Assassin’s Creed Shadows is making a big change to the series’ iconic towers to encourage you to explore its open-world Japan

After last year’s Mirage returned to series roots with a linear design, Assassin’s Creed Shadows reverts to the series’ modern open-world format, but it’s making a significant change to a series mainstay: the climbable synchronization towers.

New and longtime Assassin’s Creed fans – and even just Ubisoft fans generally – will be well familiar with these towers. They serve slightly different functions from game to game, but generally they act as a means to fill out the map with specific points of interest. However, in Assassin’s Creed Shadows, they’ll simply be vantage points you can climb up to view highlighted locations around the map.

This comes from an interview with IGN, in which creative director Jonathan Dumont said it’s in service of Shadow’s more open-ended approach to gameplay. Ubisoft is tightlipped about many aspects of Shadow’s gameplay, but similar to Mirage, there’s a focus on tracking down and eliminating targets. When and how you do that, however, is up to you.

“It’s less of ‘follow a quest up to a point’, but it’s much more, ‘I want to do this’ and then you’ll find the way how to do it,” Dumont said.

In another big change-up, Shadows will star dual protagonists who you can switch between at any point you want. Naoe is a nimble shinobi best-suited for stealth, while Yasuke is a large and imposing samurai perfect for busting down doors and using brute force to take down enemies.

Shadows’ open-world map is about the same size as Egypt from 2017’s Origins, but Ubisoft says it’s on a more realistic scale because it “really wanted the mountains to feel like mountains.”

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