Last year, Ubisoft ingeniously placed an Assassin’s Creed Easter Egg in their looter shooter Division 2, which set the internet abuzz with rumors of a Nordic-themed Assassin’s Creed entry being in development. Ubisoft has now made it official that the next Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, is to be be set in a Viking age setting indeed.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Plot, Protagonist, and Location
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will take you back to the days of 9th century Scandinavia. The player will be assuming the role of Eivor, who is playable either as a woman or a man. Regardless of that decision, Eivor’s backstory and character arc will be the same on both occasions.
Ubisoft is no stranger to the dual protagonist format, as we have seen with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in 2018, but this time around, it’s more of an aesthetic selection only. Eivor is the sole torch-bearer of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla; you can only determine whether you want them to do so being a male or a female. You can also personalize hair, tattoo, war paint, and gear.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has been traditionally loyal to the authenticity of historical events. Of course, there are splashes of fiction here and there, but the developers have always tried to be as historically accurate as possible while depicting the game’s narrative. Thierry Noël, historian and content advisor of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, stresses the playability of Eivor as a woman is a nod to the gender equity many academics associate with Viking lore.
The archaeological sources are highly debated on that specific issue. But the fact is, and I think what’s really important, is that it was part of their conception of the world. Sagas and myths from Norse society are full of tough female characters and warriors. It was part of their idea of the world, that women and men are equally formidable in battle, and that’s something that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will reflect.Thierry Noël via Ubisoft blog
With resources becoming scarce in a war-torn, pre-medieval Norway, Eivor leads out his/her clan in search of a new home. The Vikings’ quest for a new habitat leads them to England, where they must overcome the resistance of the Saxons to establish their authority. Here’s the official synopsis released by Ubisoft:
Driven from Norway by endless wars and dwindling resources in the ninth century AD, players will lead Eivor’s clan of Norsemen across the icy North Sea to the rich lands of England’s broken kingdoms.
Players must carve out a new future for their clan, reliving the ruthless fighting style of Viking warriors with a revamped combat system that includes the ability to dual-wield weapons against a greater variety of enemies than ever before.
To secure resources players can lead raids to select locations using their longship to earn much-needed riches and resources. As the Vikings begin to settle in their new home, they encounter resistance from the Saxons including King Alfred of Wessex, who denounces them as heathens and looks to be the sole ruler of a civilized England. Against all odds, Eivor must do what is necessary to keep Valhalla within reach.Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Gameplay
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was the first in the franchise to adapt RPG mechanics instead of stealth mechanics, which became almost synonymous to the Assassin’s Creed brand. The franchise did rise to prominence using stealth elements, but embracing an RPG style made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey a brand new Assassin’s Creed experience that most of the fans were happy to enjoy.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla continues to add to the newfound RPG legacy in the series by introducing some nifty features. You can carry out raids, build settlements, and then make them stronger as you continue to expand your territory. The settlements, in particular, will be key to relishing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to its full extent. All story arcs will start and end here, and you would also get to observe how your decision making is affecting the people of your community. Base management has never been this much important in Assassin’s Creed before.
Longships will be the mode of maritime transportation. They will also influence raids and battles. Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director, clarified why longships will occupy such a consequential role in the game:
The Viking longships was a technology that was unique to the Norse and the Danes and the Vikings in this time period. If I was to give a metaphor, I would say: imagine that you have this empty highway – rivers – and you have a Ferrari and you can drive down this highway with nobody around you and no one able to chase you.
This is what gave Vikings the capacity to get so deep into the land, behind enemy lines. These ships carried cargo and raiders. The raiders were warriors that were proficient in combat. They were able to get in, steal a lot of stuff, and run away.Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Creator Director
The trailer gave us a hint of what to expect from the combat. We never saw this much bloodshed in any of the previous Assassin’s Creed titles, but increased violence was somewhat necessary to properly illustrate the nature of Viking warfare. For example, you can throw axes at enemies, which feels like a tribute to God of War’s Leviathan Axe. Additionally, the double wield option is available for almost all weapon combos. If you want to cosplay a turtle and double up on shields, you can do that too.
It has been confirmed that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be present day playable. So, you may meet previous Assassin’s Creed modern character Layla Hassan at some point in the game. Unfortunately though, the game will have no co-op feature.
The Hidden Blade No Longer Hidden
The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla trailer also gave us a sneak peek at the new Hidden Blade, which indicates players will have access to the classic weapon without having to buy any expansion packs. However, the Hidden Blade reveal drew mixed reactions from the Assassin’s Creed fanbase, as it appeared barely hidden from plain sight. Ismail did describe his thoughts on this take of the Hidden Blade, stating it was part of the context and fantasy of the setting.
We’re building a Viking fantasy. We wanted players to live in the boots of a Viking warrior and to fully live within that fantasy, but this is within the Assassin’s Creed world. And so, in our journey Eivor does meet with Assassins. Eivor doesn’t necessarily know what that means, but there is some kind of common ground that they have and these are people that Eivor will work with.
At some point, Eivor does receive a hidden blade – that’s something that happens quite early on. We don’t want to get into any spoiler territory or explain why the connection is there, but it is something that’s very important and significant to the journey of this game. And so when Eivor receives this hidden blade, Eivor puts it on and believes that this is such a kick-ass weapon so why would you want to hide it from your enemies?Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Creator Director
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Release Date
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is set to debut this Holiday season on PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Stadia, PS5, and PS4. It will initially launch on Epic Games Store and Uplay Launcher. A Steam release date is expected to be announced sometime later.
You can pre-order the game in Gold (base game+season pass), Ultimate (base game+season pass+Ultimate pass), and Collector’s Edition (base game+season pass+Ultimate pass+collectibles).
So that’s all we currently know about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. We’ll provide updates as the release date approaches, including any potential delays as the holiday season approaches.