Ubisoft's new Assassin's Creed Valhalla takes place in a war-torn England during the brutal and ambitious age of Viking invasions.Now Ubisoft pinpoints the exact yearly timeline and highlights what to expect from the game's historical setting.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is set in the bloody backdrop of the 9th century Dark Ages, more specifically during a time of expeditious and violent expansion from the Vikings in Scandinavia. The game chronicles the Norseman's journey from Norway to the Anglo Saxon kingdoms to the south, letting players take part in the chaos of the Viking hordes and their surprisingly skilled settling of England.
Ubisoft confirms Valhalla starts in 873AD when England (or more aptly described as Angland, thus named after the Anglo Saxons that settled the area) comprised of three kingdoms: Northumbria in the north, Mercia in the midlands, and Wessex to the south. King Alfred (also known as Aelfred) the Great reigns over the last unconquered kingdom of Wessex and is shown in the reveal trailer as the game's principal antagonist.
"The main story begins in 873 AD, at a time when England is actually not one kingdom, it's not called England at the time--it's a land, not a country. There's actually quite a few kingdoms inside and England itself is fairly fractured at this time with many different kings that rule over different parts of it," Assassin's Creed Valhalla narrative director Darby McDevitt said in a recent dev video.
"King Alfred, or Alfred the Great, he's the only English king to actually have that title. He's the king of Wessex, which is the Southern-most kingdom in England at the time. There was also three others: Mercia, Northumbria, and East Anglia.
"Alfred is specifically known for being the most staunch opponents of the Viking invasion. He was the strongest of the kings, he was able to push them back for a time and deal with them, whereas other kings would rapidly crumble under the onslaught of the Danes and the Norse."
Conquering isn't everything in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. It's just the start. After you subjugate lands, you have to settle them and make your own towns and villages. The idea here is to reflect the full picture of the Viking culture instead of just focusing on the brutal warriors. For every fighter, there were many more tradesmen, farmers, artisans, and workers that settled the land that the warriors took over.
"If you look at a map of England now and you see any town with the ending of -thorpe or -by, that probably means it was a Viking town or a Norse or Dane town. We know by the sheer number of them, hundreds of these towns, we know they were actually very successful settlers," McDevitt said.
Players will also have to focus on diplomacy in Valhalla. Brawn and raw might will only get you so far; to really proceed, you'll need to forge alliances. It's a game centered around a pivotal point in history where the Anglo Saxon kingdoms were not only dominated by, but integrated with, Dane and Norse cultures.
Ubisoft has also confirmed the game will feature four main cities across Norway and England, along with various villages and towns to conquer along the way: Winchester (Wessex), London (Wessex), York (Northumbria) and Jorvik (Norway).
Assassin's Creed Valhalla will release in Holiday 2020 alongside Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X next-gen consoles.