Yesterday, Ubisoft revealed that the next Assassin’s Creed game will be called Valhalla and that it will focus around Vikings in England. The reveal was done through an 8-hour livestream of artist BossLogic creating feature artwork for the game. Today, we got a much more in-depth look at the game through both a 4-minute cinematic trailer and a full page for the game posted on Ubisoft’s website.
As has long been the standard for Assassin’s Creed games, the trailer is spectacular. It is safe to assume that most, if not all, of what is shown is not actually game engine footage, but if the actual game even comes close, this is going to be a gorgeous game. The trailer opens with a band of Vikings raiding, pillaging, and generally doing Viking things while being described as heathens and mindless brutes by a narrator who is revealed to be presumably a British king. This narration continues, but shows the Vikings playing with their families, allowing women and children to escape raids, and essentially proving to the audience that they are the good guys. We see some awesome boat footage, leading to a battle between the Vikings and the British soldiers. All seems lost until Eivor (our playable character) sees who he believes to be Odin (who sure looks like an Assassin in that hood) and rallies his men. Eivor has a showdown with a huge knight, which he appears to be losing until… Boom! Hidden blade through the eye.
The British officer watching the battle seems shocked by this and seems to recognize the weapon (which is mounted on top of the wrist this time, much like Darius from Odyssey) which implies that we will be returning to the tried and true Assassins versus Templars model of most Assassin’s Creed games, even though Odyssey and Origins (the two most recent games) largely avoided this narrative outside of the modern timeline.
“Build Your Own Viking Legend,” this is the tag that headlines the game’s website, this seems to be in the same vein as Odyssey‘s “write your own Odyssey,” but while Odyssey did allow some freedom that altered parts of the game, Valhalla seems to be embracing freedom in every way. Probably not the extent of freedom offered by say, Breath of the Wild, but Ubisoft is promising a choice between simply rating and fighting your way straight to victory, or taking a more strategic approach through alliances and tactics. Ubisoft explains how the game will play out like this:
Become Eivor, a mighty Viking raider and lead your clan from the harsh shores of Norway to a new home amid the lush farmlands of ninth-century England. Explore a beautiful, mysterious open world where you’ll face brutal enemies, raid fortresses, build your clan’s new settlement, and forge alliances to win glory and earn a place in Valhalla.
England in the age of the Vikings is a fractured nation of petty lords and warring kingdoms. Beneath the chaos lies a rich and untamed land waiting for a new conqueror. Will it be you?
Though not officially confirmed, it seems that you will control a totally customizable character – a first for an Assassin’s Creed game. Ubisoft’s site explains that your custom mercenaries can be shared online to join other players’ forces and that you, in turn, can recruit others to join yours. Interestingly, a large part of the game seems to be about growing your settlement and improving your troops by doing things like building barracks to strengthen them (which seems a bit like a mobile game mechanic). You will lead your troops into battle in raids, which will likely expand on the battle mechanics from Odyssey. There will also be a tattoo parlor of some kind which should add greatly to the customization of your character and is a huge part of Viking culture.
The site promises combat options such as dual-wielded axes, swords, and the return of shields to the game after Odyssey actively avoided them to improve combat flow. It seems likely that swords and axes won’t be the only option however, as both Odyssey and Origins featured many different weapon types, and at the very least we see spears in the trailer.
This was a lot of information from Ubisoft, but we still essentially know nothing about the plot, or how the game is going to work. Assassin’s Creed has changed a lot in the last few years, and it seems like with each of the last few we always say ‘Assassin’s Creed has finally fully embraced being an RPG.’ It seems however that now Origins and Odyssey were simply building up to this, which will feature much more customization than we have ever seen before in the series. Releasing across console generations as well, it should be the most beautiful game in the series as well.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is set to release this winter holiday season on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X, PS5, PC, and Stadia.