Still undecided about whether or not to get upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins on 27 October? This piece of information may help you make up your mind: You can pet cats in the game.

(Side note: I advise against trying to pet the lions, especially the caged ones).

Revealed at a hands-on event in London last month, the cat interactions are a new feature added to Assassin’s Creed Origins since E3. They’re just one more example of the attention to detail put into creating an Ancient Egypt that feels convincingly alive. Origins has pushed into RPG territory with its conscious modernisation and reinvention of the Assassin’s Creed experience, and it comes through strongly in terms of the beings that occupy the world.

It’s more obvious in terms of the humans than the animal life, but thanks to a reworked AI system the NPCs have needs and behave accordingly. For example, perhaps you – as world-weary “sheriff” Bayek – need to bring some nasty soldiers to justice. At night your task will probably be more challenging as the men hole up in a heavily populated military encampment. During the day, though, they’re out patrolling and easier to ambush.

These scenarios require problem-solving thought, just as they would in reality. Play, and interaction with the world of Assassin’s Creed Origins, is encouraged to achieve your objectives. Want to shoot a fire arrow but there’s no flame source in the immediate vicinity? Haul out your torch, drop it on the ground, and dip your arrow head into the fire before it gutters out.

At this point, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that Assassin’s Creed Origins seriously benefited from an extra year of development. In the past, Ubisoft would release an Assassin’s Creed game annually without fail. But for Origins, the tenth major game in the series, the development team – the same guys behind 2013’s beloved pirate escapade Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – were given additional months to make something extra-special, and no doubt try to side-step the bugs of rushed release.

Assassin’s Creed Origins game director Ashraf Ismail comments on the advantages of further development time.

“So we’ve had four years to make this game, and when we started we had the intention to reinvent the experience. And that means a lot of new ways to think about the content of the game, the gameplay, the narrative structure; and this stuff requires time to do right. So we needed these four years to bring this specific game to life. If we didn’t have that extra time, if we were shipping last year, this would not be the game we would have shipped.

Having said that, this was something we were very open with to the company, to the upper management, saying that we want to make a big game, and we want to push AC into a new frontier experience-wise. And they believed in us and they gave us the time to do it, and they gave us the ownership to do it. So we definitely took the benefit of that one extra year and most definitely needed that time to make this game.”

Irrespective of Origins’ big publicised changes to the franchise formula, the benefit of longer development also shines through in thoughtful little inclusions that didn’t have to be there… but are. Like Bayek dropping his stoic guard and warming up whenever he’s around settlement cats.

By the way, petting cats is easy in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Simply stand still when a cat is nearby. Once it approaches, drop into a crouch. Bayek will automatically reach out and start stroking the feline. As a bonus, sometimes if you don’t rush off, the kitty will follow you around for a bit, clearly after more attention.

P.S. Sadly you can’t pet dogs in the game. That honour has been reserved for Ancient Egypt’s most sacred domestic animal.

Last Updated: October 4, 2017

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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