While titles like Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and Star Wars Battlefront II are coming under fire for their loot box microtransactions, Ubisoft is taking the safer route this year with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. There will be loot boxes present in the game, but before you roll your eyes too hard, it is important to note that these are not acquired through microtransactions.
While Warner Bros and EA seem to be pushing the limits of what microtransactions players will accept, Ubisoft is choosing to stay out of the line of fire this year. Speaking with Eurogamer, Assassin’s Creed Origins director, Ashraf Ismail, explained that while loot crates can be purchased in-game, they can only be done so with money earned in-game.
As you play through Origins, you will encounter a unique shop vendor who sells mystery chests, as well as other things, including Carbon Crystals, one of the rarer crafting components in the game. The idea is that if you min-max your economy and hoard lots of money, this vendor will give you a reason to spend it.
All items found in these crates can also be found in the world, it’s just a more convenient money-sink for those that master the in-game economy, all without spending real-world money. This move came about from observing the player base, according to Ismail, the studio has found a subset of players that really like to focus on maxing out the in-game economy to acquire things, rather than sneaking into locations and stealing it.