From Origins to Odyssey:
By Colum Blackett
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Could Assassin's Creed be heading to Greece?
We are now less than a month away from E3 2018, and several rumours are stating that the next Assassin's Creed game will be set in Ancient Greece, this game is rumoured to be titled Odyssey.
This means that the game is likely to act as a sequel to AC Origins, potentially confirming initial rumours which revealed that Ubisoft were working on an ancient trillogy (Egypt, Greece, Rome).
Although nothing official has been revealed about the game, we can assume that it will have similarities to Origins. Here are my thoughts on the potential features that should be included in a Greek Assassin's Creed game. (In no particular order)
An Established Brotherhood
One of the big problems with Assassin's Creed Origins was 'The Hidden Ones' faction, a proto-Assassin order with no clear tenets or goals other than stopping the order than stopping the Order of Ancients and protecting the innocent. Other than the ambiguous drives and goals of the group, other than Bayek and Aya, are quite simply not memorable. As I'm writing this, I can only actually think of a couple (Taharka's son Phanos and Tahira). One of the reasons for this could be because The Hidden Ones act individually, and are rarely seen together in the same location. Many of the interactions between The Hidden Ones are done via messages sent between bureaus. This is unusual for an Assassin's Creed game, and make it difficult to understand each member's role within the group. For example, in the Ezio games, we would be present at Assassin meetings, and would hear everyone's thoughts on missions and strategies. For AC Odyssey, it would be clearer for the audience to understand the drives and motives of the group if we were able to see them interacting together (as was the case in Origins). An established brotherhood, with a clear plan and philosophy is definitely needed in the next game.
- Eagle Vision Explained
Assassin's Creed Origins introduced a new ability to the franchise that allowed for Bayek to see through the eyes of his pet eagle, Senu. This was extremely useful for the player, with Senu acting as a personal drone with the ability to attack, distract and tag enemies from above.
Bayek is not the first character in the franchise to have control over animals. In Assassin's Creed Reflections #4, Connor's daughter Io:nhiòte is shown to possess a very similar ability, somehow connecting with an eagle in order to send a message to her father. This very rare form of eagle vision could be down to precursor DNA, but no lore explanation was given in AC Origins.
In Assassin's Creed Odyssey, it would be useful for the main character to have both forms of Eagle Vision. Animus Pulse made sense, but was a weak version in comparison. In order to learn both versions of the ability, the main character will surely have to develop their senses. For this to happen, a valid lore explanation is needed for this rare form of eagle vision which has now appeared twice.
It's possible that a lore explanation was cut from Assassin's Creed Origins, but the next game should really explain the ability.
Return of Bayek and Aya
Bayek is arguably one of the best characters we have seen in the franchise for a long time, and deserves to be in another game. Whilst it is unlikely Bayek will be the main character in the next game, as it's been a while since Ubisoft took this approach with the franchise (Ezio games), it would certainly be interesting to see Bayek return as a side character. An older Bayek would be a great mentor to the next generation of Hidden Ones.
Furthermore, Aya/Amunet was also a strong character in Origins, showing real strength and conviction during missions. Her transformation from Aya to Amunet left her as a shell of her former self, embodying a cold and calculating proto-Assassin. Although Aya's character thoroughly changed, traces of her old self could still be seen when interacting with Bayek,showing that she still cares about him. If an Assassin's Creed game were to take place in Greece, we could potentially see Aya develop even further as a person, and watch the final process of her transformation. It would also be interesting to see the conclusion of the marriage between Aya and Bayek. Will they, or wont they get back together? Either way, there's more story left to be told for these two.
Explore the relationship between Aya & Khemu
One thing that was noticable in Assassin's Creed Origins was the representation of grief. It's true that everyone experiences grief in different ways, but the game showed Bayek as a man dealing with real internal struggle over his son's death, whilst Aya focussed solely on getting revenge, and therefore we never see her taking the time to properly grieve.
We hear that Aya was unable to accept the loss of her son, so she moves back to Alexandria, whilst Bayek dedicates his time to Egypt as a Medjay. Bayek was the only one present at the event, a horrific moment that changed his life forever. Whilst we see Bayek's interactions with Khemu during flashbacks, dreams and missions, the relationship between Aya and her son is scarcely featured. As the death of Khemu was an event that acted as a drive for both Aya and Bayek, it's something that would be interesting to see in a sequel. For every star gazing puzzle solved by Bayek and Khemu, there was surely a mother-son moment that was neglected from the game. These could be valuable interactions that Aya remembers fondly and could allow us to better understand her character and what motivates her as a member of The Hidden Ones.
Participation in Historical Events
Although Bayek and Aya participated in the political side of Ancient Egypt's history, it's fair to say that they didn't participate in actual documented historical events such as war etc. Once again, this was a new move for the franchise, with several previous instalments feeling unrealistic due to too much participation. (AC3: Connor was basically one of the sons of liberty. Unity: Templars cause the French Revolution conditions).
I personally think that documented historical events should take place in all AC games, as long as the Assassin/Templar conflict remains secret. A great example of this is the Siege of Viana in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, where the historical event is the backdrop to the conflict between Cesare Borgia and Ezio.
Although we did learn a lot about Ancient Egypt in AC Origins, and the political struggle between the Ptolemys, it was lacking in historical events. The Order of Ancients was a great addition to the franchise, but their goals and motives are nearly as ambiguous as the Hidden One's. In an Ancient Greek Assassin's Creed game, it would be interesting to see more documented historical events, outside of politics. However, it is important for Ubisoft to get the balance right for this to work or the game will feel too fictional.
- An example of this would be the Olympic Games, which originated in Ancient Greece. Maybe the Order of Ancients used the event as a backdrop for a planned assassination of an Emperor?
"Assassins are meant to be quiet. Precise. We do not go announcing conspiracies from the rooftops to all who pass by." (Achilles Davenport)
Modern Day Progress
Assassin's Creed Origins was the first game since AC3 that allowed players to control a third person protagonist. Ever since the death of Desmond, fans have been tormented with an inconsistent modern day experience, ranging from nameless first person characters, to limited cutscenes. Readers of the Assassin's Creed Uprising Comics have been following the return of Juno, a storyline that should have taken place in the games.
Layla's story was standalone. New fans to the franchise could pick up the game without needing to understand the previously established lore or events. Although Layla was a new character, Ubisoft did a great job in making her seem like she'd been a part of the world for a while. This was done through Email interactions with Sofia Rikkin (AC Movie) and diagolue. It was discovered that Layla was the one who came up with the ideas for the Movie Animus.
The Modern Day storyline in Origins shows Layla defying Abstergo, a mistake that ultimately sees her terminated by the company. This leads to Abstergo sending Sigma Team agents to put an end to her unapproved Animus sessions. With the help of the bleeding effect, and an ancient hidden blade, she kills the agents and returns to her portable Animus.
Whilst reliving the memories of Bayek, she is interrupted by William Miles, leader of the Assassin Brotherhood. She was then invited to join the Assassins in Alexandria, where she would be able to work on the Animus Project without the rules and regulations enforced by Abstergo.
The next game has to show significant modern day storyline progress in order for it to remain relevant. Layla should have training in order to become an Assassin. Hopefully, William is taking her to an Assassin HQ, where she can meet other members of the brotherhood. This is the perfect opportunity for Ubisoft to finally make the Modern Day in the games worthwhile again, revisiting the conflict between the Modern Day Assassins and Templars. If the conflict looks anything like the comics, then we could be in for a treat!
Hopefully, Ubisoft have been listening to fans, and deliver a unique and interesting modern day experience
Juno needs to start doing things
Following on from the last point, Juno needs to either become a threat to the Assassins and Templars, or be removed from the franchise. I personally think that Ubisoft are going with point A, likely removing her in the comics. This is such a shame for the franchise, but incase I'm wrong, and Juno does survive Assassin's Creed Uprising #12, then she needs to finally start doing things that affect the real world. In the comics, her Instruments of the First Will are brutal, kidnapping the son of Desmond's Miles, and beheading people.
It's only a matter of time before Juno has a body again, so it would be great to see her walk amongst her followers (Not in a comic book though), and wreak havock upon the world. As much as i've enjoyed the AC Uprising comics, this storyline is way too big to be shoved in to print, and should have been in the games or another format such as an animated movie.
In Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Juno needs to start causing damage to the world, and work towards enslaving mankind. Assassins & Templars are already teaming up to work against her (comics), so the next game would be the perfect moment to show a full scale war between the factions.
Fingers crossed this storyline isn't completely resolved in comics
Return of the inventor
Assassin's Creed Origins was lacking someone who could modify and equip the brotherhood with new weaponary and tools. AC2/ACB had Leonardo Da Vinci, a good friend of Ezio Auditore who crafted may useful upgrades and enhancements for the Assassin. AC Syndicate had Alexander Graham Bell, who equipped the Assassins with Rope Launchers, Voltaic Bombs and other useful gadgets.
It would be extremely useful for someone to return in Assassin's Creed Odyssey who could fill the role of inventor. Bayek had a decent range of tools and weapons, but it's always nice to have more. Throwable smoke bombs for example, rather than just dropping them during conflict. Speaking of bombs, Ezio could also speak to Piri Reis in Revelations, who would help him craft and create a range of combinations.
Inventors are extremely useful for the brotherhood, and make the weaponry of an Assassin even deadlier. Perhaps a Greek philosopher can help The Hidden Ones with their arsenal?
Possibility of seeing the original Olympic games. Could we see missions set in this content?
Possibility of seeing more Pieces of Eden (Not just Apples)
- New Animus Model
It's always cool to see the latest technology available from Abstergo, but it's been a long time since we saw an Assassin Animus. As William said in Origins, Layla is free to work on their version of the Animus Project for them. It would be great to see another variation of the Animus in Odyssey, possibly something involving water cooling or motion sensors this time. We've seen some interesting variations, but hopefully Layla gets to experience something a little bit more interesting than the Sarcophagus HR-8 Model.
Rebecca Crane has surely been working on something special for the Brotherhood.
Hopefully we get to see it in the next game!
A few other things worth mentioning
Ancient Greek Weaponry: Different style to what we saw in Origins
Return of Shaun and Rebecca
Thanks for reading Assassins!
I hope that you enjoyed this article.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Are you hoping for an AC Game set in Ancient Greece?
Do any of the points mentioned here interest you?
Are you excited for E3 2018?