figures were allowed in to worship and pray. A “behind-the-scenes” marker will pop up to explain the decisions behind the creative liberties.

"It's awesome content you can use in a much easier way,” Guesdon said. “There's no risk of violence, combat or narrative. It just a tool for you to learn about [history]. With these discussions we understood, for example, tours shouldn't be longer than 20 minutes if they want to use it in schools. One thing I told my team was, in my dreams, a teacher who's not reluctant to video games would not hesitate to bring his console to the classroom and tell his students, 'You know what, you're in charge of bringing us information about mummification. You're in charge of teaching us about the pyramids. Now do the tours and come back with the information.' You can use the interactive medium to transmit knowledge."

Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed : Ancient Egypt will be a free DLC update for players who purchased the game, available on Feb. 20. The standalone price for Discovery Tour is $19.99 and will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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