With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s first trailer officially out in the wild, Ubisoft can finally unleash concrete details about what pervades the new Norse setting. Most notably, Creative Director Ashraf Ismail and Lead Producer Julien Laferrière have shared tons of information regarding the lead character–Eivor (pronounced Ā-vōr)– and the world.
In a lengthy interview with Game Informer, Ismail revealed that Viking raider Eivor, who can be either male or female, leaves Norway early in Valhalla. Once gone, the protagonist will work to found a Viking settlement in England. Valhalla specifically takes place in the ninth century during the Dark Ages. This allows the team at Ubisoft Montréal, and the 15 support studios, to center on four major English kingdoms–Wessex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia. Within this incredible span of Britain, Eivor will venture through three major cities, including London, Winchester, and Jórvík. (In modern times, the latter is known as York.)
Settling in England will prove rather challenging for Eivor, since the Englishmen, then known as Saxons, won’t take kindly to strangers. According to Ismail, Vikings will be treated harshly throughout. Still, a thriving settlement must be established, meaning players have quite a bit of work cut out for them. Every building constructed and every character recruited will bring “gameplay value” to the experience. Speaking with Eurogamer, Laferrière explained the buildings are to range from barracks and blacksmiths to tattoo parlors, all of which will be upgradeable.
To combat enemies and ensure the settlement thrives, Eivor will go on raids, which are only possible with a longship and crew. Characters that players meet while exploring constitute crew members, collectively known as Jomsvikings. These same people, all of whom are customizable, also become part of Eivor’s Viking settlement in England.
The settlement essentially serves as home base, where players customize Eivor. In journeying through the world, players will bring back recruits, resources, and other surprises Ubisoft isn’t yet ready to unveil. Ismail told Game Informer, “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.”
In doing research for Valhalla, the team discovered that Vikings historically led attacks on “giant fortifications.” Players will find this bit of history best reflected in Assaults, battles that Ismail described as “big set-piece moments that are wrapped up in the narrative.” Laferrière noted that such experiences, as well as raids, will ensure players feel as though they’re constantly engaged in the “ultimate Viking fantasy.”
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a cross-gen title slated to launch in holiday 2020.