From a publisher as huge as Ubisoft, and in a series as chart-dominating as Assassin’s Creed’s Discovery Tour represents an unusual and welcome ambition. The mode, available as free DLC for Assassin’s Creed Origins or as a standalone game, strips out all the combat, levelling-up and collectibles in favour of a promised educational experience. It takes the strongest facet of Origins – its detailed and enormous depiction of Ancient Egypt – and adapts it into something almost entirely new.
Ubisoft isn’t alone in remixing its games in this way, however. The Discovery mode for Origins follows in the squelchy footsteps of Frictional’s Soma, which added a ‘Safe Mode’ last December that removes any mechanical threat from its monsters. Traditionally, the concept of ‘games’ has been closely tied with that of ‘challenge’, but these modes sidestep that. And in doing so, they remove a barrier to entry for less experienced players who want to explore their worlds. Even if the execution doesn’t necessarily match the idea, this is a good thing.