Well, it's official. Assassin's Creed is going Viking. We all knew this was coming, it's been a pretty poorly kept secret for a while. I even wrote about it way back when. But now we have official confirmation and a release window (Holiday 2020). Let the speculation begin!
We only got a cinematic trailer, which means no gameplay. And other than the setting and title, that doesn't give us a lot of information. So of course, I did some digging (by which I mean Googled) and came up with a small list of things that the devs have said and information that Ubisoft has released. Nothing I'm going to say here is breaking news or an exclusive, just my thoughts on a game I'm excited for.
For starters, let's tackle the elephant in the room. This doesn't look like Assassin's Creed. No, it doesn't, and I'm fine with that. Assassin's Creed honestly stopped being Assassin's Creed a while ago. Really, it's an excuse to go play around in the past, the reason they're still slapping an Assassin's Creed logo on it is because that's an IP that people recognize which will sell more copies. Yeah, they have to keep adding Templar and Assassin stuff just cuz at this point, but it doesn't matter to me. I honestly stopped caring about the Assassin vs. Templar stuff a long time ago. I'm a history nerd, so an open sandbox to go play in different eras is honestly enough to grab my interest. So yes, Assassin's Creed Valhalla looks nothing like an Assassin's Creed game. However, it does look like everything I want in a game about Vikings. Which brings us to…
What we know:
You play as Viking warrior Eivor, like Assassin's Creed Odyssey you can choose to play as a male or a female (and someone on Forbes will complain about it). I think this is probably how Assassin's Creed is going to be from here on, especially if they're leaning harder towards RPGs, which traditionally let you choose your gender. But I know if I'm playing a Viking? I am going to have a glorious beard.
There's been changes to the combat system. Now this I'm really interested to see, because the combat in Origins and Odyssey were both excellent. Shields are back (YAY!) and now you can dual wield any combo of weapons (double YAY!) I can tell you right now my loadout will be a sword and shield, and then a heavy two-handed axe as my second. I'm hoping this is more tweaking than starting over, because they already have a good foundation. Personally, I prefer the bigger focus on melee combat because, as I've said numerous times, I SUCK at stealth.
You're a Viking! Obviously, but by that I mean you can go on raids, and that you have your own settlement that changes throughout the game based on your choices. I REALLY like the sound of this. I've always enjoyed base building in games, especially in RPGs. Supposedly this one will have a bigger focus on branching dialogue and consequences, which is one of my favorite things in RPGs. I felt Odyssey fell a bit flat in that regard, it will be interesting to see if they pull it off here.
Now you have a raven. In the last two games you've had an eagle companion, this time it's a raven, which is much more fitting with the Viking theme.
This is set during the Viking Age (again, obviously) so England is divided into four Kingdoms. It looks like Alfred the Great; King of Wessex is going to be the (or at least one of) villain(s). That said, in the interest of fairness, you are the one invading HIS Kingdom. So, it's not like you can claim he doesn't have good reason to oppose your character.
Predictions/What I'd like to see:
A smaller map. I don't know if we will get this, but it would be a nice change. The map in Odyssey was so massive I couldn't complete everything. I'd rather have a smaller map with more content than a huge one with a lot of empty space.
The Norse gods. We see Odin in the trailer and considering how big the role of Greek myth was in Odyssey, I think it's a fair bet we'll see our share of Norse mythology. How much remains to be seen. However, I'm calling it now, Odin and the other Norse gods are the previous race that used to rule the world.
There is going to be some power/ability that lets you go berserk.
Get rid of the modern-day stuff. Now this is not a prediction, because we already know there will be more stuff in the modern day, supposedly following up on the last piece of Odyssey DLC. I, however, wish they'd just do away with this part, because I don't remotely care about it. And I think it's a safe bet most other folks don't either.
Big pieces of DLC. Assuming they follow the Odyssey model, and it worked well so I don't see why they wouldn't, we'll get some major post game episodes of DLC content.
A heavy metal soundtrack. This won't happen, but it should be.
It's going to be a cross-gen title.
The next game should be set in Japan. I'm probably going to be ringing this bell until the day I die.
So, folks, what do you think? Are you excited to raid some villages and split some skulls? I know I am. Valhalla awaits me.