Ashraf Ismail talks more about the side quests in Assassin’s Creed Origins in an interview with Gamereactor
On the E3, we already got a few points were Assassin’s Creed Origins differs from the previous games of the series. It will be the first gaming playing in the ancient Egypt in the time “before Christ”. The combat system is more authentic as it uses the hitboxes and you don’t close in automatically. The climbing abilities are better, and it seems to be faster and smoother. You can dive for treasures and watch angry hippos attacking crocodiles. There are some nice stargazing puzzles. You can explore the surrounding in the form of your eagle.
But one thing sounds even more promising in light of the AC series. Ubisoft plans a new questing system combined with artificial intelligence for their NPCs in Assassin’s Creed Origins. So you have to collect information about your target and observe it. You have to find the right place and time, to execute your plans.
“We developed this new technology to be able to populate thousands of human [non-player characters and] animals that have a life, have a persistency, that have schedules, that have places to go to sleep, places to go eat, go to the bathroom, work,” game director Ashraf Ismail explained at a showcase hosted by Ubisoft.
He continues further with an example about a side quest target that has its own way of living: “He’s a target. You have to go after him. Through the quest, you find pieces of info about his life. During the day he’s out scouring the land on his chariot. At night, he goes home to his fort and sleeps in his cabin. The idea is: ‘There you go: you have that info, he’s your target. Do what you want.’ Do you want to go in through the stealth approach to fight him? Do you want to go out in the open world where he is on a chariot and is an awesome vehicle combat situation? But it’s a completely different situation. We play around with this a lot.”
They played around a lot with the history of the ancient Egypt and what they could extract from it.
Here, you can find the interview. It tells you more about the idea of ancient Egypt and the why it makes it so great for the quests and exploration.