Assassin's Creed Odyssey wants you to soak up the sights in its new Exploration Mode
It's not an Odyssey unless you go off course
As mindbogglingly huge as Assassin's Creed Origins was, it never felt possible to get lost in its sprawling Egyptian landscapes. For Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Ubisoft want you to get a little bit lost. Spotted by Eurogamer during a hands-on preview, Exploration Mode is a new option described in-game as "the way Assassin's Creed Odyssey is meant to be experienced". Rather than hold your hand as you explore ancient Greece, this new mode removes quest and navigation markers, forcing you to listen to and follow directions instead. Also below; a fancy new trailer.
While a Guided Mode still exists in Odyssey (more in line with the rest of the series), Exploration sounds like a fun addition considering how explorable recent AC games have been. Rather than give you a compass heading, you're provided a list of geographical hints to pinpoint your goal. As with Origins you can scout from a massive height with your psychic eagle, and tag possible destinations based on the info given. It sounds a bit like navigating via Zelda: Breath Of The Wild's mapping towers, although a tad less self-guided - this is still a mission-based game.
It sounds like there's going to be a lot of exploring to be done, too. Ubisoft have bragged that Odyssey will be significantly longer than Origins, which in itself was the largest game in the series by far. They've also got plans for at least one full year of post-launch content and support for the game, undoubtedly adding new landscapes to get lost in, and new locations to fill out your existing map. So confident in Odyssey are Ubisoft that they've announced that nothing else in the AC series will be appearing in 2019.
Assassin's Creed's mutation from a relatively constrained stealthy action game into a massive open world action RPG (with stealthy bits) has been fascinating. It's also rare for a studio to be so confident in their environment design that they're actively encouraging players to wander off the beaten path, but I must admit that I'm eager to explore those vast and scenic landscapes for myself. Once I've finished Origins's undead-blatting, afterlife-exploring expansion, that is.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is only a couple weeks away, and launching on October 5th for £50/€60/$60 on Steam, Humble and Ubisoft’s own store. The Gold edition (with season pass) weighs in at £84/€100/$100.