Even in games that strive to immerse you in the most detailed and accurate representation of a time and place possible, you’re likely to find at least one Easter egg that breaks that sense of place. The genre where developers have the most opportunity to tuck these little secrets in without risking the immersion most is open-world games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where there are plenty of nooks, crannies, and even side quests to insert a little nod or reference to other media and real life.
With a game this large, there are a ton of great Easter eggs you’re going to miss if you just play the game normally. Here are the best Easter eggs we’ve been able to find so far in Valhalla.
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You might say this is the Dark Souls of … sorry, I can’t even finish that sentence. Despite how tired the joke is, Dark Souls is still one of the most influential RPGs of the last decade, not just in terms of mechanics, but also Easter eggs. References to this game pop up in even the most unexpected games, and in Valhalla, you can find yourself resting at the iconic bonfire from the series. By going to the Ratae Bureau in Mercia, you can find the bonfire by heading southwest into an abandoned and crumbling castle. Go inside to find the bonfire, complete with the sword plunged into it.
There are few games that can claim to be as influential as the Zelda franchise, and there are a ton of sources to draw from when considering Easter eggs. In this particular case, the developers decided to go with one of the more humorous aspects of the franchise. If you go into a prison cell inside Dunwic, you will find a skeleton with nothing around him but a bunch of chickens. Unlike other chickens, if you decide to take a swing at them, they will swarm you just like the cuccos from many Zelda titles.
This one is kind of meta, but hey, the Assassin’s Creed series has been going strong for over a decade now, and Ubisoft has been known to throw in Easter eggs to their other series in plenty of games, so why not toss some in Valhalla? First is an audio file you can listen to if you exit the animus and explore Layla’s laptop in the modern day. On the laptop, by selecting Media on the desktop, you will find two files named Desmond_01.WAV and Desmond_02.WAV. Without spoiling the contents of these files, they are a clear shoutout to the main protagonist of the series up until Assassin’s Creed III. What’s even better is that they seemed to have gotten Nolan North, Desmond’s original voice actor, back to record these files.
Another shoutout to a previous protagonist is a bit more subtle. In Ravensthorpe, you can overhear Reda telling a story to some kids that very closely follows the events of Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Bayek.
While we’re getting a little meta, one of the most talked-about Easter eggs found has certainly been the reference to the real world COVID-19 pandemic. Again, using the laptop while outside the animus, you can check your emails. Scroll through and find the ones titled :RE: Disappearing for a while…” and “RE: No … from Ramy.” In them, Layla will explain that she does not have COVID and is currently isolating with Sean and Rebecca. It is just a small touch, but not out of character for the series. The entire premise of the Desmond series of games was on preventing the 2012 apocalypse, after all.
Back on the lighter side of things, there is a minor reference to the prequel novels and films in the Harry Potter universe. By collecting all the scattered pages around Ravensthorpe, you can reconstruct it and see it is called “Fantastic Fish and Where to Find Them.” This is a clear nod to the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and seems to be nothing more than just a fun little reference.
A slightly larger and more intricate Easter egg to the world of witchcraft and wizardry is in London. A specific cabin can be found that has a curious snake guarding the door. Kill it and go inside to find a note called Strange List. This list contains “Diary, Ring, Locket, Cup, Diadem, Snake, and ???” Fans of the series will instantly recognize these as a partial list of Voldemort’s Horcruxes from the Harry Potter books.
Who wouldn’t expect even a small reference to The Lord of the Rings, considered by many to be the granddaddy of modern fantasy? In this case, the reference goes beyond just a small Easter egg and into a full-blown location. By heading to the Western side of Gloucester in the game’s map, you can come across a town unlike any other in the game. The homes are all either partially built into the land, or at the very least covered in moss to make them appear that way. The entire area looks suspiciously like Hobbiton from the books, though a human-sized version of it. If that wasn’t enough, you can find a very interesting note inside of of the houses that states: “One of the little folk asked me to make the door smaller, as he wants to keep unruly houseguests from his home. After the nonsense with the druid last fall, I can see his point.” Without using the words “Hobbit” and “Wizard” this note is about as on the nose as it can get, especially when you zoom in on the note and see a gold ring resting on a sealed letter.
There’s also a side quest you can take on from a very interesting Norseman living alone on a small island. He will ask you to find a certain lost arm ring in a sunken ship. When you retrieve it, it will be labeled as the “Precious Arm-ring.”
Despite being more recent than most of the references on this list, it is likely that this reference to the internet classic Homestar Runner will go unnoticed by the majority of players. In the tattoo shop, there is a note you can collect called “Tove’s Tattoo Ideas.” Written here is an idea for a tattoo of “a dragon, breathing fire, with the wings of a bat and arms of a man … the dragon’s arms are very muscular.” Clearly, this is referencing Strong Bad’s creation of the dragon Trogdor from the classic internet series of old. The only downside is that you can’t actually get the tattoo for yourself.
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