Title of the work
Studio / Production Company
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
10th September 2019.
Discovery Tour is also available as a game mode within Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Ubisoft Discovery Tour at Ubisoft.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
Ubisoft North America channel on YouTube (accessed: September 16, 2022).
2019 – Games for change award winner for “Best Learning Game”
Action and adventure video games*
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Nanci Santos, independent researcher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ubisoft is a multinational videogames development company. Based in Montreuil, France, the company first started as a family-run software development company in 1985 but has since moved to the video games development world, creating, developing, and publishing titles for franchises such as Rayman, Tom Clancy, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, and, of course, Assassin’s Creed. The company originally began in France, but has since expanded worldwide, with branches throughout the world, including Canada, Japan, China, and United States.
Bio prepared by Nanci Santos, independent researcher, email@example.com
Stéphanie-Anne Ruatta (Historical advisor)
Dr. Ruatta was the lead historical advisor for the video game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and a key element to the development of the educational Discovery Tour feature of the game. Starting at Ubisoft Quebec, in 2016, she has been working along with Ubisoft in the development of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the Discovery Tour, and the video game Immortals Fenyx Rising, published in December 2020, also by Ubisoft. Prior to working with Ubisoft, she had worked as a Teaching Assistant at the French university La Sorbonne. She has also worked as a cultural and scientific speaker, a trainee in scientific research, a tour guide speaker, as well as being an author and coordinator. Dr. Ruatta has a PhD in Classical languages and literature, and an M.A. in Ancient History.
An interview at Quebec.ubisoft.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
An interview at Archaeogaming.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
Lunds Universitet, Kalendarium at Lu.se (accessed: September 16, 2022).
Bio prepared by Nanci Santos, independent researcher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Please see the entry on the main Assassin’s Creed Odyssey game.
Following hugely successful Discovery Tour mode in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has also included a mode where the game re-uses its in-game assets for educational purposes. Curated by various historians, including, Dr. Stéphanie-Anne Ruatta, the game consists of 30 tours, introducing the players to an array of subjects, from mythological stories to Spartan education, politics, gender issues, or the importance of items such as wine, metallurgy, and clothing. The tours are introduced by one of the five characters the player has regular contact within the main game. Beyond the tours, the players can explore the world and find discovery sites which contain further information about myths, legends, daily life, without the hassle of enemies and combat, thus making the game suitable for all ages.
Please note, this entry will contain spoilers for the tour.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Discovery Tour is part of a series of standalone modes that come free with the main game, or can be purchased separately from the main game, allowing those interested in the educational side of the games to have access, without having to buy the main game. The Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tours first started with Origins, whereby Ubisoft decided to re-use the assets already in the game and the research already conducted for the game, to further enhance the time period learning experience.
The game itself is made up of tours, discovery sites, and sites of historical interest. Altogether, there are 30 tours, discussing topics such as famous cities with Delphi, Piraeus, Olympia, Knossos, and Mycenae; daily life: the importance of typical household objects including wine, perfume, bronze, pottery, as well as the life of a Greek woman, and the urban household; Politics and philosophy which discusses the differing political systems between Athens and Sparta, as well as the importance of philosophy; Battles and wars including Battle of Marathon, Thermopylae; and, finally, Art, Religion and Myths including: the minotaur myth, Olympic games, Gods and Love.
Whereas the tours have a beginning, middle, and end, and have someone guiding the player through stations, typically an NPC from the main game,* discussing the history and impact of certain topics, the discovery sites offer the player more information about certain points in the map. For instance, in the outskirts of Mycenae, the player can find the Tholos tomb of the famous “Agamemnon’s tomb”, and it discusses the story of its discovery in 1870s. The player may also find further information on myths and legends if the player goes to the locations where they are said to have happened. Taking the labours of Herakles as an example, if the player goes to the “Wetlands of the Hydra” in the Argolid Region, a discovery site can be found detailing the Lernaean Hydra labour, as well as a 2D digitalisation of an amphora showing Herakles fighting the Hydra alongside his nephew Iolaos.
What is also quite interesting with this tour is the decisions made with the different versions of the myths. During the tour “Gods and Love” the “tour guide” acknowledges the existence of differing creation myths, either according to Homer or according to Hesiod, for the god Eros. This is a recurring theme throughout the tours and discovery sites where the player is made aware that there are variations to the story/myth.
Another point of interest was how in the labours of Herakles, the writing team made the decision to adapt some of the myths, which would have otherwise been outside the game’s map. An example of this is with the Apples of Hesperides labour. The physical location of the myth, whilst disputed, is generally agreed to be the most western point in the map (Stafford, p. 47). In game, the orchard and its respective discovery site are in the island of Hydrea, south of Lakonia. The Medusa myth also appears in the game and is situated in the island of Lesbos, explained in-game as being chosen due to the already existing petrified forest and the writing team thought this would be a great location for it. As the player goes deeper into the forest, there are various discovery points offering more information on Medusa, the temple and the forest.**
An interesting additional bonus to the tour is the possibility of unlocking famous historical personalities and horses with historical and mythical equipment. This means, if the player wishes to do so, he can journey throughout Greece as Pythagoras, Sokrates, or even Perikles, whilst riding a horse with a Mycenaean steed, or Pegasus (or even a unicorn!).
Finally, another curious addition to the discovery tour is the very brief timeline of events with the main periods in Greece: from the commonly agreed date for beginning of the Bronze Age in Greece, to the Peloponnesian War, during the classical period, the time period the main game is set in.
Using the mode in the classrooms
In the previous game, Assassin’s Creed Origins, the discovery tour was created with the aim to educate its audience.*** According to Ubisoft, “Purely educational, the mode is a virtual museum with guided tours and historical sites to discover”****, and the game does so also through the use of quizzes at the end of each tour, to reinforce learning points.
The release of the game mode was so popular that the following two games in the series also received the same mode. The mode is rich with curated information, 3D models and imagery to educate those interested in the subject, but also creates a detailed 3D environment which helps the likes of students and researchers paint a better picture and reflect on the ancient world in a very different way to what ruins and documents may offer one.
There are various lesson plans available online with suggestions on how to use the game to enhance learning. One such example is provided by the Australian ACMI which discusses how at the end students should know various aspects of ancient civilizations, interpret secondary sources, and the importance of significant people in history.*****
More than History education
As far as historical education via the medium of video games goes, the discovery tours offer one of the best 3D environments and research out of most video games, due to its AAA video game status and high investment. However, to allow for storytelling, there are some historical accuracies it still lacks, as well as improvements which could be made. Nonetheless, the video game mode offers a great tool to assist any teacher/researcher in not only looking at history, but also other subjects.
Despite the game’s main focus being ancient Greece, the game has proven to be a resource for other subjects including maths, geography, languages, computer science, and social sciences, due to its broad focus across all areas of education, thus giving teachers and educators a tool beyond the historical aspects of things.******
In times where the relevancy of teaching of Classics and classical civilization is being brought into question, this not only goes to show how far reaching the discipline of classics is for its historical value, but also how it impacts other subjects (and the relevancy of using video games in all subjects).
The value of Discovery Tour for education also brings into question the use of video games beyond its entertainment value. As has been once done with documentaries, films and series, the use of the right technology in the classroom can be of great benefit to assist the teacher and pupils in learning. Research has been and continues to be carried out into the use of “serious gaming”, or games to educate without the entertainment value,******* in a classroom.******** From the early 2000’s use of Python Turtle,********* to the more recent with the use of games of the likes of Minecraft,********** to assist with the student’s learning experience, serious gaming is being considered as educationally valuable.
The Discovery Tour modes in Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla have been of great assistance to teachers and those interested in the topics in finding out more about the topic, in an age when one can do so from their home.*********** Especially during the unprecedented Covid19 period, video games have assisted teachers in teaching children from a distance in new and engaging ways.************
Whilst the game is exceptionally full of mythical and historical information, it also can become too complex for younger children or even adults without any background, despite its PEGI/ESRB rating. However, this does not take away, in any way, the work that’s been put in to create this masterpiece, just perhaps one must be aware of this when teaching/introducing young children to the themes, that they may need help understanding certain topics.
Another note, which must be addressed, is that whilst the game is exceptionally great at telling myths, it does not separate nor explain the difference between city origin myths, hero-cult myths, Platonian myths, and Homeric/Hesiod myths. The addition of more archaeological plans of sites at specific time periods would also have been a nice little bonus that could have been added, much like in the tour of the Akropolis, it was nice to see the plan for the temple.
Finally, it is also worth noting that the tour contains 30 episodes*************, however only 6 of those have “mythology” as a category, despite the main game, and subsequent DLCs, being mythology heavy.
Nonetheless, the Assassin’s Creed discovery tours in general may have been one of the best reusing of existing assets to assist in the further learning of gamers as well as the general public, done so far. Its rich game detail and researching efforts carried out to make this game mode a powerful learning tool must be acknowledged and praised. Whilst there is still some room for improvement, it is still a monumental step forward in the use of video games as a tool for teaching and learning.
* User guide Assassinscreed/discoverytour (accessed: September 16, 2022).
** Further reading: “The art of AC Odyssey” pp 146–153.
*** Blain, Louise, 5 ways Assassin’s Creed Origins' Discovery Tour makes learning fun at gamesradar.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
**** Ubisoft, Accessing Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece at ubisoft.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
***** Teaching with videogames: Ancient Civilisations and 'Assassin's Creed' at acmi.net.au (accessed: September 16, 2022).
****** Ubisoft, Ancient Greece Curriculum Guides at ubisoft.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
******* IGI Global Dictionary, Serious Games at igi-global.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
******** Penn Today, Gaming as a teaching tool at penntoday.upenn.edu (accessed: September 16, 2022).
********* Python Turtle Lesson at tes.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
********** Minecraft. Education Edition at education.minecraft.net (accessed: September 16, 2022).
*********** Carmichael, Stephanie, Researchers conduct study on Assassin’s Creed educational mode, Discovery Tour at classcraft.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
************ Nieto-Escamez, Francisco Antonio and María Dolores Roldán-Tapia, "Gamification as Online Teaching Strategy During COVID-19: A Mini-Review", Frontiers in Psychology 21 May 2021, online at frontiersin.org (accessed: September 16, 2022); View Larger Image
Video games and experiential learning in the COVID-19 era at gaming4skills.eu (accessed: September 16, 2022).
************* Tours List Overview at static2.cdn.ubi.com (accessed: September 16, 2022).
Campbell, Colin, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Discovery Tour is an inspiring journey through ancient Greece, available at polygon.com, Sept 10, 2019 (accessed: September 16, 2022).
Kaser, Rachel, Ubisoft makes Assassin’s Creed’s educational “Discovery Tours” free, available at thenextweb.com, May 15 2020 (accessed: September 16, 2022).