Ubisoft showed off more from Immortals: Fenyx Rising — the game it formerly titled Gods & Monsters — as part of its Ubisoft Forward media presentation today. I also played the game in a demo session for 2.5 hours. The upcoming open-world adventure looks like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for a reason. Ubisoft obviously took inspiration from Nintendo’s seminal Switch launch game.
And that’s mostly a good thing.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising launches December 3 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Stadia. I played on PC streaming over the internet using the Parsec service.
Ubisoft has made some changes since we saw the game last time at E3 2019. The player character, Fenyx, is more defined, and the world seems more fleshed out. But Ubisoft maintained the friendlier, more animated style that the Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey dev team was originally going for.
But really, all I could think of while playing is that this game is a whole lot like Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising is a Zelda
How does Immortals: Fenyx Rising compare to the most recent main Zelda release? Well, here’s how Immortals is like Breath of the Wild:
- Both games are open-world adventures where the hero can climb anything, sprint, and glide with only a stamina meter acting as a hard limit.
- Both heroes have powers where they can control objects with telekinesis.
- Both have challenge dungeons hidden all over their map.
- Both have you crafting potions with a short cooking sequence.
- Both have you marking your map by surveying the landscape with a telescope.
- Both have you sneaking up on horses to tame and add them to your stable.
And I’m sure I’m forgetting other similarities. After the success of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we knew that games like Immortals would begin showing up. Still, it’s jarring to see something so shameless in its efforts to mimic Nintendo’s game.
But copying ideas and concepts is part of gaming’s DNA. The first two arcade games, Computer Space and Space Wars, were clones of the MIT creation Spacewar. Atari founder Nolan Bushnell later cloned Pong from a tennis game on the Magnavox Odyssey. It’s silly to get upset about shameless ripoffs in an industry that was founded on them — especially when I’m happy to get another game like Breath of the Wild.
Immortals is still a Ubisoft game
While Ubisoft is obviously taking inspiration from Zelda, the game does still feel like it’s coming from the French publisher. Unlike in Breath of the Wild, your character has a lot more progression. These include intricate skill trees that you unlock over time. And while you get upgrades for your stamina, you also can improve other attributes of your character as well.
Immortals also has more emphasis on explicit storytelling. It takes place in an Ancient Grecian setting, and … well, it feels like a Kid Icarus version of Breath of the Wild. And in my demo, Zeus and Prometheus humorously narrated my adventures. They bickered with each other, and even cracked jokes when I fell off an edge.
And the reality is that I am totally ready for another game like Breath of the Wild. And sure it doesn’t have Zelda trappings — but at least I’ll get to level up this Fenyx character instead.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising was originally due out February 25. Ubisoft announced that date at last year’s E3, but it moved the launch back as part of a plan to overhaul all the company’s upcoming games. Ubisoft chief executive officer Yves Guillemot explained in October that the publisher wanted to create more distinctiveness between its games. This followed soft sales for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
While Ubisoft is working toward the new release date of Gods & Monsters, it’s also dealing with internal turmoil. Multiple survivors and victims accused key figures throughout Ubisoft’s organization of various acts of misconduct. On July 11, Ubisoft announced that it was removing chief creative officer Serge Hascoët and others from the company immediately.
Prior to today’s presentation, Ubisoft posted a video from Guillemot about the recent allegations of misconduct:
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) September 10, 2020
Immortals is one of a number of major releases for Ubisoft through the end of its fiscal year. It’s also important as ongoing proof that Ubisoft can continue to create hit new properties.