Over the past ten years, the development teams at Ubisoft have worked hard to create massive, detailed worlds for gamers to explore. Teams of 100’s of people from North America, Europe and Asia have recreated the Italian Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Middle East during the Third Crusade, and many other locations that draw from our global history. They obsess over the tiniest details to ensure that these worlds are as true to history as possible, and while obviously they have taken some narrative liberties, they’ve succeeded in creating some of the richest, most incredible game worlds we’ve ever seen.
Unfortunately for some, the main objective in creating these worlds has been to give players an amazing sandbox to run around and kill people in. While I’ve enjoyed punching, stabbing, shooting, and poisoning my enemies for over a decade, the mature nature of these games means that my children have never been able to experience the joy I get from traveling back in time to these exotic locations. My daughters would sometimes walk through the room as I was playing, getting excited by what they saw on screen, but obviously I would then have to turn the game off as they are much too young to see what I was doing. Ubisoft has apparently realized these limitations and is looking to remedy it with the release of a brilliant new product, Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed.
Discovery Tour is a new (and free!) add-on to the latest game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Origins. It places players in the intricately detailed world of Ancient Egypt that players experienced in the main game, but this time instead of seeking out vengeance and discovering the origins of the Brotherhood, your goal is simply to explore the massive recreations of Alexandria, Memphis and Giza, and learn about the real life history that inspired the game. They’ve removed all of the killing and death from this mode, allowing players of all ages to enjoy it. Discovery Tour is first and foremost designed as an educational tool and Ubisoft has enlisted historians and Egyptologists to help them create a one of a kind interactive experience.
As I’m writing this I realize that it’s beginning to sound like something of an infomercial, but believe me when I say that the enthusiasm that I have for this game is real. This is not a paid or sponsored post, I truly believe that what Ubisoft has created is an incredible idea that adds something new and unique to the gaming industry and has the potential to take the experience beyond the living room and into the classroom.
Ever since I told my daughter that there would be a new mode in the game that would allow her to play the game herself while also learning about Egypt she’s been chomping at the bit to check it out, and as soon as I put the controller in her hands she was hooked. At first all she wanted to do was run around in the world, the ability to explore the entirety of the map without the threat of enemies was incredibly appealing to her, but after about an hour or so of just running and climbing she was ready to check out the real meat of what this mode has to offer.
Discovery Mode features 75 interactive tours in all. Players approach one of the start points which are highlighted on the map, and upon activation are treated to a fully narrated lecture on the people, places and artifacts of ancient Egypt. You’ll also get bits of information about the development process of the game. You’ll then follow a highlighted path, hitting markers along the way that activate more information. It’s a nice touch that you’re allowed to wander around the environment while you listen instead of just staring at a static screen. The tours can take from anywhere between 5 and 25 minutes to complete and include slides full of photographs and illustrations of the real life location. It’s a very open method of experiencing the content and it makes the learning feel much more natural as opposed to reading it all out of a textbook.
You can choose from 25 avatars to explore the world with, from Bayek and Aya (from the main story campaign) to historical figures such as Julius Caesar and Cleapotra, and many of the features of the main game carry over to Discovery Mode as well including the ability to control your eagle, Senyu and the photo mode to capture the amazing scenery. And for those of you who are achievement hunters, there are a few new ones added to the game just for you. I know I originally pitched the idea to my daughter as a version of the game for her to play, but I can see myself spending just as much time with it as she will.
From uncovering the mysteries of the Great Library of Alexandria or the Sphinx, to learning about what everyday life was like for the citizens of Egypt, there are hours worth of materials to discover in the game. Discovery Tour is an impressive and inspiring new addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise that I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in Egyptian history. Ubisoft has put in the hard work and created a real educational tool that my children and I will spend countless hours with and I can’t wait to see how they build off of these ideas in future installments.
Discovery Tour by Assassins Creed is available now as a free download for owners of Assassin’s Creed: Origins or as a standalone purchase on PC for $19.99.