Assassin's Creed Origins is an action-adventure stealth game played from a third-person perspective. Players complete quests—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story, earn experience points and acquire new skills. Outside of quests players can freely roam the open world environment on foot, horseback, camel-back or boat to explore locations, complete optional side-quests and unlock weapons and equipment.
The "eagle vision" mode, which was used by the franchise to give players the ability to scout an area by highlighting enemies and objects, will be replaced by an eagle named Senu as a companion. Players will be able to take control of Senu and scout an area in advance, highlighting enemies which will then be visible when they return to controlling Bayek, the game's main character. Players can also tame various predators which will serve as a companion for the players and assist them against enemies. Origins will also see naval combat, underwater exploration and tomb raiding return to the series. However, unlike previous games in the series, Origins will not include many tall structures for climbing to unlock areas of the map.
The game will also feature revised combat mechanics. Previous titles in the Assassin's Creed series used a "paired animation system" whereby the player character would engage with an enemy and combat would be dictated by a series of predeterminted animations based on player inputs and scripted AI movements. Assassin's Creed Origins will move to a "hit-box system". When the player wields a weapon, they will strike at whatever is in range, allowing them to hit enemies directly, injure individual body parts, and creating the possibility of missing an enemy entirely. Complementing this is the way weapons fall into different categories and are rated on their damage dealt, speed and range. Enemies will be drawn from several basic archetypes that use a variety of tactics in combat which, combined with the hit-box system, will require players to learn the attributes of individual weapons and tailor their playing style to succeed in combat. As enemy combat is also dictated by the hit-box system, the player will be equipped with a shield and will need to balance their offensive and defensive capabilities. Locations within the game world will be designed to enable players to choose their playing style by offering stealth and open combat as equally-viable choices for completing objectives.
Origins will introduce an arena-based combat system where the player will fight waves of increasingly-difficult combinations of enemies culminating in a boss fight. While the introduction to the arena will be incorporated into the main story, the arena mode will stand alone from the wider narrative. The game world will feature several arenas, with a variety of enemy combinations and unique bosses not found in the game world. Players will be able to unlock additional weapons and equipment by completing arena fights.
A future update to the game will add "Discovery Tour", a sandbox mode allowing players to freely explore the open world with no objectives, and embark on guided tours that highlight aspects of Egyptian history.