Gods & Monsters: everything we know about Ubisoft’s “storybook adventure”

By Heidi Nicholas,
Gods & Monsters was officially revealed just last June, with Ubisoft planning to release the game this February. At the end of last year, however, Ubisoft announced Gods & Monsters had been delayed, as had Watch Dogs: Legion and Rainbow Six Quarantine; and all three titles were given a new and much vaguer release window of Q2 to Q3 in the financial year 2020/21, and confirmed to be cross-generation games, featuring both on the Xbox One and on Xbox Series X. Ubisoft has since been busy with the reveal of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but its recent announcement of its own E3-style event, Ubisoft Forward, which promises “exclusive game news, reveals and more” when it takes place in July, bodes well for more news about Gods & Monsters — as well as the possibility of a new release date. Gods & Monsters looks utterly incredible, and so while we wait for Ubisoft Forward, we thought we’d run through everything we know so far about this intriguing game.

Gods & Monsters

What is Gods & Monsters?

Gods & Monsters is a new concept from Ubisoft. It’s an open-world action-adventure game set in the world of Greek mythology, billed on the game’s site as a “storybook adventure”, and thought to be their answer to the hugely popular The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. From what we’ve seen of the screenshots and announcement trailer, it’ll be an amazingly beautiful game, and its “painterly” art style already differentiates it from Ubisoft’s previous foray into Greek mythology with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Gods & Monsters takes place on the Isle of the Blessed. The Greek gods are under attack from Typhon, a giant serpent, one of the many challengers to Zeus’s rule, and “the most deadly creature in Greek mythology”. His army of mythological creatures has overrun the Isle of the Blessed, and the game’s protagonist, Fenyx, is on a mission to help the gods restore their power. The game will start with the Greek poet Homer telling the legend of Fenyx to his grandchildren with his “magical storytelling lyre”. Creative Director Jonathan Dumont says the game is “lighthearted”, and that while Homer narrates, “his grandkids are interrupting and asking questions along the way. Mythology has a good sense of humor, oftentimes, so there are certain instances where we like to poke fun at things.”

Gods & Monsters

Gameplay

Ubisoft has already mentioned puzzles, platforming, dungeons, resource and stamina management, and “heroic feats”, and we know combat will feature heavily, as Fenyx will be going up against the most dangerous creatures of Greek mythology before taking on Typhon. Exploration and traversal will also be important to the game: Dumont says it's “really about losing yourself in this world that offers a variety of gameplay through combat, puzzles, and traversal”.

Fenyx will be gifted powers by the gods, and these powers and abilities will be fundamental to gameplay. It’s a little unclear how this will work, since Fenyx is also apparently meant to be returning powers to the gods. Fenyx’s abilities will be heavily utilised in combat, but Senior Producer Marc-Alexis Côté says they “can also be used to traverse the world”. There will also be “plenty” of magical items: the Boots of Hermes, for instance, will enable players to double-jump and “get to places you wouldn’t be able to access before”.

Protagonist Fenyx will be “fully customisable”, with appearance, stats, armor, and gear also able to be customised “to your liking”. Since Fenyx will be encountering magical items, it seems that part of your gear at least will be found by exploring the Isle of the Blessed, and it even sounds as though these special items, such as the Boots of Hermes, will be open to customisation. It’ll be interesting to see how players will gain the majority of armour and gear, whether by crafting, scavenging, or found in chests and scattered throughout the world, as in Breath of the Wild.

Gods & Monsters

Combat and enemy types

Côté says combat is “ability-based”, with Dumont adding that the development team took the special abilities of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and “put it on steroids” for Gods & Monsters. Odyssey’s Kassandra and Alexios were extremely powerful, and their special abilities often drew shocked commentary from their opponents, who found time to wonder at them even as they went soaring off a cliff or zooming backwards from Spartan Kicks and Bull Rush abilities. This will apparently be stepped up several notches in Gods & Monsters: “When you’re fighting and you trigger your abilities, you’re going to wreck the enemies you’re facing.” Combat will be fast-paced, and can take place both on the ground and in the air. Mikel Reparaz, Editor for Ubisoft News, says “speed and verticality also play big roles” in the game’s “over-the-top combat” and that some enemies, such as harpies, will take purely aerial combat, with “Fenyx leaping straight at flying harpies and smacking them out of the sky with midair slash combos”. Other enemies might require a variety of tactics, with Dumont adding, “If you’re fighting a cyclops, you may have to double jump to reach his head and hit him in the eye to blind him, so then you can fight him on the ground.”

Gods & Monsters

The Greek gods had no end of enemies, ranging from members of their own family to other, minor, gods and goddesses, demigods, arrogant mortal heroes, and mythical creatures. It seems the latter is what players will be up against, and there’ll definitely be a wide variety of enemy types to encounter: main villain Typhon will be “supported by a huge cast of other monsters”. We’ve heard of a few already, including harpies, cyclopes, gorgons, and hydras. It sounds as though the player will be facing off against specific species of creatures instead of individual characters, but perhaps famous individuals could feature as mini boss fights: Medusa’s a gorgon, for instance, and could appear as a harder fight than other members of the same species.

Gods & Monsters

Powers and abilities

We’ve heard how fundamental powers and abilities will be in the game, and that they’ll be heavily utilised in both combat and exploration. Reparaz says “Fenyx can chop down trees, lift the fallen trunks into the air with telekinesis, and hurl them into the distance.” When Fenyx jumps off a cliff, they can also “immediately summon and hang from a fiery phoenix, gliding safely down to an open plain below. And once on the ground, Fenyx can summon an equally fiery horse to race across the game's picturesque, painterly fields.” They can use a “dash, a double jump, a whirlwind slash, a chameleon stealth ability,” and, reminiscent of Odyssey's Spartan Kick, “a big ol' kick that can send enemies flying.”

Just like Breath of the Wild, “all of these abilities – along with jumping, attacking, climbing, and gliding – drain Fenyx's stamina gauge”. Reparaz elaborates on this, saying that although Fenyx can “scale just about anything, doing so can be dangerous; run out of stamina while free climbing, and you'll fall and possibly die”. Players will be able to upgrade this stamina meter during the game but it sounds as though until then, like Breath of the Wild, it’ll be a case of having to tear yourself away from anything glittering tantalisingly at the top of a cliff until you’re powerful enough to return for it.

Gods & Monsters

How Gods & Monsters differs from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey released only two years ago, and it’s likely some players might be looking for comparisons between Odyssey and Gods & Monsters. There are a number of similarities, such as the inclusion of Greek mythology, and that the same in-house historian as worked on Odyssey is also working on Gods & Monsters. The idea for Gods & Monsters was also apparently thought up when Ubisoft was working on Odyssey. Dumont says they “really connected with the mythological aspects of Greece” but that “building an Assassin’s Creed game limits what you can tap into”, and as a result, they thought about making a game based purely on mythology, which would allow them to “make a dramatically different game than we did before”. Gods & Monsters does therefore build upon the research into Odyssey: it’s “a brand new type of game… a complete mythological adventure built on the four-year background we have of building a historical Greek setting”.

Myths were important to Odyssey, but the game also covered historical events, themes, and figures, as well as attempting a more realistic depiction of Ancient Greek cities and people. Gods & Monsters, set on the Isle of the Blessed and in the company of, well, gods and monsters, could therefore offer much more room for mythological interpretation, and it seems Ubisoft is determined for Gods & Monsters to be entirely its own game. “Myths can be really colourful, they can be funny, or they can be dangerous,” says Dumont, “so it allows you to work in a different spectrum than something like a historical setting.”

When asked how it will differ from other open-world adventure games in general, Côté says: “what we see as the most differentiating factor is how we approach the narrative. It's a light and humorous story that we're going to tell, and we think it will make this feel unique.” Dumont adds, “It's a very bright and colourful game. We're going for a more inviting and approachable art style for this game.”

Gods & Monsters

That’s everything we know so far about Gods & Monsters. Although the game appears on the Microsoft Store, it’s still listed as releasing in February 2020, and isn’t available to pre-order. There’s no word on price or the various pre-order editions, but from Ubisoft’s vague release window, it’s still possible we could see the game release this year. In the meantime, we’ll be sure to bring you everything we find out about it, including any possible details from Ubisoft Forward.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature, and now enjoys writing news, reviews, and features across TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. When she’s not writing, Heidi is usually either looking for her next RPG, or trying to convince the rest of the team to hear about yet another delightfully wholesome game she has found.