Known Details and Some Speculation
Last night Ubisoft launched the trailer for the new game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The franchise focuses on the Assassin Brotherhood’s fight against the Templars (Yes, those templars) across time. All of which is loosely held together by an increasingly vague modern-day plotline. The twelfth game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, is set to come out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, as well as next generation’s, PS5 and Xbox Series X in the fourth quarter of this year. The game is being made by Ubisoft Montreal, who have been making the series interchangeably with Ubisoft Quebec.
Set during the Viking invasion of England in the 9th century, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood takes place predominantly in Norway and a vast majority of England. You will be playing as an invading Viking named Eivor, who can be male or female. This makes sense as while men were predominantly the warriors in Viking society, there were also the shieldmaidens and in more mythological sense the Valkyrie. So, to have a female Player Character is valid.
The developers have already confirmed that the Saxons and particularly Alfred or Ælfrǣd the Great are the enemies of this game. This is interesting as Alfred was known for driving the Vikings out of Wessex. The developers specifically refer to Alfred as the King of Wessex, placing the game at roughly 871-886AD. They have also confirmed that along with Wessex (which went from Exeter up to Liverpool), Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia are also all playable.
As to why Eivor is leaving Norway for Anglo-Saxon England, this is likely due to war, harsh lifestyle and politics. However, there may also be personal reasons of course, but at this time that is pure speculation. He is not alone and when he arrives in England, he intends to build a settlement. It is this settlement which he defends and expands throughout the game. It is possible the settlement will grow like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag’s Inagua Settlement or Ezio’s villa in Assassin’s Creed II, or even Far Cry Primal’s Oros. The settlement can affect game play too, and it is implied to be part of the protagonist’s personal story and goal of leaving a legacy. The game has choices, i.e. specific phrases in dialogue trees allow you to form allegiances, or you could go to war and take part in raids. In turn these will help your settlement grow and change its culture. It is likely the settlement will be a hub where the player can partake in drinking or flyting (Duel of Insults) and take on hunting tasks.
Another aspect of Viking life portrayed in-game is its religion. In the trailer, Eivor sees an old man who becomes a raven during a stormy battle and interprets it as Odin encouraging them. Additionally, ravens and Wolves who represent Odin in Norse mythology. It has been confirmed that instead of Eagle vision we will have Raven vision. During the trailer, a woman with antlers is shown applying war paint on Eivor. In Norse mythology antlers represent Loki, the trickster god, who is Odin’s brother. The Ultimate Pack has a set of runes, which will be used to augment the various abilities of your weapons, this may imply that the other Vikings may interpret Eivor’s Assassin Eagle vision as shaman powers.
As mentioned above there is an allegiance system in the game, which could well act like the allegiance system with the Rooks in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5. Along with faster loading times, there will be a big update to combat, which was last revised in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. In the trailer, we see Eivor partake in big battles and raids against the Saxons. It has been confirmed that there will be some naval combat, but it is not as robust as Odyssey or Black Flag. It has been confirmed there will be more weapons in this game and the gear system has been revamped to be more customisable.
Speaking of customisation, in interviews it has been confirmed there is apparently more options offered to personalise your character than there to were in Odyssey. In addition to Eivor being either male or female and being able to wear different armour with differing colours, the players will be able to customise Eivor’s war paint, hair, and gear. According to the developers, the gear has even been revamped so that players can further change aspects of their weaponry. Additionally, it has been confirmed there is a multiplayer where players can use their customised Vikings online.
Here is where we fall into speculation. It is likely the modern plotline will follow Templar turned Assassin Layla Hassan again. Meanwhile, we can speculate on what Eivor’s personal journey could be. During a sequence where Eivor takes an oath we see him stroke the cheek of a boy. There is also a similarly looking girl playing with him. The children are seen again in a settlement later in the trailer. Are these Eivor’s children, tying into the theme of legacy? During a battle we see an old man die, is this Eivor’s father. Is that why Eivor hates Alfred? He killed their Dad and is now threatening their kids.
We already know that the pre-order DLC is called Way of the Berserker (which sounds similar to D&D 5e’s Barbarian Path of the Berserker in my opinion), the plot of which has Eivor join a legendary Norse berserker on a revenge quest. Who is this berserker? Are we going into myths and it will be Beowulf? Or will it be more legendary characters such as Ragnar or Lagertha?
So far that is all I can find on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as some personal speculation. I will be sure to update you when I know more.
(Interesting to note, but as I have had to re-watch a trailer a few time, I noticed that most of the writing on Alfred’s decree is in an Old English script (I am not sure how accurate it is) but then in plain Modern English it has “There will be War” and then Alfred’s name is written in OE script. This is definitely a bizarre choice.)
Thank you to guest editor Jackie Johnson for editing this article!