Ubisoft’s most-spotlighted (and most-leaked) game of E3 was definitely Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, a new entry in the game that is…going back to making the series an annual franchise, even if Ubisoft said they were steering away from that.
While Odyssey looks a lot like an Origins reskin, this time set in ancient Greece, it’s going pretty hard into full-on RPG territory, complete with individual pieces of armor with different rarities, dialogue trees and even romance options for your character, where you can play as either the male Alexios or female Kassandra, both angling to become Spartan legends.
What has been consistently weird about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is that other than looking like an Assassin’s Creed game, there are almost no traces of…Assassins at all, at least as we’ve come to know them. No talk about the order or the Templar or any of it. There is an “assassin” skill tree, but that’s a lower case “a” along with hunter and warrior skill trees.
The only thing that seems remotely connected to the Assassin’s Creed universe at all is that it seems pretty clear that your treasured weapon, the spear of Leonidas, is a Piece of Eden, giving you supernatural powers in combat. But other than that, where exactly…are the Assassins in this supposed Assassin’s Creed game?
Well, there’s a pretty clear historical explanation for that.
Assassin’s Creed Origins was all about the birth of the Assassin order, as the title suggests. Usually when we think about Egypt, we think about ancient Egypt, thousands of years ago when the pyramids were being built, but that’s not when ACO took place. Bayek’s Egyptian story starts in 49 BCE, and ends with his wife, Aya, killing Caesar, in 44 BCE.
I’m no history buff, but even I know that the Peloponnesian War, the great conflict between Athens and Sparta which is the basis for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, took place way, way before that. It lasted almost 30 years and ran from 431 to 404 BCE. That is uh, several hundred years before Bayek and Aya found the Assassin Order, which makes it pretty clear why there are no traces of Assassins at all in Odyssey. They literally do not exist yet.
So why is this an Assassin’s Creed game?
While this part is still a theory, we are almost certainly witnessing the birth of something else. The birth of the Templar.
While the Assassins are not formed until the end of Origins, there is already an organized villain group, called “The Order,” which is what Bayek is trying to hunt down and exterminate, and what the Assassins were formed to guard against.
It stands to reason that the reason we are heading all the way back to 400 BCE is that we’re about to discover the origins of the Order, the Templar, whatever you want to call them. For all I know, we may even be playing as the founding member, as either Alexios or Kassandra. An alternate theory is that we could be playing as Aya’s ancestor, meaning we’re still on the side of the light, but I very much doubt that.
While Odyssey has been relatively light on story details so far, it makes sense for reasons other than the timeline. We are already seeing our hero wield a Piece of Eden in the form of the spear, something so powerful it will likely end up corrupting anyone that uses it long enough. And it’s the goal of the Templar to acquire more of these and use them to rule the world with rigid order.
And you know who else likes rigid order? The Spartans, which would make Sparta a prime candidate to be the birthplace of a secret order of powerful warriors who want to control everything.
But ultimately, it is the timeline that does it. Since this is literally hundreds of years before the Assassins are founded, this game really cannot be about anything but the Templar, who were around first, and already finding Pieces of Eden to dominate their enemies.
I think it’s a cool idea, and this may be officially as far back in time as Assassin’s Creed ever goes. I hear Odyssey plays great, and after loving Origins, I’m really looking forward to it.