If you thought today was going to be anything other than Assassin’s Creed day, think again. Ubisoft’s newly announced Viking-centered game is dominating the conversation with details emerging from every corner of the internet (and we haven’t even seen gameplay yet!). Perhaps one of the most curious features to come out of today’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla unveiling comes in the form of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mention of Viking rap battles. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it’s completely historically accurate.
Ubisoft’s website for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bullet-points all of the big expected features, things like “Lead Epic Raids” and “Visceral Combat” take top billing, followed by details about writing your own “Viking saga,” growing your settlement, and creating a custom raider a for unique shareable online experience. And then, hidden away at the bottom of the page, is a paragraph about the activities you can take part in.
Sail across the icy North Sea to discover and conquer the broken kingdoms of England. Immerse yourself in activities like hunting, fishing, dice, 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.
Verbatim, right on the Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed Valhalla site: “Viking rap battle.” Historically, it was known as “flyting,” which is a flurry of insults exchanged in verse. It’s a quarrel, a rhythmic duel of verbal wit. It’s a Viking rap battle. And yes, along with all the other expected RPG activities of the Norse age—hunting, fishing, dice, and drinking—the Viking rap battles will be playable in some fashion.
This portrayal of the Vikings comes directly from historical research, advised by historian Thierry Noël. Noël says that there is a large gap between the “reality of Norse society” and the way most people view the “reckless Viking.” Noël elaborated, “They were a fascinating society in terms of culture and pretty fair in the way they treated women, who had important rights at the time. It was certainly contradictory to the common image we have of Vikings.”
Even with the gameplay reveal not set to come until next week on May 7th with the Inside Xbox showcase, we’re getting plenty of details about the new Assassin’s Creed today, including the trailer confirming a cross-gen holiday 2020 launch and details about the Viking settlement you’ll call home. There are also some first-look details about the RPG mechanics you’ll encounter as you pillage, plunder, raid, and yes, verbally insult your way across England in the Dark Ages.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases holiday 2020 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC via the Epic Games Store.