If this is what Assassin's Creed Valhalla looks like on next-gen consoles...we aren't ready.
Today Microsoft showed off the first Xbox Series X gameplay demos, and Ubisoft completely smashed all expectations with their AC: Valhalla footage. Admittedly the footage was captured on PC/devkit hardware that approximates and simulates the Xbox Series X's 12TFLOP Navi GPU and 3.8GHz Zen 2 CPU, but it's quite amazing nonetheless. "Game and console in development, footage representative of expected Xbox Series X gameplay," reads the disclaimer at the beginning of the footage. At the very least the game will be a dazzling showcase on all platforms.
The trailer is basically one big tech demo with in-engine cinematic sequences thrown in. The cinematics don't appear to be pre-rendered recorded footage, but live animations that showcase Ubisoft's next-gen prowess. The visuals are beyond anything we've seen so far. The lighting effects are immaculate, reflections are crisp, light rays capture atmospheric effects. Shadows roll across cairn stones, the sun brilliantly illuminates verdant grasslands in Anglo Saxon England, wind blows trees and flags and adds a new measure of depth and immersion to the visuals. It's really a mind-blowing teaser of what's possible on these new systems.
What struck me is how the clothes react to movement. It's so realistic; Eivor's outfit flaps and sways as he whirls and delivers death to his foes. Capes wave in the wind--speaking of, there's a lot of wind in next-gen games. Devs are eager to push their weather and environment systems to the max with this hardware. Another cool thing I noticed was the real-time heat effects that warp visuals, alongside the smoke that rises from burning Viking destruction.
Ubisoft didn't talk much about the exact optimizations that Valhalla will have on Xbox Series X, but creative director Ashraf Ismail did confirm the game will tap ultra-fast load times. Valhalla also supports Smart Delivery. That means if you buy it on Xbox One, you get a free upgrade to Xbox Series X (basically the same as the Xbox One X Enhanced feature).
Assassin's Creed Valhalla will be a launch game on Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020, and it's also coming to current-gen consoles and PlayStation 5 as well.
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