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Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Information

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7/5/20                  By Ashlea Buckley and Colum Blackett

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Here is our breakdown covering the official Assassin's Creed Valhalla information we have so far.

We have split all of the info into relevant sections, and will be updating the article as more details are released about the new game.

The blue letter after each point represents the information source. You can find the key at the very bottom of the page. 

 General 

• Assassin's Creed Valhalla is an upcoming action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the twelfth major installment and the twenty-second release in the Assassin's Creed series, and a successor to the 2018 game Assassin's Creed Odyssey (A) The game releases Holiday 2020, and will be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Stadia and PC (A) Valhalla is a single player game, with many online components, encouraging players to share their progress and creativity" (Ubisoft spokes-person) (D)

• Become Eivor, (pronounced Ā-vōr) (G) a Viking raider raised to be a fearless warrior, and lead your clan from icy desolation in Norway to a new home amid the lush farmlands of ninth-century England. Find your settlement and conquer this hostile land by any means to earn a place in Valhalla. (A)

• The raven companion is called Synin, pronounced SUE-nin. (Dominik Voigt Tweet)

"We wanted as close a meaning to “insight” in Old Norse" (Ashraf Ismail)  (F)

•  Ubisoft have been working on AC knowing that the console transition was coming, and Valhalla is prepared for it. As of May 2020, the game has been in development for 2 and a half years. It is quite far ahead in development, with the team focussing their energy on debugging and polishing to make it shine. (J)

• Ubisoft have officially announced the composers for the Assassin's Creed Valhalla soundtrack: Jesper Kyd, Sarah Schachner and Einar Selvik (A)

• Assassin's Creed Valhalla introduces players to the four kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, each with their own style and historical importance: Wessex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia (A) The bulk of the game takes place in England, but you can return to Norway at any point. (E)

"There’s a lot to see and do in Norway." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• The game has been built using the Anvil Next 2 Engine, and the technology is always improving technically.

This will be "the most beautiful Assassin's Creed you have ever seen", full of "breathtaking moments" (Ashraf Ismail) (J)

• Ashraf Ismail was responsible for pitching the Viking concept to Ubisoft, and it was a relatively quick process for the core team to move forward with the project as it's a setting that many internally are very excited about recreating. Picking the setting is always an organic process which takes time. Ash has a personal love for Viking culture and it's history, and wanted the game to be different to 'mainstream' depictions. (J)

 • Lots of research and effort has gone into crafting the game. The team travelled to England and Norway, and gained a new sense of the adventure they wished to recreate in the game. They met amazing people, conducted intriguing interviews, and experienced the coldness of Norway in comparison. At one point during the trip, the team did some rowing in a Viking longship, and saw the rolling hills of England, giving them a fresh perspective to bring to life in Valhalla (J)

• There are other mounts are in the game, other than horses (and the longship), but the team are not going into this just yet (J)

• Unlike in Black Flag, Rogue and Odyssey, which strongly featured naval combat, the naval aspect of Valhalla will purely be for exploration, which fits with the time period. (E)

• Unlike in Odyssey and Origins, which featured level gated content, which requires you to level up using side missions to access further content, Valhalla trades levelling up for power. (E & G) Power can be gained through earning skills. (K)

• Monetisation of the game (XP boosters, addon packs etc) are not being discussed internally yet, as the teams wants fans to "earn every single penny that you're going to pay" for the game. (K)

• The skill tree feels familiar, although it will be displayed differently. It will allow you to unlock abilities to suit your individual playing style. (E) The abilities will be authentic to the time period, with less magical skills as we're featured in Odyssey. (E) "In terms of abilities and skills, there’s also been a revamping. Players have this (quite large) skill graph that they sort of traverse through the journey of Eivor, picking up new skills, picking up a lot of playstyle elements to fine-tune to kind of Viking you are – whether it’s a more incognito Viking or more “get out there and throw your axes around.” Everything from abilities to skills to weaponry, we have a fresh new take on progression that we feel is anchored in the world and the Viking fantasy we’re trying to achieve." Ashraf Ismail (G)

• Some of the quests are hinted to involve animals, which could be pet companions to help you along your journey. We have already seen in both the trailer and pre-order bonus mission the presence of creatures including wolves and bears. (A)

• "The Viking longship does play a big role in the game. We've tried to make it as interesting and fun as possible to sail." (Darby) - Will we see the return of sea shanties? (C)

• Eagle Vision is back, this time under the new name of 'Odin's Sight' (F)

• The world is full of meaningful content for players to discover. (C) Players can also look forward to uncovering elements of mystery and surprise that have been added. Every secret and truth can be found if you dig beneath the surface (J)

 • Hadrian's Wall and Stonehenge are both confirmed to appear in the game (J)

 • In the game you will meet kings and fight chieftains. (J)

 • In regards to the map size, Ashraf has personally stated that he does not wish to draw comparisons, as that's not what the team were aiming to achieve. Instead, they are dedicated to filling the world with meaningful content. The maps is big though, as it contains England, Norway and a few surprises (J) "This is a meticulously handcrafted world.” (Ashraf Ismail) (K) In an interview with Julien Chièze, Assassin's Creed Valhalla Lead Producer Julien Laferrière stated that the map is "probably a bit larger than Assassins Creed Odyssey", as the whole country of England has been recreated, part of Norway and other secret locations. (Reddit Translation)

 • A new tool wheel will be introduced in Valhalla (K)

 • The game contains some Old English (L)

Combat

 

• The combat elements of the game, will include raids, large-scale battles on battlefields and attacks on fortifications, as well as defending your own settlement. It is so far unclear as to whether these will be replayable, as this will not be announced until closer to the game's reveal. (B)

• Fight brutal battles, lead fiery raids or use strategy and alliances with other leaders to bring victory. Every choice you make in combat and conversation is another step on the path to greatness. (A) "Combat is visceral, brutal. We made sure that every swing of an axe, every defense with a shield feels good. A lot of effort has gone into the weaponry of the period, into the enemies. You can’t have a good fight system if the enemies don’t shine, so we have a lot of variety in enemies. A new take on progression, on gear – we’ve pushed every single envelope to deliver THE Viking experience." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

 • Lead a crew of raiders and launch lightning-fast surprise attacks against Saxon armies and fortresses. Claim the riches of your enemies' lands for your clan and expand your influence far beyond your growing settlement. (A)

"Beyond raiding, there are assaults. Assaults are attacks on giant fortifications – these are big set-piece moments that are wrapped up in the narrative." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• Unleash the ruthless fighting style of a Viking warrior as you dual-wield axes, swords, or even shields against relentless foes. Decapitate opponents in close-quarters combat, riddle them with arrows, or assassinate them with your Hidden Blade. (A) •You should be able to dismember enemies as this aspect was demonstrated in trailer. (B) Players will be able to "bash, dismember, and decapitate your foes" (H)

 

• Also you will have the option to combine these skills, which has already been confirmed through an interview with Ashraf and Darby who revealed that duel wielding will be a key aspect of the game. (E)

 • There has been a real push enemy variety. Th team wanted to make sure that you can be surprised, even if you have played the game for many hours. Enemies can use tools which they carry on them , and a range of weaponry, to provide a constant intriguing challenge for the player. (J) There are 25+ new enemy types, so even after 20 hours players will still encounter new enemies. (B)

• Brute enemy types known as 'Ringleaders' (as was seen during the trailer) have the ability to rally troops #rallythecreed(EThey have very few available weak points, suggesting only certain body parts can be attacked such as legs which are less armoured. (E)

• Enemies will work together and also use the environment to catch you off guard. It will provide more of a challenge for players. (E & G)

• "There are a lot of famous weapons that come from this time period. For instance, the Viking round shield. So we have the round shield. We have tower shields. We have flails, and spears, and bearded axes, and Dane axes, and longswords. (Laughs) We wanted the combat system to shine through the weaponry that made this time period unique and exciting." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

Side content

• Immerse yourself in activities like hunting and drinking games or engage in traditional Norse competitions like flyting – or, as it's better known, verbally devastating rivals through the art of the Viking rap battle. (A) This is something that was found during research to take place in the time period by both Saxons and Vikings in mead halls. It was for enjoyment, rhythmically insulting for crowds who would be cheering. There is a Norse Saga about Odin and Thor flyting. Odin the wise destroys Thor. It's an activity that is intriguing and different. Eivor appreciates a good joke, a sense of poetry, and it fits really well with the character, this activity. (J)

• Freedom is one of the key aspects of Valhalla, with activities such as hunting and fishing allowing players to follow their own story and make the game their own. (A) Players who want to simply hunt, fish or gather are still able to reach same end point as someone following the main story. (B)

• You also have the ability to customise characters, create your own raiders/mercenaries, and share these online where you can recruit other people's creations. Rewards are earned for achievements made by your raider whilst in the hands of the recruiter. (A)

• "Every piece of gear you find is unique. You can upgrade each piece of gear. If you wish to carry the same piece of gear to the end of the game, you can. Or if you want to collect everything, that’s up to you. Everything has its own unique value. At a certain point, you can start customizing gear. So it’s a new take on that RPG format in terms of gear." (Ashraf Ismail) (G) If you have a favourite gear set, you can upgrade it throughout the whole game, but it will change appearance as it improves (J) Gear pieces are broken up into 6 separate pieces. The hood is one piece among many, and they can all be individually upgraded. (J) Transmogrification (Transmog) returns, and you can keep a gear's power/unique qualities but change it's appearance. (J)

• Customisation options: hair, beards, tattoos, and war paint can all be changed (J) The Viking longboat is fully customisable, along with all of your gear. (E)

• Viking Longboat - "So it is a mode of traversal, yes. It brings your raiding party with you. There are a lot of surprises we have in the game with the longship itself."(Ashraf Ismail) (G) "So you have a longship and a crew – these are characters that you meet in the world, characters that you go on journeys with. And there are characters you can customize and build as well – they’re called Jomsvikings. So a lot of effort has gone into your raiders – these are people who also live in your settlement. (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• ''Any military location you encounter on the rivers of England is fully raidable," (Julien Laferrière) (D)

Settlement

"The settlement is really your home in the world. You grow this place in terms of both buildings and people. You always start in your settlement, and then you go out into the world – you go on a journey. These journeys bring back different things. Sometimes it’s other people, sometimes it’s resources you might need. Sometimes it’s surprises that I can’t get into." (Ashraf Ismail) (G) The settlement acts as a familiar starting point for adventures and a place you'll see your decisions play out. (D) "It's your own Viking village you'll see prosper and grow, and which your clan mates will live in,"(Julien Laferrière) (D) You will go on an adventure and then be encouraged to come back to your settlement. (D)  "The settlement is unlike anything we’ve done in the past; it’s quite key to the motivation of the journey and to the world itself." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• "It's at the centre of our quests and the centre of the decisions you make. We want players to see the consequences of their actions." Big story arcs will begin and end here, the impact of your decisions rippling through your growing community. You'll see the effects of alliances - such as weddings to forge relationships between clans - and the consequences of "harsh choices you have to face". It's also where you'll see some of the game's romances play out (if you choose to indulge in those) (Julien Laferrière) (D)

• Whilst at the settlement, you will receive information about what is happening out in the world, and you are given options to resolve the situation. The goal of the settlement is peace, and forging alliances will be key. (K)

Every person in the settlement is meaningful to the player, and you can take the time to get to know them. As a leader of the community, you have to deal with the problem of over population. (K)

• Your clan's new home grows with your legend. Customise your settlement by building upgradable structures. Unlock new features and quests by constructing a barracks, a blacksmith, a tattoo parlour, and much more. (A)

Gear is upgradable at the Blacksmith in the settlement. (H) "Every building that you place has gameplay value. Every character that you can bring into your settlement has some kind of value to Eivor and the settlement." (Ashraf Ismail) (G) 

• Fishing can also be done outside of the settlement in many lakes and rivers. (L)

• The game provides a wealth of opportunities:If you want to focus on narrative you can, alternatively, if you want to focus on building your settlement you can. (B)

• Eivor can interact with objects, sit down, and lay down in a bed (Ashraf Ismail) (F)

S

Story

• You play as Eivor, a warrior raised on tales of battle, who must carve out a new place for a clan of Vikings pushed out of their battle-ravaged home. (A) The game is set in the 9th century, at the height of The Viking Age, the player is invited to take part as a Viking raider and also a leader of a clan from Norway. (C)

• "We begin the story in 870s AD, at a time of strife in Norway. The clan are eventually driven out of Norway to seek life elsewhere for political reasons, for matter of survival, and for narrative-driven reasons as well."(Darby McDevitt) (C)  "We start in Norway, and we see the natural beauty of this world, but we also feel the difficulty of living in this barren land … so we move from there and settle in England." (Ashraf Ismail) (G) You'll feel the harshness of the lands, the political pressure there at the time. You'll feel all that and hopefully you'll understand why you have to move to England where most of the game takes place."(Julien Laferrière) (D)

• "As far as [Valhalla's] story goes, we do continue the story that began in Origins and continued in Odyssey. We take that and we build on it in a big way. We also did a lot of thinking about how to connect all the games, at least the lore of all the games, to make it feel like everything we've done over the past dozen games has little feelers and little entry points into this game. Even if you're a hardcore fan of the series and you start digging below the surface, it might take a year to really get all the small details we brought to life." (Darby McDevitt) (C)

• "The Viking Age is an incredible time period. Assassin’s Creed always visits pivotal moments in history, and here we have a moment that gave shape to Europe and the England we know today… We have these incredible historic figures that have achieved really incredible things." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• The game will tie up various plot narratives that have been established in previous games. It is a good capper for what has come so far. (C)

• The story is presented in  way that hasn't been done before - "This will definitely be a unique story structure for Assassin's Creed fans" (Darby McDevitt) (C) "We wanted to look at the old games and see the greatness that those games had and acknowledge what’s great about the updated formula. There was an identity and a uniqueness that we wanted to bring back for Valhalla.” Ashraf Ismail (I)

• Eivor is a very unique character - a leader with a sense of humor. Rather than building a repuation throughout the game, as was the case in previous entries, you begin as a character who has years of experience as a Viking raider. (C) They are a defined character, complex and determined (J)

• Although the game features dialogue options, the team opted for Eivor to have a distinct personality, rather than having a blank slate character you make your own. The options are a range of responses that Eivor would say. "We don't want players to have multiple different types of Eivor. That was a creative decision we made and it worked out really well." (Darby McDevitt) (C)

• Eivor is a "lone wolf, who has ambition and glory they want to achieve for themselves. But they also have a community that needs them" (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

• "The way we approach Norse mythology in Valhalla--we wanted to take a grounded approach, but we wanted to portray this culture as people who legitimately believed in these things. This mythology, this religion--it's infused in every aspect of their life. They bargained and bartered with the gods before raids, before feasts, before harvests. We wanted to portray that in as grounded a way as possible." (Darby McDevitt) (C) Mythology is integrated into the game in a similar way that was done in AC Origins with Bayek. This will make it feel more grounded, and part of daily lives for the Norse. (C) "We're obviously using the mythology. "We have found a cool way of integrating that with our lore which for today goes into major spoiler territory" *Julien Laferrière(D)

• Eivor has some effect on the Assassin/ Templar pre-cursor groups, and will not be a bystander in the millenniums-old war. (C) Eivor will run across Assassins and Templars (or Hidden Ones and Order of Ancients in this time period), who are an important part of the journey. "At a certain point, Eivor’s personal motivations will align with some Assassin characters that we meet. So there will be some alignment there and they will work together in a certain fashion." (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

"We want you to feel like your time in England takes many, many years. You settle down, you build a settlement, and you watch it grow with all the pains and celebrations that go with that." (Darby McDevitt) (C)

• Alfred the Great is presented as ''villainous' in the trailer, but players will see he has a lot more 'nuance' to him in the game.(Julien Laferrière) (D)

• Same-sex romance options return. (H)

Modern Day

•  ''Present day is playable - I can confirm that." (Julien Laferrière) (D)

• "We continue Layla's story. We have a lot of interesting new approaches to the present day story that we're excited for people to see. It's something I've wanted to see for many years and we finally had the idea in a way that we could pull it off, which I won't get into. But we definitely continue Layla's story. That hasn't changed." (Darby McDevitt) (C) There is a Gameplay aspect for the present day that will surprise and hopefully throw people. (Ashraf Ismail) (J)

• " Is this story still framed from Layla’s perspective in the present day?" (GameInformer)

"We do continue the present-day journey, and continue Layla’s journey as well. We have some surprising, unexpected content for our players who love that kind of stuff. But we’ll save that for later down the road. But players can expect some surprising content within that frame" (Ashraf Ismail) (G)

Ash is the Editor for The Ones Who Came Before, and is now also one of the UK Assassin's Creed community ambassadors.

She has always been working hard behind the scenes, reviewing and moderating Assassin's Creed articles, but has recently started writing her own material. Ash is also

an admin on Assassin's Creed United Kingdom, and has also recently been working on TOWCB fundraising campaigns.               Twitter

Ashlea Buckley

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Stealth

• Stealth is a core pillar of the franchise, and the team realise that it is critical to the series. They conducted a reflection on everything that has been done in previous games, ​and are excited to bringing aspects back and revamping it with a new spin to make it better than ever. (Ashraf Ismail) (J) Social Stealth returns, giving you the ability to use nearby people and situations to your advantage to blend into the crowd. “We have a cool new spin on it. But, yes, social stealth is back." (Ashraf Ismail) (I) Sneaking also returns, with abilities and skills that will enhance this stealthier playstyle. (E) Stealth options will be available, such as the ability to feign death (playing dead) (H) Other stealth elements: Ground stealth, return of stalking zones, hiding places, using other people to blend and the environment, can all be used to remain undetected. (J) "Stealth is a powerful option". (Ubisoft)

"Going incognito is an efficient way to sneak through an area and not create unwanted noise." (Ubisoft) (H) 

• Vikings were not just brutal warriors, as is the mainstream depiction. They would happily use a stealth approach, as it was not always necessary to take risks. The difference is that after the deed, Vikings would show off about it, which is the cultural spin on stealth. (Ashraf Ismail) (J)

• The player will have a range of tools to help them achieve this playstyle. (J) 

• The name of Eivor's raven companion is Sýnin. (H) There are also Raven abilities, such as distraction techniques which can help the player go undetected. (J) 

• “The idea that a Norse person or a Viking is in a place that they’re not wanted, for them to sort of go incognito and kind of hide in the crowd, if you will, made a lot of sense,”(Ashraf Ismail) (I)

                 

• One-shot assassinations return, as Eivor learns a technique early on in the game that requires good timing, meaning virtual any target can be taken out with a single shot. (H) 

• "Eivor will learn a technique that, with the right timing ... can one-shot-kill virtually anybody.” (Ashraf Ismail) (I

• Eivor's hood can be toggled on or off, providing some degree of cover for your character (H) Eivor can also wear a cloak which provides a degree of cover and helps with a stealth playthrough. (J) The hood can be toggled on or off in game, rather than through the menu (F)

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Mysteries, Puzzles and Clues

• The overall design of the hidden blade is a clue towards it's origin according to Ashraf Ismail. (J) 

• XD1189GFM0001228DF is a secret code tweeted out by Darby McDevitt in response to the question "are they called the Assassins or Hidden Ones in this game?"

• "There’s a lot of studios involved, as you know. But the goal was, it’s about uniqueness. It’s about respecting our players’ time and giving them mysteries and puzzles to sort of resolve. And here I’m speaking a bit conceptual, but there are bigger mysteries at play. There are bigger puzzles that need to be unraveled with really intriguing truths behind them.” (Ashraf Ismail) (K)

In response to a tweet asking if fans can expect the return of database entries, Darby McDevitt replied with "Let’s just say, I miss the database too." (L)

Parkour

• Locations have been built to make core pillars such as parkour shine. Every location in the game has been created to be memorable and meaningful, crafted to amplify parkour opportunities. There are “incredible locations that shine when you decide to be the predator at the top”. (Ashraf Ismail) (J)

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

Assassin's Creed is a registered trademark of Ubisoft Entertainment

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