Now you can learn about ancient history through Assassin's Creed
Video game series Assassin's Creed has always had one foot in the past, tasking players with living out the lives of adventurers in a number of famous historical eras.
And now it's proving to be a valuable tool for learning.
The latest game in the series - Assassin's Creed: Origins - is set in a meticulously researched reconstruction of Ancient Egypt.
Today it's getting a 'Discovery Tour' mode, providing the option to remove the combat and conflicts of the game altogether, leaving players free to wander its accurate and graphically stunning sights - and study all manner of facts about the past.
Learning is fun again
Far from letting you just wander the deserts (although you can do that if you wish), the mode comes with over 75 guided tours, some that can take upwards of 20 minutes to complete.
Developer Ubisoft Montreal is looking to show off the wealth of research that went into making the game so detailed and historically accurate.
The tours present themselves to you as a path of light across the floor. Following this leads you to areas of interest, where the game might take control of the camera to give you a lavish vista or a swooping view of a landmark.
The narration and facts were written by academics and experts in Egyptology, then passed on to the developers to turn them into interactive expeditions in Origins' lush environments.
If you want to learn even more than what Discovery Tour teaches you, most of what you're shown comes with sources, so not only can you double-check those facts, you can dig even deeper.
The Discovery Tour mode even shines light on the practise of mummification (Image: Ubisoft)
Certain aspects of Origins may not have been 100% accurate, with the developers tweaking facts to make the game more exciting for players.
In these instances, the developers have made this clear, and the Discovery Tour also gives users a glimpse behind-the-scenes; those curious can read up on what they changed and why.
A landmark educational tool?
With modern gaming technology capable of producing life-like environments, the Egypt of Assassin's Creed: Origins is a living, breathing recreation of the era.
Everything from the massive Pyramids of Giza to the minutest details - like the ancient process of beer brewing - has been included, and the Discovery Tour may be the closest we'll ever get to actually visiting the time of Cleopatra.
The mode has even been put to work in schools, with students who played through tours allegedly seeing test results on the subject improve.
Ever wondered about the Sphinx's nose? (Image: Ubisoft)
It could be a landmark moment in interactive learning tools.
No doubt creators of other historical games will follow suit too.
The Discover Tour update is free to those who already own a copy of Assassin's Creed: Origins on Xbox One, PS4 or PC.
It can also be picked up for £20 for PC players who don't own the main game, but still want the guided tours.