Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will refresh elements of the previous Assassin’s Creed games while offering an all new setting and historical period for players to explore (via Eurogamer).
Speaking to Eurogamer, lead producer Julien Laferrière delved into the features and mechanics of Valhalla. The cinematic trailer sets up the story conflict between our Viking hero and King Alfred the Great of England, the latter of whom isn’t very pleased about those little invasions that keep happening. The king describes the warriors as “heartless,” yet there will be a beating heart to Valhalla’s core experience.
Though the story begins in Scandinavia, the game will give players their own Viking settlement in England. “It’s your own Viking village you’ll see prosper and grow, and which your clan mates will live in,” explained Laferrière. “It’s at the centre of our quests and the centre of the decisions you make. We want players to see the consequences of their actions.” It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Homestead in Assassin’s Creed III, or the train in Syndicate, and symbolises one more step towards the total embrace of an Assassin’s Creed RPG.
“It really changed the shape of the game we were making," he continued. “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. It changes the way we’re playing the game we’re making—at least, that’s the bet we’re making.” Ubisoft announced that almost a third of all of its studios were working on Valhalla, which was something that made me feel rather faint. In my playthroughs, swathes of the world in both Origins and Odyssey are shrouded in shadow, and I wasn’t very keen on another yomp across the countryside. This settlement idea has me intrigued, and the player will also forge alliances and break relationships through their choices at the campfire.
The protagonist of Valhalla is Eivor, and they may be a man or a woman, though you wouldn’t have guessed that from the artwork, nor the trailer. The marketing for the upcoming game will “showcase both at different points,” which is different from the official reveal for Odyssey, making me wonder why Ubisoft chose to change tack. Eivor’s appearance is customisable with beards, tattoos, and war paint, and their gear and Viking longboat will have a few design options, too. “We want you to be playing the ultimate Viking fantasy, so you’ll get to have your Viking buddies going with you on a longship,” said Laferrière. “Sometimes you’ll get resources to take back and upgrade your settlement, or maybe additional firepower to help take down higher level bandits in the region.”
The culture of the Norsemen is one of the most interesting aspects of these historical people, and Ubisoft will let it shine in Valhalla. “We’re obviously using the mythology,” added the lead producer. “We have found a cool way of integrating that with our lore which for today goes into major spoiler territory. But what I’ll say is their gods were part of their daily life. They were believed to be roaming the earth, involved in fights—that was part of the Viking spirituality. And that’s how we treat it in the game, which is true to beliefs and practices at the time.” The avian companion in Valhalla will be the raven, who has a “bunch of new abilities” that “rewards players for their curiosity.”
Lastly, Laferrière confirmed that the game is a single-player outing “with many online components, encouraging players to share their progress and creativity,” and there is a playable present-day story.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is in development for the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, and Stadia, and will launch in holiday 2020.