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Assassin's Creed Shadows game director reveals the game's trick to encourage character swapping

While you won't be forced to swap between Yasuke and Naoe for the most part, there's a little trick to nudge you along.

Assassin's Creed Shadows
Image credit: Ubisoft

Only a few days ago, Ubisoft revealed gameplay for Assassin's Creed: Shadows during Summer Game Fest 2024, giving us an early peak at what's to expect from the latest entry in the stealth action series. But even earlier than that, we were able to put a few questions to associate game director Simon Lemay-Comtois.

One of the more interesting aspects of Assassin's Creed: Shadows is the ability to swap between two entirely distinct characters: Yasuke and Naoe. Questions on how this will work, and what efforts have been made to encourage swapping between the two, were met with interesting answers which you can find below.

"We were really interested in this idea to commiting to whatever build that you have" Comtois states when asked about the decision to have two protagonists rather than the typical solo act. "So early on we were trying to say 'we know we want stealth, we know we want combat, but we don't want the players to be able to switch willy nilly between those things'.

Comtois continues. "The weapon you have, the armour you have, is what you've got to deal with your current situation. You have to remove yourself from that situation before you can change those things. Quite rapidly it became obvious that Shinobi and Samurai would be two interesting fits for this, and this led to this two protagonist approach with their own feel."

But with two characters comes as obvious dilema: how do you encourage players to swap between them, rather than sticking to just one. With the distinct playstyles built-in to both Yasuke and Naoe, it's not unlikely that players with a preference for going in loud or that traditional sneaky approach will gravitate to one over the other.

Comtois elaborates, "It's a balanced approach. Most of the content can be played by either character, and there's no hard gating that says this is a Naoe thing. Story moments are character focused, but the rest of the game is open, and progression incentivises you to switch, because when you play just one character for a while, they will pick up stuff for the other character to use. So both characters kind of progress together."

So if you do consider yourself more of a Yasuke player, you should be A-OK to stick with him for the most part. It's just that, over time, you'll accumilate a pile of loot he can't really make use of, which should urge you to hop over to the other side. An interesting, barrier-less approach, but here's hoping this is mostly true for gameplay rather than narrative. Giving players the option to play the way they want is key, but here's hoping you don't miss out on much character development by sticking it out on one side of the aisle.

It's something we'll be keeping an eye out for in the coming months running up to the release of Assassin's Creed: Shadows, which is set to drop on November 12 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Mac.

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