Entering a pyramid in Assassin's Creed: Origins

While the Assassin's Creed series has become known for its high-flying acrobatics and violence, an update to the upcoming Origins will trade swords for education. Who wants to hunt down shady Egyptian aristocrats when you could be learning instead?

Ubisoft made a pretty surprising announcement this week, explaining that Assassin's Creed Origins will receive a free update next year called "Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt." This leads us to wonder if similar features will be coming to other, or future, Assassin's Creed games but, rather than speculate on that, let's dive into what the mode actually is.

In short, the mode will do away with all of the running, jumping and stabbing that typically beats at the heart of the Assassin's Creed games. In this mode, you'll be able to explore the game's world and learn about Egypt's actual history from "guided tours," doing away with missions, combat and time limits. Instead, you'll just be able to cruise around at a leisurely pace, taking in the sites.

The update isn't due to hit Origins until 2018 but, when it arrives, it will offer a lot more than just a "no combat" mode. You'll be able to visit places like Alexandria, Memphis, the Nile Delta, the Great Sand Sea, the Giza plateau and the Faiyum Oasis, immersing you in the history and culture of Egypt through tours that have been curated by historians and Egyptologists. These tours will focus on various different aspects of Ptolemaic Egypt, with topics including things like the Great Pyramids, the life of Cleopatra and the practice of mummification.

We're still not sure on what form these tours will take, as they aren't really detailed in the press release. It could take the form of a narrated information segment, or you might be able to go from key location to key location and read about the region. Either way, we think this is a fantastic idea and, the more we think about it, we kind of wish it had been included in the series since the beginning.

We never thought the Assassin's Creed series would move into the realm of edutainment, but here we are. If you think about it, the developers have to basically become experts on the locations, time periods, way of life, and more, for each of these games. A lot of that information makes it into the games -- from design elements to characters you meet and events that happen in the campaign -- so a mode that just puts all of those details front and center seems like a perfectly natural fit.

If the Assassin's Creed series has ever made you want to do a little diving into actual history, it sounds like Origins will give you the tools to begin that descent.

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