Assassin’s Creed Origins is an incomprehensibly large game, so packed with quests that most players will likely never see them all. If you do see them all, however, you may notice that they follow certain rules—rules that Ubisoft detailed pretty specifically while making the game.
Speaking on the AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook podcast in an interview published yesterday, Assassin’s Creed Origins director Ashraf Ismail explained that Ubisoft has a “hefty guideline document” for how to make quests in the game. Most Ubisoft games are made not just in a single main studio but across several of their offices worldwide, so this kind of documentation was important, Ismail said. “It had to be formalized in a way that we can give it to, let’s say, our studios in Singapore, and Sofia, and there were clear guidelines, and we don’t have to keep repeating those messages,” he told the podcast’s host, Insomniac CEO Ted Price.
Here are a few of the guidelines he brought up:
1) The distance that a quest can take you is capped off depending what the quest is. If it’s what Ismail called a “bread crumb quest,” likely referring to a quest that steers you to a new point of interest, it can take you within 1,000 meters of the quest-giver. “If it’s part of a hub,” he said, “then you have to stay within the bounds of 500.”
“So these are very technical constraints,” Ismail said. “It was really structuring the way we imagined players would spend time in part of the world.”
2) Only one “eradicate” quest is allowed per hub. Those are the ones where you have to take out all of the bandits or guards in one specific location. “That was to not have it be super frustrating that you’re just non-stop attacking,” Ismail said.
3) There can only be one “funny” quest in every zone. “No more than one,” Ismail said.
The whole interview is fascinating, and worth your time—Ismail is an interesting guy with a lot of cool insights on Assassin’s Creed Origins, and he made some salient points about the power of limits like these.
“Having a programming background, I love constraints,” he said. “If you give me a white piece of paper, I’m going to get lost, I’m going to be flying around everywhere. If you give me boundaries, I always feel like, ‘OK, I have nowhere to go but deep.’ For me, constraints are an aspect of design, a valuable thing.”