After months of speculation, Ubisoft officially confirmed the next Assassin’s Creed game will be set during the Viking Age with a breathtaking trailer reveal. Entitled Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the game sees you take control of a Viking warrior as you lead your clan into battle against the Saxons, with the stealth elements of previous games replaced with large-scale battles and new combat features. The trailer hints at a more bloody RPG-centric game that will hopefully elevate the series to another level. With so much information floating around the internet on the much hyped title, we thought we’d save you the trouble of searching dozens of sites by bringing together all the key things you need to know ahead of its 2020 release.
Raiding villages and hacking foes
Setting the game in the era of Vikings is a masterstroke and one that I’m particularly excited about. The release of the first trailer doesn’t give too much away about the plot, but the official synopsis does provide a bit more background on your characters motivations.
“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-0need riches and resources. As the Vikings being 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 civilised England. Against all odds, Eivor must do what is necessary to keep Valhalla within reach.”
If that doesn’t get you excited then how about the ability to not only play as a male or female lead, but in a first for the series, you’ll be able to customise your character’s appearance through hair, tattoos and war paint.
Take on the English empire
Creative director Ashraf Ismail also confirmed in an interview with BBC Click that the game would be set in the 9th century. While players will be able to explore both with Norway and England, the majority of the action will play out in the four kingdoms of England.
“Norway is quite big on its own but if we talk about England specifically, that’s where the majority of the game takes place,” Ismail said. “We have four kingdoms in England so it’s Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia and Wessex. We have major cities like Winchester, London, York – or Jorvik at the time period.”
Interestingly, Valhalla will also take place in the present day, with lead producer Julien Laferriere telling Eurogamer, “We’ve found a way to blend the present day into a new type of experience for players. And present day is playable – I can confirm that.” What this will entail is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure it will involve Abstergo Industries and the Animus in some capacity.
Longships will be an important aspect of gameplay
The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed games has predominately been a mixture of stealth and combat, and while Valhalla is set to continue in this mould, there will be a focus on water travel using longships, sail-and-oar vessels that Vikings used to travel across oceans. In a developer’s commentary video from creative director Ashraf Ismail and narrative director Darby McDevitt, the two explain how longships will be integral for travelling down rivers and discovering new lands where you’ll be able to perform hit and run raids on villages or battle foes on the water. These raids will be a big part of the action where your mission may involve finding a specific locations or stealing riches from certain NPCs.
Bloodier action with more RPG elements
If the trailer is anything to go by, Valhalla will be the bloodiest and most violent Assassin’s Creed game yet. Brutal battles on English soil with axes and swords seem the order of the day. As well as performing acts of extreme violence, Ubisoft are introducing more RPG elements, with a focus on growing your settlements and building power and honour amongst your clan. You’ll also be able to construct new buildings, such as barracks and a blacksmith, as your village grows, with customisable options and upgrades also available.
There won’t be a co-op, but there will be romance
In an unusual move Ubisoft have confirmed there will be no multiplayer or co-op play with Valhalla. This will strictly be a single player game, which is quite disappointing as the chance to lead raids on villages with a group of mates online would have been a fantastic addition to the game and provided longevity. On the flipside, a new feature will be the ability to indulge in a romance. While details aren’t clear on what this entails, it’s believed you’ll be able to have a partner in the game and weddings will play a large part in strengthening bloodlines and respect amongst clans.
Expect a late year release
Ubisoft have stated Valhalla will hit shelves during “Holiday 2020,” which is sometime between October and December. The release date coincides with both the new PS5 and Xbox Series X, so there’s a good chance Valhalla could be a launch title. For those not planning on forking out the big bucks for the new consoles have no fear, as Valhalla will also be released on PS4, Xbox One, Stadia and PC.