The game is set in 431 BC, the furthest back a game in the series has been set so far. It takes place during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Ubisoft describes it as a founding period for art, science and politics, and calls it the birth of Western Civilisation. Socrates is your buddy, and will set you side quests, and you can even argue with him.
It retains the vast open worlds Assassin’s Creed has become known for, but populates it with numerous quests, side quests, and what amount to minigame subsystems providing distractions from the main quest. Much of the groundwork for this was laid by last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which itself pushed things like progression systems more towards the RPG end of the spectrum, but it’s clear Odyssey takes things a step further.
Set in ancient Greece, you play as either Alexios or Kassandra, choosing one of the two protagonists at the start of the game and following their life. There’s no difference in terms of skills, so it’s purely a matter of preference. Both are fully and uniquely voiced, and the basic set-up of the story doesn’t change – either way, you’re a child of Sparta and descendant of Leonidas I, who is cast out but grows up into a mercenary.
There’s now a much stronger emphasis on the storyline and interacting with characters in the world, which often creates other branching vignettes.
Choices matter now, too. For instance, a conversation with philosopher Sokrates – Ubisoft has gone with the more accurate ‘K’ spellings of names we’d render in English with a ‘C’ – leads to a side quest where you can free or kill a captured thief. Your decision either way can come back to haunt you and, like The Witcher III, there are often no clearly right or wrong options. Other conversations can foster romances, including same sex ones, which can impact characters’ lives and the world around you.
It is due to be released in October 5th this year on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.