Ancient Greece as a setting for an Assassin’s Creed game sounds like a dream come true. It would be filled with story opportunities, especially given the pantheon of gods, mythical heroes, and creatures. We’d never look a gift horse in the mouth. However, we can’t help but wonder why Ubisoft Quebec has chosen Greece for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Creative Director Jonathan Dumont revealed what made Greece the best option in a recent interview.
During the interview with DualShockers, Dumont explained that the world’s cultural familiarity with Ancient Greece, because of schooling, made the choice an easy one. Furthermore, the warring nature of Grecian society at the time allowed the creative team to delve deeper into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey‘s RPG mechanics. Dumont said,
Greece was good for multiple reasons. It is a world that we can relate to easily because we all know some parts of the myths and legends along with a lot of historical facts and philosophers. It’s something we’re taught in school that the way that we speak, the stories that we tell, the things that we refer to, they all find their origin in Greece. It was a match made in heaven from a cultural point of view because we’re always looking for these settings that offer a little bit more of a teaching. A place where something important happened culturally.
It was great because there are many wars in Greek history and we wanted a setting that allowed us to express a little bit more of the RPG feeling of the world. Going into the Peloponnesian War–Sparta vs. Athens–you’re an iconic Spartan warrior with the culture of Athens, it made for a good choice for us.
Plus, since we’re introducing choice, discussions were happening, dialogues were happening in Ancient Greece—people were questioning everything. It fit the mindsight that we try to put the character in, where they’re a little bit of a philosopher at times questioning should I do this-or-that, is it wrong to do this, what is the right thing. Some of the characters that you meet embody this quite a bit, like Socrates for example. It fit in right away with us, plus Greece is a beautiful world. It’s awesome.
Though Greece couldn’t be any more exciting, there are concerns with regards to the time period in which Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes place. Set 400 years prior to the events of Origins, Odyssey’s connection to the series seems mysterious. If Bayek and Aya established the Assassins Order in Egypt, why are we following Alexios/Kassandra hundreds of years before then? According to Dumont, the answer is simple—Alexios and Kassandra aren’t assassins from the order we know. The creed Ezio swore to abide by didn’t even exist for them.
So you’re not playing as an assassin in our game. You’re not playing as somebody from the Creed. Our franchise allows us to explore different people in history. It’s not just Assassins that we want to visit. We can take a look at, from an ideological point of view, that same conflict between order and chaos in our game and there are factions that embody that. We place you in a spot where you have to evaluate a little more what’s good and what’s bad for you.
With the story of Layla, [the modern-day protagonist], she’s looking for artifacts so she can go in any time period to look for these things. We decided to go back for the reasons I explained before about why Greece is a great setting.
Be prepared to explore Ancient Greece and its incredibly massive map when Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launches on October 5, 2018.
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