Creative director Ashraf Ismail confirmed during an E3 Coliseum panel with Geoff Keighley that Assassin’s Creed: Origins will feature multiple playable characters, but Bayek will be the main star of the game.
Ismail was reluctant to divulge too many details, instead wanting gamers to maintain some excitement and hype for the upcoming open-world adventure.
Keighley took a few questions, and one of the online questions from Facebook asked about a playable female character. I’m sure a bunch of normal people were ready to cringe at what answer would follow after that whole media clown-show that dog-piled Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, however Ismail answered diplomatically, saying…
“So… this is primarily Bayek’s story. We do have other playable characters that are playable in select quests. But that’s as far as we’re going with [it] today.”
This seems to fit in line with other Assassin’s Creed games in the past. Gamers have been able to briefly play as select characters throughout certain sequences or quests in the past games, such as a brief sequence involving Altair in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or a lengthy sequence of playing as Haytham Kenway in Assassin’s Creed III, or the World War I sequence in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
Ubisoft previously caught huge flak from the media for not including a playable female in Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and claimed that it would have been too late and hard in development to add a playable female character before the game shipped in the fall. There was the typical backlash about misogyny and the patriarchy, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Ubisoft managed to rectify their standing with the media with Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate by introducing a playable female Assassin in the game from start to finish, but it turned out to be the worst selling mainline entry in the series. All those claims about adding a playable female increasing sales by 50% turned out to be false.
Nevertheless, with Assassin’s Creed: Origins they’ve taken a lot of design gimmicks from other third-person hack and slash games, such as Dark Souls. The combat is a huge step backward in terms of fluidity, animations, and cinematic appeal compared to what Ubisoft achieved with Assassin’s Creed III, but they did add a few other things, as noted by UbiCentral, such as the ability to remove Bayek’s hoody.
In addition to removing the hood – which can only be toggled from the inventory screen and not in-game – they’ve also returned the ability to pick up and move around bodies.