Ubisoft’s newly launched Assassin’s Creed Origins stand-alone DLC museum mode, Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt, offers a robust immersion that provides players with an engrossing experience touring the most memorable and fascinating locales of the region. The mode offers 75 narrated walking tours with which players can interact as they explore the wonders of ancient Egyptian civilization without the need for combat.
It also adds a lot of seashells in some strategically determined places.
Nude statues are featured throughout the in-game world in the original game, but, within the DLC, which doesn’t require players own the base game in order to gain access, those same statues have been censored. Seashells of various sizes have been placed over female breasts and the genitalia of both sexes throughout the game environment.
Ubisoft, in a statement to Polygon, relayed that the decision to censor the game’s nudity for this mode was made in order to reach the largest audience possible with an immersive, educational experience. “Discovery Tour was created to offer the maximum amount of people from various ages and cultural backgrounds the ability to visit the long lost world of Ancient Egypt and learn about its history,” said the developer.
More focus is placed on the educational aspect of the DLC in Ubisoft’s statement, clearly framing Discovery Tour as an educational tool. “We worked hand in hand with educators and academic institutions to tailor the content to be suited for every audience, including younger students, taking into account cultural sensitivities that can be different from one country to another,” said the company. They clearly want the game’s unique experience available to a wide spectrum of teachers and interactive classrooms, which rarely, if ever, allow nude images, even if the imagery isn’t sexualized. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed historian Maxime Durand reiterated this desire in a blog post last week, stating, “We also had a lot of testimonies from teachers, from professors, asking, ‘Would you consider making a version of AC without conflict, without narrative?’.”
Discovery Tour also strips out the combat engine of the game, though it is unknown how violence and nudity are weighed by the ESRB, videogames’ resident ratings board. Removing both brought the game down from a Mature rating to Teen, which makes it much easier to use in the classroom.
Critics may argue that the statues are works of art that should be protected from artistic censorship, but it remains to be seen whether Ubisoft took it upon themselves to preemptively censor its game or did so in response to the ESRB. Seashells or no, the new mode presents a beautifully realized world that allows an experience wholly unique to the videogame medium.
Discovery Tour in Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt is free for Assassin’s Creed Origins owners and costs $19.99 as a stand-alone purchase.