Assassin's Creed: Origins is still a few months away from its October 27 release, but that hasn't stopped the hype train from rolling out ahead of time. Joining in on the pre-launch excitement is game director Ashraf Ismail who spoke in detail about the upcoming title's gameplay feel, extensive range of available weaponry, and, perhaps most importantly, its new combat system.
In a Q&A session posted on the Ubisoft US YouTube channel, Ismail dove into specifics about the newest installment in the beloved action-adventure franchise. He began by explaining the combat variations in Assassin's Creed Origins as compared to the rest of the series. "The biggest change to Assassin's Creed [Origins] in terms of combat it's that we've drastically changed the paradigm of 'What is fight?'" Ismail stated. "In previous [Assassin's Creed games], we used what we call technically a parade animation system, which means when you swing your weapon, the hero and the enemy align, they play an animation together, you wait for the animation to finish and then you continue fighting."
The shift, as Ismail detailed, lies in the aforementioned paradigm. Developers utilized what's known as a hitbox system, meaning that any time a player swings their weapon -- no matter the distance, no matter if others are surrounding them -- the motion happens.
As a result, distance, speed of weapons, and positions in fights relative to other enemies become extremely important. As Ismail explained, "If you have a big spear and you're swinging it around, you can hit multiple enemies all at the same time. So all of a sudden, all these parameters of a weapon really matter in the gameplay." The weaponry being used in each fight affects how opponents respond, thus altering how players should plan out their attacks.
Assassin's Creed: Origins hopefuls got a hint of what the title will feature in terms of combat in a recently released gameplay video, but here, Ismail has dished up what seems to be a comprehensive list of weapons available in the game. Ranged weapons in Assassin's Creed: Origins will include the traditional Hunter Bow, the Warrior Bow that shoots off multiple arrows simultaneously (and has adjustable spread), a rapid-fire bow that Ismail describes as "a very fast pistol or an uzi," and the Predator Bow that's perfect for sniping targets.
In terms of melee weapons, there's an even wider range of choices: swords, shields, spears, blunt weapons like heavy maces, bladed weapons like giant axes, and scepters. Players can also fight dual-wielded with two short swords, or go completely bare-handed as they trek through the in-game tombs that are based on real life. Each weapon in Assassin's Creed: Origins comes bundled with a light attack, heavy attack, and combo attacks.
Overall, Ismail explained that the team behind Origins wants "the fight to be able to get very difficult," and for players to truly explore strategy options and battle style to hone their combat skills as the lead hero Bayek. "We wanted the fight to be very dynamic and very spontaneous," he said. "Your skill of understanding the enemies, how they behave, their weapon load-out, your weapon load-out the efficiency of your weapons... we want these things to constantly be running in the player's mind to be an effective fighter in the game."
Assassin's Creed: Origins was already the most-talked about game at E3 2017, and is one of our most anticipated titles of the year. But now that these combat and weaponry details have come to light, it's safe to say the buzz surrounding Origins will only get stronger as its launch date approaches.
Assassin's Creed: Origins releases on October 27, 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.