The newest Assassin’s Creed title was unveiled on April 30th. This new adventure features an unfamiliar setting to the world of assassins and will have gamers sailing and raiding about as a Viking warrior in days of yore, as well as more. Here are five facts we learned about Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
New Pantheon and Locale
Assassin’s Creed’s overworld always plays an integral role in laying the adventure’s foundation. The world isn’t just a backdrop for characters to play around in. The political happenstances and geographical landscape shape the heroes, villains, and bystanders of the story.
The year is 873. England is a loose, fractured collection of in-fighting kingdoms, vying for supremacy. The Vikings of Norway are amok, pillaging and raiding to survive the harsh climate. These starkly different and once separate worlds are set on a crash course for one another.
The Vikings are no longer looking for mere loot to pillage. They want a place to call home, and have set their sights on the isle of England. Fun fact: f a village ends with –thorpe or –by, it is likely to have been a Viking settlement at one point!
Valhalla’s cinematic reveal trailer showcased the dual-sided world these Vikings inhabit—with their raids and their raising of homesteads—and the gods that dwell among them.
Head of the Nordic Pantheon, Odin, plays an integral role with the Vikings as seen in the ritual they took before starting their raids. Gods have been prominently featured in the series since Assassin’s Creed II. It will be interesting to see the degree to which Odin and his cohorts will play in Valhalla, in addition to the world of intrigue that follows after the assassins in this ruthless, unfitting environment.
Living as the Vikings Did
In Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, players take control of Eivor, a Viking raider from the late 9th century. Players can choose Eivor’s gender. For the sake of brevity, this article will refer to Eivor as ‘he’.
Having left Norway, Eivor leads his charge of Vikings as they strive forward for a place to call home. Rather than pillage, Eivor wants to integrate his people into the lands of the Saxons, who detest them to no end. Historical figures like King Alfred the Great, who was well-known for his staunch opposition to the Viking settlers, will make an appearance in the story and play a big role in the trials the Vikings will face.
Ashraf Ismail, Valhalla’s Creative Director as well as previous titles, explained in the developer commentary how this settlement building, and swirling motivations behind it, will play an integral role in pushing Eivor through Valhalla’s narrative.
Ismail touched on settlement growing as a game feature, explaining how players will choose to go about building their communities and what sort of methods they will use to expand, making Eivor’s aptitude as a leader come into play.
The game aims to portray Vikings in a light most contemporary writings at the time didn’t. Narrative Director Darby McDevitt spoke about how the Saxons recorded a lot of history that went down during the 9th century, stating most writing regarding the Vikings spoke of the people’s brutality and ruthlessness. However, this settlement building will show them as what they truly were: fishermen, traders, and more, on top of being savage raiders.
Eivor’s contact with the assassins also plays a big part in paving this Viking fantasy.
Dress as the Vikings Did
Eivor can be customized to fit any player’s Viking aesthetic.
From tattoos and beards, Eivor can be decked with all sorts of gear and era-fitting cosmetics any proud Viking will decorate himself with before battle. War paint is also available to customize clothing and armor. Tattoo parlors and facilities to tend to beards and such are a part of the settlements players and Eivor will build.
Sorry, still no horned helms here.
Fighting as the Vikings Did
The reveal trailer showcased a sprawling bloody battle between Eivor’s raiders and the Saxon armies of Wessex, King Alfred’s bannermen. Throughout the battle, Eivor is shown using multiple weapons on the fly,changing his fighting style throughout the course of combat, even going as far as dual-wielding hand axes.
Ismail stated dual-wielding is going to be a big part of combat. He said players will be able to dual wield virtually all sorts of combinations of weapons. Swords and axes, axes and shields, dual shields. Gamers’ creativity is the limit!
The game’s combat will be visceral. Eivor will square off against formidable and impressive enemies, much like the hulking behemoth Eivor went toe-to-toe with in the trailer. Ismail also hinted at the sorts of traits these tank-like enemies could have, such as the ability to rally enemy troops on top of having few exploitable weak points.
Big Team at its Helm
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla has a huge team of people behind it.
The previous game, Odyssey, had seven studios working on during development. Valhalla has a whopping 14. It is on a development scale that shoots every previous title out of the water.
While more studios and people don’t necessarily equal a greater game, it shows the level of commitment and resources Ubisoft is devoting to Valhalla. The game will be taking heed on a previously unexplored region and culture. There’s a lot of attention to detail needed in not just gameplay but presentation, music, and, most importantly, history.
People meme about how they learn more history with Assassin’s Creed games than in school, but that is only possible thanks to the painstaking detail the developers, writers, and studios put in to make each game a unique, time-hopping vacation adventure.
McDevitt made it clear he wanted to portray the historical Vikings in the way they are written about in addition to how they actually were. The more manpower the game has behind it, the better prepared it will be for launch.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will reach shores by the 2020 holiday season. So, sharpen those axes and don the war shields and axes! The time to raid is nigh!