Assassin’s Creed Origins Reinvents Combat From Scratch

  • Playstation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Open World
Assassin's Creed Origins' gameplay.
Assassin's Creed Origins' gameplay. (c) Ubisoft

In an interview with Player.One, Assassin’s Creed Origins Creative Director and Franchise Brand Manager Jean Guesdon discussed the redesigned combat system coming to ancient Egypt.

The Origins team sees combat as one of the defining pillars of the game, along with narrative and open world. “We wanted to refresh the franchise, to make it more dynamic, more fluid and more reactive,” said Guesdon. “We are super proud about the combat because we really made it from scratch.”

Adding depth and dynamism to combat was critical, especially because of the size of the world. In order to keep players interested in exploring ancient Egypt, the team built in “a lot of different challenges that will require you to progress.” That meant creating a robust combat system capable of keeping players hooked for long stretches of time.

The team added depth by adding literally hundreds of weapons across several categories, from maces to spears and axes to longbows. Long-range combat blends with melee combat to enable players to choose their own style. Weapons have specific stats and attributes to give players an edge in a variety of situations and encourage experimentation. Players can swap between bows and melee weapons on the fly to adapt to each particular encounter.

“We wanted all this first, to give you the opportunity to play the way you want, and second, to sustain and support big challenges. We have endgame content that is very hard, and you will need to level up,” Guesdon explained.

The team also reworked the AI was, so players will encounter a “variety of archetypes that behave differently,” from a simple soldier armed with a mere short sword to the bounty hunter unique boss type that roams the world. “This huge variety of behavior, stats, make the combat very varied and, I think, well suited for a lot of different type of players,” said Guesdon.

Keeping the revamped combat system accessible to newcomers while maintaining complexity and nuance for more experienced gamers was a considerable challenge. “The gameplay experience is properly tutorialized within the game so that we make sure the combat is more challenging and has way more depth, it’s way more versatile so you can express yourself. But at the same time, it's not uber-hardcore, it remains very accessible,” said Guesdon.

Previous Assassin’s Creed games established a stark distinction between the free-roam exploration state and the combat state. “Even the controls were different,” said Guesdon. “It's not the case anymore. This is why I think also it's more accessible. The controls are unified across the board. You're in combat, you're not in combat, controls are the exact same thing.”

Players also have access to an ability graph separating abilities into three distinct, but interlinked trees: Fighter, Hunter and Seer. Fighter abilities enhance melee combat, Hunter abilities enhance long-range combat and Seer abilities help you manipulate the world. But choosing to invest more heavily in one tree does not lock you out of another.

“We didn't want you to corner yourself in one direction,” said Guesdon. “This was important because we know that especially in an open world, especially with a game with which we wanted to bring freedom to the player so that they can express themselves, it was important to sustain different types of playstyles.”

Guesdon’s favorite ability, in the Fighter tree, allows players to start all conflict with a full adrenaline gauge. “When they see me, BAM! I'm filled already, so my first move can be the critical attack. This I like, because sometimes it's just one guy fighting you, you don't want to aggro the entire camp, but all of a sudden already from the start you have the ability to press the two triggers and BAM! End of the discussion,” he said with a laugh.

Other abilities, such as the ability to guide the Predator arrow from the Hunter tree, help open up a new range of possibilities for innovative playstyles.

Assassin's Creed Origins is due for an Oct. 27 release date on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. What’s your playstyle like? How do you feel about the changes to combat in Origins? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Assassin's Creed Origins
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Assassin’s Creed Origins is a much-needed reboot for the franchise. Its massive areas to explore not only look better than ever, but will keep you entertained for for a long time.
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