The latest game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise was officially unveiled earlier this year, and fans seem to be hyped for it. Titled Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, this entry will put players in control of a Viking warrior who must conquer and build for the glory of Odin. There’s lots of information we gathered from the game’s handful of trailers, especially the one shown during the recent Ubisoft Forward event.
From its gameplay to its release date, story, and more, this is everything we know about Ubisoft’s upcoming Viking adventure, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
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The Assassin’s Creed series jumps around to various settings throughout world history, and Valhalla takes place during the Viking invasions of England (at the time a collection of smaller kingdoms such as Wessex and Mercia), which began near the end of the 8th century. Players will control Eivor, a Viking raider who will lead excursions into England to fight, conquer, and build Norse settlements in the British Isles. Opposing the Vikings is Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, who led the Anglo-Saxon resistance to the Viking invaders. Obviously, Ubisoft hasn’t given everything away about its story, but for the most part, it seems to be in line with some of the recent entries in the series.
Speaking of which, we also got confirmation from the game’s Narrative Director, Darby McDevitt, that Valhalla would continue the stories introduced in Origins and Odyssey. In speaking with GameSpot, McDevitt explained that Ubisoft “did a lot of thinking about how to connect all the games, at least the lore of all the games, to make it feel like everything we’ve done over the past dozen games has little feelers and little entry points into this game.”
Origins and Odyssey both felt like their own contained games, but offered lots of overarching lore to those who wanted to dive down the rabbit hole. It’ll be fascinating to see how that lore continues in Valhalla and how that game will connect to the others.
The game will lean into the RPG elements that people enjoyed from recent entries like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Players can decide to make Eivor male or female and will be able to customize their protagonist with various clothing, tattoos, and accessories. You’ll also be able to change from male to female whenever you want, along with their skill tree. As explained by game director Eric Baptizat, whichever option you choose will have an effect on the game’s story.
“It was important to make this option available for the player. It’s something that the player can decide for the way they want to play, because it has some impact on the narrative — but it’s not two different stories. It’s the same story of the character — whatever options your character decides,” Baptizat said to GamesRadar.
In Odyssey, players would actually miss out on some of the narrative depending on whether they chose to play as Alexios or Kassandra. In Valhalla, that will not be the case, thankfully, as Ubisoft wants players to “experience all the possibilities of the game” without having to restart.
One of the most notable elements of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is its emphasis on combat over stealth. Whereas previous entries in the series rewarded players for taking the road less violent, Valhalla encourages players to embrace full-on conflict with swords, axes, and other medieval weaponry — all of which can be customized to your liking. Customization will play a large role, and equipping different skills and gear will give players multiple options for how to approach various scenarios.
The game is so entrenched in brutality that it has a Mortal Kombat-esque X-ray function that enables players to see their weapons penetrate the insides of their enemies, which Game Director Benoit Richer confirmed in a tweet.
1. We're looking forward to reveal more soon :)
2. It happens during gameplay / player triggered
— Benoit Richer (@BenoitRicher) July 15, 2020
Based on preview builds of Valhalla, it seems combat will be a lot slower than previous entries — which isn’t a bad thing. It looks like you’ll need to be much more deliberate with your attacks, but it still very much resembles the combat from recent installments. And of course, the in-depth skill trees you know and love will make their return, offering lots of ways to tailor the combat to your playstyle based on ranged, up-close, and stealth strands.
The Vikings are legendary for their fighting prowess, but they were also fantastic explorers and traders. Valhalla explores these other aspects of Viking culture by having players build a settlement as their home base in England. Players will be able to create and upgrade structures which provide distinct benefits; for example, a barracks to provide better troops. These settlements will serve as a safe place, not unlike the camps in Red Dead Redemption 2. As the leader of a Viking settlement, Eivor apparently won’t have to solve all their problems with violence, but can also negotiate and form alliances as they expand their reach.
Settlements will also sort of change the way you go about moving forward throughout the story. “Instead of exploring one territory, then moving on to another and having no real opportunity or reason to return, the settlement changes the structure. So you’ll go on an adventure and then be encouraged to come back to your settlement” Valhalla’s Lead Producer Julien Laferrière told Eurogamer.
With the motivation to keep returning to the settlement, it seems the pacing will feel different from typical open-world games — something we’re on board for. This is one of the many things that could give Valhalla a feeling of freshness during an age of oversaturation when it comes to open-world action games.
The series has experimented with multiplayer in the past, and Valhalla will allow players to create custom “mercenary” Vikings to share with other players. You’ll be able to send your raiders to assist others or recruit your friends’ mercenaries to help in your own campaign. This new mode seems to replace the idea of a traditional, seamless co-op adventure, which we haven’t seen in an Assassin’s Creed game since 2014’s Unity.
With the game being a few months out from release, we don’t anticipate Ubisoft making an announcement of a traditional co-op mode being featured in Valhalla. So, while it won’t include side-by-side cooperative multiplayer, you’ll still be able to indirectly assist your friends with the mercenary you’ve built.
The quest system used in previous Assassin’s Creed titles will be slightly altered in Valhalla, for reasons of realism. Because Valhalla’s main character Eivor is an outsider to England, a foreign invader, it wouldn’t make sense for players to receive a ton of side missions from the locals.
In an interview with Gamespot, narrative director Darby McDevitt explained that the game’s story will be unlocked through the main questline, but there will be almost zero typical side quests. Instead of asking NPCs for missions, players will have to explore to discover additional activities or “world events” found throughout the game. It’s unknown how sparse these world events will be, or if there will be things you can do to trigger them to spawn.
Implementing such a system sounds like a different approach, which makes sense given the context of the story, but from a gameplay perspective, we hope it doesn’t incorporate an element of randomness. This new system could help alleviate the criticisms that recent Assassin’s Creed entries have felt very bloated, particularly with its side quests.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will release for PS4, Xbox One, PC (via Epic Games), and Google Stadia on November 17, 2020. It will also be headed to PS5 and Xbox Series X at an unspecified date (though we believe it’ll be the same day as other platforms).
You can pre-order whichever edition you’d like from the official Ubisoft website here. Multiple special editions are available, in addition to the standard $60 version. A super-expensive Collector’s Edition was available on the U.S. Ubisoft store for $199.99, but it sold out rather quickly. You can still grab it on the EU Ubisoft store here.
The Collector’s Edition includes:
- Female Eivor figure
- Ultimate Edition of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (includes game, Season Pass, and Ultimate Pack)
- Viking statuette of Eivor
- Exclusive box
- Game soundtrack
- Three lithographs
Regardless of which version you get, pre-ordering will net you The Way of the Berserker bonus mission, at no additional cost.
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