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Breakdowns

Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Cinematic Trailer Breakdown

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5/5/20                                   By Colum Blackett                                     Edited by Ashlea Buckley

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The dust has now settled, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Thursday 7th May, the day that we finally get to see gameplay for Assassin's Creed Valhalla. There's no doubt that the graphics are going to be incredible, as the game will be releasing on next gen consoles alongside Xbox One, PS4, Stadia and PC.

This is our breakdown of the Cinematic World Premiere Trailer, looking at every aspect of the reveal.

 

We have a ton of AC Valhalla content lined up, and the journey is only just beginning.

About the Author

Col is the Community Admin for The Ones Who Came Before, and one of the UK Assassin's Creed community ambassadors.

He is also a former Ubisoft Star Player, and has spent the last 5 years working within the Assassin's Creed community on countless projects.

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Colum Blackett

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The trailer begins with a shot looking over the water towards a small town, which is most likely where we will begin our adventure. This looks to be the home of Eivor and his clan and is located in Norway. Notice that the town is built underneath a mountain. 

In 873 AD, war and overcrowding in Norway prompts Eivor to lead their clan of Vikings to settle new lands in Anglo-Saxon England.

The narrator begins by telling us that "they are heartless", as the viking warrior embraces his children. This is a clear contrast, and makes it sound like the narrator is describing them from the point of view of a Saxon. In the background you can see members of the clan living their lives and performing daily tasks. We can see two men carrying items, one being a crate of what appears to be fruit. The man who hugs his children looks to be taking a break from wood cutting. It's clear that this is just an ordinary day for the clan, who are all performing tasks.

The axe buried in the wood is picked up by another warrior, presumably Eivor. The young children turn around and you can see what appears to be surprise on the young boy's face.

In the next shot, we see the same children stood with their father. The Northern Lights can be seen in the backgoround, and the boy is now holding an axe. Could this be a gift from Eivor?

Eivor strokes the boy's face, and receives a nod from the father, suggesting that he is a popular member of the clan. 

Here we see a statue of Odin, the god of wisdom, poetry, death, divination and magic in Norse mythology. He is one of the principal gods, and is often described as being a wise, one-eyed man who walks the earth testing humanity. As a wanderer, Odin sees and hears everything, so Vikings knew that their every action could please or displease gods such as Odin. He oversees Valhalla, and will no doubt be an important figure in the game.

 

This appears to be a ceremony, and potentially a sacrifice to the 'all-father', in the hopes that he will view the clan favourably.

Next we see a 'seer'or shaman, a member of the clan with the 'sight'. These were individuals with the ability to foretell future occurrences and know the will of the gods. They could create prophecies, and often conducted the rituals.  In this shot we see her marking runes with blood,.

The bowl is full of blood, probably from the sacrifice of a cow or other animal. You can see a distinct tattoo on the seer's hand.

 

Could this be an ancient Viking symbol? What does it mean?

You can see the distinct outfit worn by the seer in more detail here. Notice the horns, brass and jewellery as she smears Eivor with blood. This is known as a 'blot' sacrifice, where an exchange was made to gain the god's goodwill. The blood would first be collected and then spattered on altars, walls and ritual participants. The animal's meat would then be eaten by all in attendance.

Sources:

The Viking Blot Sacrifice

Eivor has the blood 'blot' applied to his face. You can see the seer's tattoo better in the shot.

Eivor embraces the ritual. You can see that he has a tattoo on the side of his head. You will be able to customise this in the game.

Four ships leave the fjord at dawn, potentially carrying up to 40 people each. Notice that the entire village has gone down to the docks to watch the warriors leave. Not all of the men would reach England alive, as dangers such as rogue waves or strong winds could blow the boats completely off course.

On the left we see a bird fly accross the screen. Could this be the new raven companion, or does it represent Odin watching over?

Next we see multiple ships travelling across the North sea. The figurehead on Eivor's looks like a dragon, no doubt added to terrify enemies. You can see a couple of shields painted with different colours and patterns in this shot. The sails are all green and white, along with the paint on the boat. Could these be the clan colours?

This shot is particularly reminiscent of Ezio's journey in the AC Revelations trailer. Could it be a call back?

Arrival, most likely on the East coast of England in the Kingdom of Northumberland or Wessex. 

Meeting the locals. You can see the brutality of the Vikings in the shot, as the narrator says "they murder and kill blindly".

This isn't completely true though, as we see Eivor prevent a fellow warrior from cutting down a woman and her two children. This shows that Eivor has a degree of mercy. Looking at the chaos though, it's clear that he might be the only one there with a conscience.

Villages burning everywhere. Notice that the church/ cathedral on the hill is untouched. This is because it would have been looted last because of the heavy treasures it would house.

This is a great transitions that shows the two different sides of a Viking warrior. It goes from killing to play fighting with the kids. This suggests that the game will give us an in depth look at the life of a Viking warrior, rather than just the brutality.

Here we see the clan establishing a settlement in the UK. You can see the frames being constructed, the building blocks of the new village/town.

The narrator says "they scar the lands of England", but the settlement looks pretty peaceful and content. Another contrast to the reality of life as a Viking.

Another effigy, this time resembling a piece from the Lewis Chessman set. It's probably Odin again to protect the land.

Blue skies and sunshine in the UK. Pretty rare....

First look at Alfred the Great, King of Wessex from 871 to c. 886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. He prevented England from falling to the Danes and promoted learning and literacy.

He's probably going to be one of the main antagonists in the game though, suggesting that the 'real' (via the animus) history was actually different. Maybe he wasn't so great?

"The time has come, to speak to them in a language they will understand"

Looks like a declaration of war. Will there ever be peace?

This shot seems to confirm this.

 

A war is coming.

Could this be a playable battle?

The Royal seal, featuring King Alfred himself. 

If you look at coins from the period, you can see that Ubisoft have done their homework. Look at the similarities!

Images source: The Royal Mint

King Alfred's outfit appears to draw inspiration from traditional depictions. Here's an example. You can definitely see the similarities.

Alfred snuffs out the candle, similar to how he plans to snuff out the Viking raids by defeating them in battle. 

Here we see the Viking longboat using the oars, most likely to navigate a river rather than the sea. You can also see the shields placed upon a rack. Easy to grab if arrows come flying down.

The calm before the storm.

Time to grab the shields. It's likely that enemies will use flaming arrows in the game.

With a shout from Eivor, the shield wall is formed. You can see all the various patterns in this shot.

Not everyone survives the storm of flaming arrows, but you can see Eivor defend himself on the right.

 

Shields save lives.

Prime example. I wonder if these assaults on the boats will happen in the game. 

Destroying boats would be a massive loss for Vikings, as they are the only way of travelling back home to Norway. On the right you can see a figurehead on fire. The survivors wade through the water to avenge the fallen,

It's interesting to see how different the Viking warriors look. You can see the different furs and shades in this shot. 

Blink and you'll miss it. During the battle, we see blood hit the screen. Brutal scenes right here.

Decapitation is an ability in the game, according to a recent article by GamesRadar.

If it's anything like this scene in the trailer, then it's going to be crazy for finishing enemies.

Another enemy is dispatched with a pike being thrown across the battlefield, another ability we could potentially see in the game. Axe throwing has already been confirmed, so you never know.

Here we see a warrior impaling an enemy before being cut down by Saxon forces. 

A warrior is speared from behind, as he was distracted with another enemy. This gives us an idea of how enemies will work together to overcome Eivor, and combine attacks to exploit weaknesses.

Eivor demonstrates the axe throwing ability, but it's too late to save his friend.

Eivor places the warriors hands on the axe, something which will help him enter Valhalla. This is a mark of respect. The Viking equivalent to Requiescat in pace.

Duel wielding in action. Notice the two axes.

Eivor spots Odin mid-battle. This could be another potential callback to the Assassin's Creed Revelations trailer, where Ezio spots Altair. According to Ashraf, Eivor believes he can see Odin. 

Could Odin be another name for a member of the First Civilisation? 

A raven flies overhead, and Eivor shouts "Odin is with us".

This is because in Norse mythology, Odin has two ravens, Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory).

Could this be a sign from the gods, or Eivor's raven companion?

Here we see a new enemy type known as "the ringleader", who have the ability to rally troops. They have very few available weak points, suggesting only certain body parts can be attacked such as legs which are less armoured.

Enemies have varied attacks, and will provide more of a challenge than in previous games. Here we see Eivor knocked to the ground before another attack.

Eivor exploits the weakness. Notice, the raven is still circling overhead.

Eivor's axe is completely destroyed by the ringleader, something we have not seen before in AC games. Historically, Saxon steel was tougher but heavier than Viking weaponry.

Defeated, Eivor only has one trick left up his sleeve. The ringleader looks to his master, who gives the signal to end him.

Another weakness is exploited, this time attacking Ringleader's eye. Here we get a first glance at the new hidden blade, which Eivor is wearing on top of his forearm rather than the traditional method of attaching to the wrist. This way of using the blade means that a sacrifice of a finger is not required. It's worth noting that Darius also used the blade in this manner.

According to Ashraf and Darby, Eivor does not want to hide this weapon, and displays it proudly for all to see. It certainly is a unique take on an iconic weapon. 

Giant killer.

This stance looks a bit like Alexios on the Odyssey keyart.

Sheer terror. Even the horse looks scared.

Final shot of the trailer. Here we see Eivor, ready to conquer the kingdoms.

Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully you all enjoyed the trailer and this breakdown covering it. 

I personally enjoyed the trailer, but now that I know that male and female Eivor are canon, I would like to see her get a cinematic trailer (and more coverage) of her own.

Head over to our latest page and check out our social media accounts (below) to stay up to date on everything Assassin's Creed Valhalla. 

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