In April, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was announced for release in November 2020. As the name suggests, the game follows the story of a Viking warrior, named Eivor. The game will predominantly be set in England and the map is going to be HUGE!
Since April there have been cinematic trailers, play testers and gameplay leaks. After scouring the internet for rumours, confirmations and hours and hours of footage, here is an overview of what we know so far…
Assassin’s Creed Gameplay and Plot
The play style for Valhalla is similar to AC: Odyssey, which was the first in the franchise to offer multiple endings and RPG elements. The game will be set in an immersive open world with one of the biggest maps we have seen.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla brings back a base for your character, in the form of a customizable settlement. This is something that hasn’t been included since AC IV: Black Flag. There will also be the option to customise Eivor’s appearance, as well as being able to choose their gender. In another nod to Black Flag, Ubisoft has players chasing papers in the wind again, this time for tattoo designs.
NPCs will be a little less generic, there will still be some of the usual ‘grunts’ undoubtedly but a significant number of them will have their own personality. What does this mean? It means NPCs may be more or less likely to join you in battle or be intimidated by you depending on their personality. You will also be able to have more interactions and build relationships with a lot of them. The relationships in Odyssey were a fun addition but a little two dimensional – it was basically “Yes, sex” or “No, not sex”.
Civilians getting in the way is classic Assassin’s Creed. There hasn’t been a single main release game that didn’t have players shouting and cursing at them for being an absolute nuisance. In Odyssey they actually fought back and attacked you for crimes, which meant there was no desynchronization for killing them. Well, Valhalla will bring back the desynchronization for killing civilians. This move has upset some bloodthirsty fans, and others have pointed out that the Vikings would have killed anyone they wanted, so perhaps a little unrealistic.
Layla will return in the modern day element of the game. Ubisoft will be keeping players grounded in the premise of the franchise (whether they like it or not!). It will be interesting to see how things played out after what we saw in Odyssey but don’t worry, no spoilers here!
Play testers have said that this game will bring together the history of previous games without drawing them to a close. This could mean there will be some clarification about how and when The Hidden Ones became the Assassin Order. It could also mean that players get some more answers about what is going on in the modern day parts of the game.
The combat style in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will obviously draw elements from previous games – we will see the return of the “hidden” blade in functionality at least. The blade will be very much visible. The fighting style in open combat is appropriate to the brutality of the setting. It is strong, vicious and bloody. Some critics have commented that this fighting style is too heavy and not smooth enough; a common complaint with Assassin’s Creed III. It stands to reason that close combat with an axe would not be as fast as the combat with Evie Frye’s much smaller blade, for example. Players will have to consider the weapons they are using and the period the game is set in.
The enemies you face will be a lot more varied than we have seen in previous games; some will be more intimidated by you than others and their reactions to you will change. You will be able to raid settlements with your crew, presumably you will all be fighting together.
Skills and Upgrades
AC: Valhalla does away with the level system from recent AC games but you will still need to earn XP in order to skill up. As in Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Odyssey there will be three damage types. Choose from Assassin, Hunter and Warrior damage and build your skillset to match your preferred fighting style.
Unlocking skills requires you to fill your XP meter repeatedly to get skill points. Skill points are spent on the ‘skill tree’ to learn new abilities and increase your power. The skill tree will be much more complex and in depth than any we have seen in other Assassin’s Creed games, but worth the grind for some very cool abilities.
Weapons and Armour
Every single bit of gear in the game will be unique. Rather than switching around mismatched gear you will be able to start and end the game with the same weapons and armour. Upgrades will be available as the game progresses but weapons are to be treasured, not discarded.
Shields have made a comeback and so have different bow types, both last seen in Origins. This will make it easier for players to fight in their preferred way; they were certainly missed in Odyssey.
The game is set in Anglo-Saxon England, 873AD – 84 years after the first recorded Viking attack on the British Isles. This is a brilliant move by Ubisoft, given the popularity of shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom. Players will be able to explore a large portion of England by land and by longboat.
One element of this game which will be interesting to explore is the gathering of forces. A previously unseen feature that is historically important. Part of what made the Vikings so fierce was the way they built their armies. Being able to engage in that part of history will entirely change the way those parts of the game are played.
Fun things to do in-game
The game will feature some fun little distractions and mini-games. You will be able get drunk, take part in drinking games and even have a drunken archery contest. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you could engage in the Viking equivalent to a rap battle; Flyting.
If you are after a bit more peace and quiet then try cairn building. This stone stacking activity will either quiet your mind or drive you mad. The cairns are marked locations – it is likely they will need completing for full sync – so do them as you go!
The crew on your ship will tell stories, sometimes even about Eivor. You can set sail, sit back and listen to some tall tales on your journey. That isn’t even the best thing about your crew, you can also bring cats along for the ride!
More about the Assassin’s Creed franchise here