Assassins’s Creed Origins is the latest entry in the huge series of historical scifi games from Ubisoft studios. Since the game’s release this past October, press have praised the game for its portrayal of Egypt, improved combat and exploration mechanics, and its quest design. I agree with all of this, and think Origins is an above-average game, even for a company as large as Ubisoft. What really makes the game great however, is that its main character Bayek has a social life.
Almost all of the Assassin’s Creed games tell the story of the faction warfare existing between the good (assassins) and the bad (templars.) So of course Origins, a game set before the point in the lore when everyone was at each other’s throats, would rely less on tropes about the main characters being brainwashed by those who came before them. To oversimplify things, before Bayek was a master assassin he was similar to a sheriff in Old Western movies, keeping the peace in and around his village as a guard appointed by the pharoah.
As we play the game, we learn that Bayek has friends and acquaintances scattered all throughout Egypt. Every old acquaintance is introduced differently, anywhere from a hearty “Hey ol’ buddy” to a respectful “Oh man… Not this guy again.” At one point we meet one of Bayek’s old rivals from his childhood, a man who tried to win over Bayek’s love before they were together. The reason this feels special in Origins, is when in comparison to previous AC games where we always got the impression that their protagonists lives before assassinating didn’t matter. By seeing the impact Bayek’s previous and current actions leave on Egypt, we really get a sense that Assassins Creed Origins is a world people lived in