With Discovery Tour, Assassin's Creed Origins is using the concept of the Animus Database – long one of the most fascinating parts of the series – as a springboard for an entirely new kind of experience. Where the Database was a collection of educational (and frequently snarky) notes on the important people, places, and events that you encounter in each game, Discovery Tour adds an entirely new game mode that turns the massive re-creation of Egypt into a combat-free living museum, with guided tours that let players delve into its history firsthand.
"This is something we've wanted to do for a long time, that we've been asked to do by teachers, by institutions," says Jean Guesdon, creative director for Assassin's Creed Origins. "Discovery Tour is another way to enjoy the beauty of the world we've recreated. It's a more educative mode, so it's clearly focused on education and on bringing to people actual facts, more academic knowledge."
Separate from the main game, Discovery Tour annotates the game world with dozens of interactive tours curated by historians and Egyptologists. Each focuses on a different subject, including the Great Pyramids, the life of Cleopatra, mummification, and more. Additionally, Discovery Tour lets players roam the entire game world without constraints or threats, exploring a sprawling landscape that includes Memphis, Alexandria, the Sand Sea, and the Giza Plateau at their own pace.
"When you start to tour, you will have a path that will lead you from station to station, in order to learn more," Guesdon says. "For example, the mummification process, from the cleaning of the body to the removal of the organs, up to the ritual of the opening of the mouth. I hope that teachers will seize this opportunity to present that to their students, so they can learn with this interactive medium.
"We spent years recreating Ancient Egypt, documenting ourselves, validating the content with historians, with consultants, and we feel that many more people than just the players can benefit from that," says Guesdon.
Discovery Tour will arrive in early 2018 as a free update for Assassin's Creed Origins, which launches on October 27 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.