Naval combat has become a vital part of Assassin’s Creed games over the past few years, particularly with Black Flag and Rogue with their pirating themes. But now it’s coming back for Odyssey, with an overhaul that fits right in with its theme in Greece.
With that, IGN has teamed up with game director Scott Phillips to provide an in-depth look at the naval combat system that will be present in Odyssey. He breaks down some of the changes that were made this time around, including some that were actually made for the better.
“We felt like it was a good time to bring back something that fans were really happy with in past Assassin’s Creeds,” says Game Director Scott Phillips. “Origins touched on it a little bit, and then we sort of redesigned it - had to build all new tech in order to support the seamless open-world nature.”
The ship that you control, the Adrestia (that’s for both Alexios and Kassandra), has a lot working for it, as you can decide its general speed, while also shooting at different speeds depending on your attacks. “We knew that it’s very different from 17th century pirate ships, so we had to approach it from a different way,” Phillips explains.
But instead of purchasing particular types of ammunition this time around, you have an increased damage output that works with an Adrenaline system. For instance, if you do particular damage to a ship, you’ll see a number of new attack options at your disposal, including javelins on fire and the ability to use braziers for close-range combat. If you target weak spots, you can do significant damage -- and bring down your enemies even quicker.
You can also ram ships, and watching them break apart at your helm is pretty impressive. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of control, as, again, you have better handling of your speed with the help of a more effective slowing system. So, yeah, you can stop short of a ramming attack and strike a different way. “It’s much more sort of Fast and Furious,” Phillips says. “It’s not perfectly accurate but it is authentic to that time period and how they would have fought, which is something that we try to aim for... that it passes that sort of sniff test of ‘Yeah, that’s about right.’”
And how you handle your ship actually differs depending who’s in control of it. Alexios and Kassandra have the option to get different lieutenants to join them, and they differ based on characters. Sometimes you can convince them through negotiation; and other times you have to fight them to get them to join you. “We wanted to make sure you’re not alone, and that you can recruit a crew to help you on your adventure,” says Jonathan Dumont, Odyssey’s Creative Director. “Most NPCs that you’ll meet in the world can be recruited, based on stats, and will help your ship.”
You can watch the video above to see this system in action. It’s well worth getting excited over.