Assassin’s Creed Origins becomes edutainment Feb 20th

Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour

On top of being a broadly pleasant surprise and a very strong return to form for Ubisoft’s open-world murder-sandbox series, one of the key selling points of Assassin’s Creed Oranges for me was a promised feature that wasn’t quite ready in time for launch.

Ubisoft are finally making good on their plans next week. On February 20th, the Discovery Tour mode will be arriving as a free upgrade for existing players (or as a $20 standalone product), converting the violent saga into a serious educational product featuring 75 narrated and guided tours through ancient Egypt.

As covered in extensive detail in this official Q&A, it seems that the Origins development team took the historical accuracy of their game very seriously, even if they do use it as a backdrop onto which to hang some less serious sci-fi and fantasy gubbins. Discovery Tour mode strips away conflict, leaving you free to explore and climb as you would normally, but without the threat of being stabbed by guards or mauled by local wildlife. You can even pick from 25 different avatars, some of which will elicit different reactions from NPCs. The developers suggest playing as Cleopatra or Julius Caesar for some amusing results.

The tours will appear as 75 quest-like markers scattered around the game world, free for you to fast-travel to if you don’t feel like taking the scenic route. Activating a tour marker will give you a screen informing you of the estimated length of the tour and the number of stops you’ll be making along the way, and then you’ll wander off, following a breadcrumb trail. You’ll be stopping at various points in the path to have the camera taken over, and each point of interest explained by a pair of narrators in your chosen language.

Some of your stops around these tours will be accompanied by historical documents, paintings, artifacts or other items of interest taken from museums, allowing you to compare – for example – how the famous painting Bonaparte Before The Sphinx compares to the famed monument as portrayed in the game. Most tours also contain a Behind The Scenes stop, where the developers explain why they made certain decisions when the truth of the situation is unknown, explaining their reasoning behind the placement of monuments, what sources they drew from and their creative process in general.

While adapted to be a little more snappy by the Assassin’s Creed writers, the tours themselves were written by a team of historians. While likely no substitute for proper deep-dive reference material, it seems like a good place for those with an interest in the region and period to learn a little more than how to get from A to B in order to stab C in the face.

And if you have absolutely no interest in wandering around Egypt to learn its real history, the upcoming second expansion for the game, The Curse of the Pharaohs may be just what you need. Due out in March, it promises to give the game a significantly more mythological slant, putting you up against a bestiary of monsters picked from Egyptian myth and legend, if the current god-slaying event quests aren’t quite enough to tickle your fancy.

15 Comments

  1. TheRaptorFence says:

    As a social studies teacher who uses virtual reality and learning in the classroom, I am super pumped for this.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I’m surprised and happy that they’re offering a tourism-only version of the game for budget price. Hopefully there’s some kind of bulk discount option for schools as well, although given how demanding the game is on hardware, most school PCs would just explode trying to run it.

      • TheRaptorFence says:

        I’m lucky enough to have a school board who loves using technology and has invested in VR. Also, this might be a good occasion for GeForce Now, although most schools will have shoddy internet connections on par with their computers.

        At the very least, students can learn their Ptolemaic history via gaming from home. I don’t know how many tests I aced as a kid due to Creative Assembly and Paradox Interactive pumping out historical titles. Any time a developer supports this sort of learning, I’m game.

        • Blastaz says:

          I taught someone enough Central European reformation history for them to pass an Oxford prelims paper purely off the back of Europa Universalis II. I also answered a question in the European Parliament on it.

          Not sure CA or PI ever quite reached the same level of esoterica since!

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Very much looking forward to this, I hope they have the foresight to include a first person perspective.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I love this so much. I kinda hope the standalone version is so unexpectedly successful that they go back and create this mode for all the previous games. Integrating it into the actual games might be too much to ask but doing a standalone thing with the original environments would be quite something…

    • Zorgulon says:

      This looks good, but I’m slightly disappointed to hear the rather robotic-sounding narration style.

      Come on guys, you’ve gone to so much effort to bring life to Ptolemaic Egypt, a little life in the historical guides wouldn’t go amiss.

  4. foszae says:

    I’d consider buying the standalone tour for my parents, but i suspect uPlay would end up driving them just apeshit before they could even get into it.

  5. Meat Circus says:

    The RPS mysterious AssOranges uncritical puff piece clock reaches 2000.

    Eurogamer have been doing it too, so I guess the order to shamelessly ramp such a profoundly mediocre game has come from higher up the corporate ladder?

  6. Carra says:

    Finished the game a month ago, time for other games.

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