The Vikings are coming this month with the arrival of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. We fired some questions across the bow of Eric Baptizat, game director at Ubisoft Montreal.
The Assassin’s series has taken us through so many great moments in history. What sparked the decision to go with Vikings?
The Viking invasion during the ninth century is both a pivotal moment of history and a fertile ground for storytelling. This time period will allow players to witness the clash between the Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures and beliefs. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla offers the player a grounded, intimate and deeply personal exploration of Viking life; their culture, values and motivations. The player will experience the brutal battles a Viking warrior like Eivor would encounter, but they will also understand the complex implications beyond those battles and the political choices a leader must face in order to take care of their clan.
How faithful is it to historical events?
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is inspired by real historical events and characters. We work closely with historians and experts to offer an authentic experience featuring many historical moments and characters, such as King Aelfred, and the Vikings Ubba Ragnarsson and Ivar the Boneless.
With protagonist Eivor playable as male or female, will their attributes be identical?
Yes, it was really important for us to let the player choose between a male or female character and let the player switch gender at any time. We have focused on giving as much choice as possible to the player: gender selection, hair and tattoo customisation, settlement decorations, longship customisation, horse visuals and even changing the appearance of Sýnin, your raven.
Please tell us more about the new weaponry…
During the Dark Ages of England, a large variety of weapons were accessible: Dane and bearded axes, flails, heavy shields and hammers are a few examples of the new weapons introduced in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Players will be able to unleash the ruthless fighting style of a Viking warrior through the dual-wielding system, which allows you to play with any combination of weapon in each hand. This system opens new fight opportunities and allows each player to experiment in order to find their favourite playstyle.
Can you please tell us more about raids?
The raid is the most iconic Viking activity. Players have the possibility to raid numerous locations that they see from the waterfront, or use the horn to call their longship from the shore if they spot a location they want to raid. Attacking a location with your crew members offers support during fights, but it’s also an excellent tool to distract enemies, work together to smash barred doors, and break open some precious cargo chests.
What extra things should players expect from the next generation versions?
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will take full advantage of the next generation consoles enhanced graphics, giving players the opportunity to experience the open world of Norway and England down to the very last detail. On Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will run at 60fps in 4K resolution.
What do you most wish for players to gain from the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla experience?
We will be very proud if we succeed to change the vision people have of the Viking time period during the Dark Ages of England. The quests and systems try to make you live through what it was like being a Viking leader in this time period, and the intricacy of being a clan leader. We’ve put so much effort into capturing the Norse lifestyle, but also the appeal of the Anglo-Saxon territory and culture. We invite players to a long and beautiful journey and hope everyone will be proud of having accomplished their own saga.
SHH… WE’RE HUNTING WASCALLY SAXONS!
Social stealth makes its return in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Eivor will have a hood and a cloak, which can be manually activated. As Baptizat says, “Vikings in ninth century England would be super noticeable in towns full of Saxons, so it would be natural to be able to activate social stealth as a way to evade detection in enemy areas.”
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases November 10 for Xbox Series X|S/One and PS4, and November 12 for PS5.