Remember the Phylakes in Assassin's Creed Origins? They were powerful enemies that would roam the map in an attempt to hunt protagonist Bayek down. Basically, they were optional bosses, and fighting them was a highlight of last year's game. This year, however, it seems as though Assassin's Creed Odyssey is taking the system and running with it, evolving it into something much more dynamic.
In Odyssey, Phylakes are replaced with mercenaries, and because the game allows you to be something of a bad guy -- stealing and murdering, if you so desire -- these mercenaries may have a reason to come after you and collect the potential bounty that's on your head.
Game Informer goes into a lot more detail on the subject, but our takeaway is that it all sounds really cool. The game will remain populated with mercenaries throughout, so it's like a never-ending optional activity. Once you've bested a mercenary, you can either kill them or recruit them for your ship's crew. They may even drop rare equipment.
Apparently, this is just one new way in which Ubisoft is trying to create a deeper open world. Think the fantastic Nemesis System in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and you're on the right track.
Odyssey is set to be the biggest Assassin's Creed ever in terms of content, with naval battles making a return and the role-playing elements of Origins being greatly expanded upon. Here's hoping that it all forms a cohesive whole in October.