Since the release of the original Assassin's Creed way back in 2007, the franchise has become something of a mainstay in the gaming industry with its near yearly releases. The only noticeable exceptions being the two-year wait for Assassin's Creed 2 and the more recent break that was filled by the Assassin's Creed movie. While the franchise has been largely successful, there were concerns for its future following the messy release of Assassin's Creed: Unity and the commercial underperformance of Syndicate. However, following the official reveal at E3 2017, the hype for Assassin's Creed: Origins has steadily been increasing. With the game's release on October 27, it feels like it's time to take stock of what we now know about the latest instalment of the Assassin's Creed franchise.

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The Setting

This news was leaked a long time before the game was even officially announced. Rumours that the franchise would next be taking us to Ancient Egypt had been rife since the release of Syndicate. There was little surprise among fans when this news was officially announced, but there was a great deal of excitement among players. With the setting confirmed, it led to two new questions: What's the story, and how are we going to play in Ancient Egypt?

The Story

Despite #Ubisoft's reputation for being a loose ship when it comes to leaks, details of the story have remained slim - and understandably so. As the game title suggests, this game takes us through the birth of the Brotherhood. Players will control a new assassin, Bayek, which has been par for the course since the Ezio trilogy.

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In an interview with Eurogamer, Creative Director Ashraf Ismail describes Bayek as 'a kind of sheriff' with a 'highly reactive' personality.

So that's Bayek, but what about the story?

The story takes place in 49BC, which history nuts among you will know marks the beginning of the end of Ancient Egypt. The main bulk of the story takes place during Cleopatra's ascent to the throne and the takedown of Ptolemy XIII. The game predates both the Brotherhood and the Templars, with the ominously names Order of the Ancients taking the place of the latter. We know there's a mystery to be solved and that Julius Caesar will be making an appearance. The map legends released during the demo indicate that the Juno storyline will be expanded on in some way. The modern story is also set to be expanded on in this game, but at this time, no information has been released on this thread of the story. There are rumours abound that this is the start of a new trilogy within the franchise that will later move to Ancient Rome and Greece, although it's probably best not to place too much stock on these rumours as Ubisoft are remaining tight-lipped on the future of the franchise.

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Gameplay

With each new era in history, there are new technologies which the developers have to account for in gameplay. Each game has made minor changes to the gameplay, with varying degrees of success, from new technologies to new abilities for our assassins. Assassin's Creed 2 allowed us to be able to swim in game, instead of drowning. More recently, Syndicate introduced a grappling hook to allow Evie and Jacob to navigate London quicker, and get away from the policemen - mostly the latter. Developers also gave Evie the ability to turn invisible. So, how has gameplay changed this time around?

Perhaps the biggest change to gameplay is the introduction of a difficulty setting. Previous games have had a fixed difficulty level, but this time around, Ismail decided to introduce a flexible difficulty rating, saying "What we felt was, by going deeper into the gameplay challenge of the game, we're feeding one part of the audience but not others. So it was a natural step for us". The difficulty can be adjusted during the game so no more getting stuck on boss battles.

Another new element is the introduction of Senu, Bayek's eagle who appeared in the E3 trailer. It's not much of a leap to make to infer that she is the origin of the assassin's Eagle Eye ability, but she is utilised slightly differently. Players can fly Senu as far as they please to scout out locations in the new open world map or just take a flight of fancy. There's also been a complete overhaul of the AI system, with NPC behaviour reacting to the environment and the actions of the player, and of the combat and stealth systems.

If the demo reviews are anything to go by, these changes are definitely for the better.

Assassin's Creed: Origins will be released October 27, 2017, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC

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