Lovecraft would have liked strolling about Ancient Egypt, petting the sacred kitties. The Assassin’s Creed: Origins Discovery Tour enables one to do that. The best-selling Assassin’s Creed Origins videogame is set in the Ancient Egypt of Ptolemy, and since spring 2018 has a special official “Tour mode” — without the user needing to wrestle with acquiring and installing third-party no-combat mods…

The Assassin’s Creed: Origins Discovery Tour is a mode that will allow you to explore ancient Egypt without being interrupted by combat or quests. Purely educational, this mode is a “virtual museum” in which you can simply walk around or take guided tours.

Excellent idea, and seemingly unique as an official option for a big AAA game that’s top-of-the-range in terms of ancient environment recreation in real-time 3D. I’ve used no-combat mods before for the likes of Morrowind etc, and some games such as Rime have unofficial trainer/savegame combos which effectively serve as no-combat/no-enemies mods. But it’s good to see big developers supporting ‘virtual tourism’. Actually we should probably call it ‘virtual time-travel’ in this case, and presumably it extends the game’s sales period into decades (rather than the usual six years or so).

The Tour comes in two identical variants, with different access points. If you own the latest Assassin’s Creed: Origins already, you can download and start the Discovery Tour from the game’s main menu. If you own the standalone Discovery Tour, then you can start it like any other Windows application.

There’s nothing on Amazon for “Assassin’s Creed: Origins Discovery Tour”, but it’s on Steam at £12.50 and also Ubisoft’s own UPlay service. Although if you’re not signed up to either it’s probably a lot less hassle to get an unlock code for the standard game via Amazon at £16.50, then download it from the main servers. The page for the Amazon purchase states that… “The Discovery Tour is available now as a free update!”.

However, be warned! The Tour alone needs 42Gb(!!) of space hard-drive. That’s going to be a long download it’s you’re on slow broadband. I guess there may be a disk version for those with slow rural broadband, but you’d need to check if the Discovery Tour on the disks or not.

Apparently the Discovery Tour version for the new follow-on game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (set in Ancient Greece), is coming soon. Other games have unofficial mods, as discussed in a PC Gamer article in the October 2018 issue, “How modders are removing enemies from games to create stress-free experiences”. The world of The Witcher is probably the most interesting to readers of this blog, though it would be interesting to find one for the new Call of Cthulhu game and take a stroll around an access-all-areas Innsmouth. Such mods usually go by the name of ‘no-enemies’ / ‘no-threat’ / ‘no-combat’ mods. So far as I know there’s not yet any one website that collates and links to them all. Also of note, at the highly-polished end of games, is one of my favourites which is TheHunter. This is effectively a no-combat walking game, if you choose to carry a camera rather than a rifle.

And yes, there are kitties in the Ancient Egypt of Assassin’s Creed: Origins….

Cats can be found just about anywhere in the world of Assassin’s Creed: Origins. We’ve had the most luck finding them on the outskirts of larger towns, though. Try fishing villages and smaller farming communities. Take a stroll along the water or through the fields and keep an eye open for the furry four-legged creatures. Simply crouch near a cat and, if you’re lucky, the cat will come seek you out and let you pet them. Though some will remain aloof, as cats will.

Which makes one think… would a “Cats of Ulthar” game mod be possible? With the story? Or perhaps in The Witcher, using the kitties and their animations extracted from Assassin’s Creed: Origins?