For a video game that includes extraterrestrial beings and time travel, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is shockingly faithful to what Ancient Greece

Blame the Italian Renaissance. The rediscovery of Greco-Roman sculpture in the 15th century spawned a long-held misperception that the artists of Antiquity intentionally left their work unpainted. For intellectuals of the Renaissance who pooh-poohed the idea of polychromatic sculpture because of its prevalence during the much-derided Medieval period ... yet, if not for their burial, which stripped away layers of paint from artifacts and ruins, the Greco-Roman art we see today would blaze with brilliant colors. And although art historians have attempted to correct this misunderstanding, popular culture has refused to acknowledge it in most interpretations of ancient life. Until now, that is.

The latest entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise, subtitled Odyssey, drops players into 431 BCE in Ancient Greece, at the start of the Peloponnesian War predominantly fought between Athens and Sparta. For a video game that includes bloody mercenaries, extraterrestrial beings, and time travel, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is shockingly faithful to our contemporary historical understanding of what Ancient Greece looked like during its golden age. The Ubisoft development team behind the game even hired a historical advisor to help them recreate a meticulous version of the Ancient World, one that includes hundreds of polychromatic statues, temples, and tombs.