As you dig into Assassin’s Creed Origins, you’ll likely spend most of your time sneaking and sword-slinging your way through Egypt’s more populated areas, creeping about Memphis or riding your horse across the Giza region or exploring the Nile Delta. But as you make your journey and uncover the origin of the Assassin Brotherhood, you may want to search for secrets in two unlikely places: in the depths of bodies of water and in the most desolate parts of the desert.
The Darkest Waters…
In Assassin’s Creed Origins, Bayek can swim freely on the surface of the water or can dive beneath it. Bayek can also fight underwater, using the same weapons he does on dry land. But the most compelling reason to dive deep with Bayek is to uncover treasures waiting on the riverbeds of Egypt’s rivers, moats, and lakes.
Occasionally Bayek with find a treasure chest or some kind of loot, waiting patiently to be found. Luckily, Bayek can breath underwater for a fair amount of time; a light-blue bar on the bottom left of the HUD keeps track of how long you have before he’ll drown. Additionally, in some broader, deeper bodies of water, you can stumble upon a sunken wreck, a boat or a larger barge rotting beneath the waves just waiting to be looted.
In addition to diving, Bayek can swim across any body of water without fatigue limiting him. He can climb onto larger boats to attack the riders and loot them, or he can (very politely) steal smaller one-man boats and use them to cross bodies of water faster.
…And the Dryest Sands
But underwater isn’t the only place developers have hidden secrets. If you find yourself on the edge of or near an expanse of desert, take some time to search the area. To save yourself some time and see if exploring is worthwhile for you, deploy your eagle Senu and let her do the work. Senu can also fly a limitless distance away from Bayek, and using her you can scan a whole desert for interesting structures or possible loot.
Deserts are home to the stoney ruins of temples and other structures, which often in turn house some of the game’s collectibles or other interested secrets. If you see a golden question mark pop up on the navigation bar along the top of the screen, then follow it immediately; golden question marks lead you to small stone gardens that in turn give you the chance to do some stargazing. These structures also reveal a little about Bayek life prior to the events of the game, offering more information on our main hero.
Other desert secrets are less straightforward and a bit more chilling. During a recent hands-on demo, I wandered up to what looked like the ruins of a temple, out in the middle of a valley of sand dunes. A man was standing in front of the ruins, and as I approached he dropped a snake onto the ground — and then vanished. As I came closer the snake, too, vanished, its image blown away as though it were made of smoke. Above everything was the shimmering sheen of heat wafting up off the sand and stone — which leads me to think this was an illusion. What roles this mirages will play, only time will tell.
Assassin’s Creed Origins drops on October 27.