Oh, Assassin’s Creed Origins. What have you done? PC gamers are used to modders wantonly giving us superpowers, but official superpowers? The newly-launched Animus Control Panel really is something else.
Now, as fans will know, the Assassin’s Creed franchise always strives to gives players as much freedom as possible. It’s a Hitman sort of deal, really: you’re told who you’ve got to off and vaguely where they are, but how you go about that is largely up to you.
As the series has continued, its scope has become ever greater, with a larger and more vibrant and varied world to explore. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, we were merrily cruising along a vast ocean a la The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, while Assassin’s Creed Syndicate gave us a huge Victorian-era London as a playground. Last year’s Origins, meanwhile, presented players with the series’ biggest and most ambitious world yet.
Still, vast open world titles are nothing new these days. We live in an age of Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and such. Veteran Origins players have combed every inch of Egypt by now. You haven’t seen anything yet, though.
Late last week, the official Animus Control Panel dropped. This free, PC-exclusive DLC allows players to alter all manner of things within the game. According to Jose Araiza, producer of Origins, there are over seventy options you can tweak to your liking, within eleven different categories.
Some of these are visual-based. You can, say, swap out protagonist Bayek for another character. In tandem with this, you can also alter parameters like your movement speed, or set it so that you deal more (or less) damage with your attacks.
You can buff yourself in all kinds of ways. The same’s true of nerfing yourself. You can also fiddle with NPC opponents and their behaviours in the same ways. There’s so much scope to alter the game world and behaviour to your liking, from the subtle (dramatically increasing your swimming speed) to the just plain ridiculous (giving your character the ability to tame numerous animals at once).
If you’re not the sort of gamer who likes to fine tune every inch of a character creator, right down to nose width and such, there are also preset parameter ‘themes’ that you can set. In this way, you can get a taste of how the Animus Control Panel works without getting bogged down in all those sliders and options.
All in all, you can think of this as a function similar to the cheats featured in the Final Fantasy VII and IX PS4 re-releases. Maybe not something to dive into on your first playthrough, but excellent for returning players, who may want to relive a familiar experience in a whole new way.
For a closer look at the Animus Control Panel in action, check out the Assassin’s Creed Origins Community Team showing it off on Twitch.