Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a 2020 action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the twelfth major installment in the Assassin’s Creed series, and the successor to 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Principally set in the years 872–878 AD, the game recounts a fictional story during the Viking expansions into the British Isles. Players control Eivor Varinsdottir, a Viking raider who, while attempting to establish a new Viking clan in England, becomes embroiled in the centuries-old conflict between the Assassin Brotherhood, who fight for peace and liberty, and the Templar Order, who desire peace through control.[c] The game also includes a framing story, set in the 21st century, which follows Layla Hassan, an Assassin who relives Eivor’s memories so as to find a way to save the Earth from destruction.
Development of the game began in 2017, around the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Ubisoft Montreal led its three-year development with help from fourteen other Ubisoft studios worldwide, as well as Sperasoft. Numerous people involved in the development of past Assassin’s Creed games returned for Valhalla, including Ashraf Ismail, who served as the creative director for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013) and Origins; Darby McDevitt, the lead writer for Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011) and co-writer of Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014); and composers Jesper Kyd and Sarah Schachner, who composed the game’s music alongside Einar Selvik. Similarly to Origins and Odyssey, the team conducted extensive research into the time period to make the game world as historically accurate as possible, and drew inspiration from Norse mythology for certain narrative elements. The team also sought to address some issues found by players with Odyssey, such as its over ambitiousness, small focus on the Assassin-Templar conflict, and the absence of traditional Assassin’s Creed gameplay elements like social stealth.
Valhalla was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Stadia on November 10, 2020, with the PlayStation 5 version following on November 12. It received generally positive reviews, with praise for the narrative, characters, voice acting, visuals, soundtrack, world-design and the interconnectivity of activities, while being criticized for its length, technical issues, and repetitive structure. The game had the biggest launch in the Assassin’s Creed series to date, selling the most copies within its first week and becoming the second most profitable Ubisoft title of all time. Ubisoft supported Valhalla with several releases of downloadable content, including three story expansions—Wrath of the Druids, The Siege of Paris, and Dawn of Ragnarök—various in-game events, and a free Discovery Tour mode, which consists of a series of guided tours that allow players to explore the world of Medieval England and Norway for educational purposes.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an open-world action-adventure game structured around several main story arcs and numerous optional side-missions, called “World Events”. The player takes on the role of Eivor Varinsdottir a Viking raider, as they lead their fellow Vikings against the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The player has the choice of playing Eivor as either female or male (voiced by Cecilie Stenspil and Magnus Bruun respectively), or letting the game alternate between the two at key moments in the story (with the female avatar depicting Eivor’s life and the male avatar depicting the physical appearance of the Isu Odin, due to his connection with Eivor). The player is also able to customize Eivor’s hair, beard, war paint, clothing, armor, and tattoos. The variety of weapons available to the player has been expanded to include weapons such as flails and greatswords. Combat has been changed to allow dual-wielding of almost any weapon, including shields, and every piece of gear that the player collects is unique. The Eagle Vision mechanic of previous titles returns in the form of “Odin Sight”. The player’s companion animal is a raven named Sýnin (Old Norse for “insight”) who can be used to scout the nearby areas, much like previous avian companions had done in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, and other parts of the game world from afar before Eivor engages in combat. There is more focus on the stealth aspects for both traversing the game world and in combat. The “social stealth” concept from earlier Assassin’s Creed valhalla returns: Eivor can hide from enemies not only in stationary environmental objects but can pull down the hood and slip into certain crowds to use them as cover. Eivor can feign death, use her raven to distract guards, and can access a hidden blade for near-instantaneous assassinations. Most of the game’s enemies, through specific combinations of approaches, tactics, and weapon selection, are able to be assassinated through a single attack, with the notable exception of bosses, but still can be defeated through numerous other routes.