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The rumours have been put to bed: Assassin's Creed Valhalla has finally been revealed. We're leaving the Mediterranean behind and heading north to the colder lands of Britain and Scandinavia.
While Ubisoft hasn't gone into detail about what to expect in the new Assassin's Creed, we've picked through the rumours, the leaks, and the CGI reveal trailer to see what has been confirmed.
If you've not already seen the trailer yourself, you can check it out below:
There's a long history of Viking activity in Britain, kicking off with raids in the 8th century and building to two significant invasions over the next 200 years. But, judging by Alfred the Great's appearance in the Valhalla trailer, that dates the game's time period to around 847 - 889 CE. This means you'll likely be part of the first invasion of the British Isles, not simply ransacking towns but trying to put down roots and colonising the place.
There's a lot of details pointing to this in the trailer. King Alfred's voiceover paints a picture of the Vikings as a violent wave crashing against Britain, killing everything in its path, and taking anything that's not nailed down. That was kind of the Viking's style in those early years, but during Alfred's reign the Danish raiders started to take land in the north and east of England, marching in off the coast closest to Scandinavia. We see in the trailer that the Vikings are putting up settlements and starting communities.
We also see the Vikings taking part in raids, suggesting you won't just be fighting in the big pitched battles like those in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Perhaps this is how you gain settlements, by seizing them from King Alfred's troops. Though, Alfred wasn't the only King in Britain at the time, and we might see another in the trailer - at least, if one of the major leaks about Valhalla is to be believed.
According to a leak on 4Chan back in January, one of your opponents in Valhalla (though the leak claimed the game would be called Ragnarok) would be Ælla, King of Northumbria. He's said to have died in 867, so during Alfred's reign in Wessex. As a northern king, he faced the main thrust of the Viking invasion and is reported to have captured and killed one of the Danish leaders, Ragnar Lodbrok, by throwing him into a pit of snakes.
This could well be Ælla here and, to me, those flags next to him look much like a proto-Templar symbol:
While it's not said in the trailer, in an interview with Eurogamer, Ubisoft has made it clear you'll play a male or female character called Eivor. The 4Chan leaker claims you play a Viking called Jora who is allied with Ragnar, but they aren't named in the trailer. What we can tell is they come from a northern Viking tribe, somewhere where the Northern lights are clearly visible. That could be Iceland, northern Norway, maybe Sweden or Finland. We can tell a little about the tribe from the snapshots in the trailer. The statue looks to be of Tyr, the Norse god of war. Tyr only has one hand - after the other was bitten off by Fenris, a giant wolf.
We can also make out that the priestess is wearing an amulet with the peorð rune on it. It's associated with games and luck, which lends credence to the leaker's claim that you can customise your gear with runes that buff their stats.
Despite the Tyr statue, Odin is the only god that gets name dropped in the trailer. The main character spots an old man leaning against a tree in the middle of the battle, and takes this as a sign the god is on their side. After the line between myth and reality was broken down in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, we could see the gods play an active role in Valhalla, though it also reminded me of the Assassin's Creed: Revelations trailer, where old-man Ezio is seeing visions of Altair.
That's not the only reference to Odin in the trailer, though. The Viking longboats' sails carry the symbol of two ravens, which are likely Odin's birds: Huginn and Muninn. There's another raven in the trailer, too, and it will act as your bird drone as the eagle did in Origins and Odyssey.
The battle in the trailer hints at lots of changes to combat in Valhalla. For one, throwing weapons. While the arsenal open to you has been growing in recent Assassin's Creed games, adding in spears, maces, and shields, it looks like javelins and throwing axes are coming next. It also looks like you'll have more control over your equipment, being able to dual wield different weapons types. We see through the battle that the main character switches from axe and shield, to single axe, to double axes, to an axe and sword. Obviously trailers have artistic license, but for that to carry over into gameplay wouldn't be a surprising move considering Origins and Odyssey pushed the series' equipment customisation and put an RPG stats spin on combat.
The 4Chan leaker also claimed that the new Assassin's Creed would add weapon durability to combat, allowing your equipment to break. That features in the trailer, too, with the main character's axe being broken in the duel with the champion (who looks very much like an evolution of the mercenaries you fought in Origins and Odyssey).
Finally, we see the old standard hidden blade, an essential part of the Assassin's Creed games. It looks particularly deadly in Valhalla, which hopefully is a sign that it will once again be able to kill enemies in a single strike (even if it does need to be heavily upgraded to manage it).
We're still waiting on a gameplay reveal for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, but this trailer has given us a huge amount to be excited for. It also appears to confirm a number of details in the 4Chan leak from a few months ago - weapon durability, more weapon types, settlements, Odin and the raven - which means we can be hopeful for some of the features that weren't hinted at in the trailer. That would include things like four-player co-op, mythical beasts, and new stealth tools, like hiding in mud or blending with crowds if you're in the right outfit.
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