Ubisoft’s highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is set to drop on November 10th, and the game will transport fans to a new historical setting: Europe in the Dark Ages. In this fresh adventure, the player will take control of a Viking raider named Eivor, and as part of what is known as the Great Heathen Army, they will wage war across the kingdoms of Britain.
The historical aspects of the Assassin’s Creed franchise have arguably been its most important feature. The developers painstakingly research history and find new and unique ways to integrate their narrative of the war between the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templars into real-world conflicts to some amazing results.
For example, Assassin’s Creed III famously took part during the American Revolution, with the main character, Connor, participating in some of the most iconic moments in American history, including the Boston Massacre and Paul Revere’s “midnight ride.” Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, on the other hand, was set during the Golden Age of Piracy, and luminaries from that time, including Benjamin Hornigold, Black Sam Bellamy, and Blackbeard, played huge roles in Edward Kenway’s story.
Valhalla will most assuredly do the same, as Eivor’s story is set at a time rife with conflict, as multiple sides waged war in the infancy of what would one day become the British Empire.
Britain in the late ninth century was a barbaric place ruled by Christianized Anglo-Saxon landowners descended from the rule of Charlemagne. Anglo-Saxon rule was born after Caesar invaded in 60 CE and established Roman dominance over the region. The Anglo-Saxons rose up in around 400 CE, shunning Rome and the Catholic Church to strike out under their own rule.
These descendants of Germanic tribes fought barbarian hordes, and with each other, to settle the Isle of Britons, what would later become Britain. The four prominent kingdoms that established rule over the isle include East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, and Wessex. It is on this island where Assassin’s Creed Valhalla primarily takes place.
Players can expect to visit these kingdoms and the major cities within, including York, Winchester, and even a very early London. Norway will also play a role in Valhalla, as the sea travel across the North Sea and the English Channel will afford gamers the chance to command Viking longships for naval combat and more. Speaking of which…
Enter The Vikings
When the Viking clans of Scandinavia invaded in 865 CE, the kings of Britain were faced with an army of considerable size and brutality. Vikings were made up of various warrior clans led by four sons of Ragnar Lothbrok, including Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan Ragnarsson, and Bjorn Ironside. Some of these names might be familiar to viewers of the Vikings TV series from the History Channel and Netflix.
The Vikings raided settlements and kingdoms alike, pushing the kings of Britain to spend manpower and money to stop them. It was not uncommon for raiders to be paid off not to attack, which helped the Vikings build bigger war chests for further raids. Some kings even used that to their advantage, paying off Viking raiders and persuading them to attack rival kingdoms, effectively making them paid mercenaries.
Around the time when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes place, 873 CE, the Vikings had established themselves as an incredible force, and the kings of Britain sought to use faith to convert the “barbarians” to the Christian god as a way to distract them from the Norse pantheon of gods, who took great pride in war and victory on the battlefield.
The game reportedly uses these raids on settlements and greater wars against the kings as the backdrop for Eivor’s story. The player will get to create their own settlement and grow it as they see fit, forging new alliances and warring with others for resources and power. This feature is reminiscent of growing Edward’s pirate flotilla from Black Flag but in a much deeper context. Marriages can also be used to create alliances, which will be a new addition to the franchise.