Ubisoft explains how progression is changing in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla


Ever since Ubisoft lifted the curtains on its next Assassin’s Creed game this April, fans have been expectant for more information about the French company’s Viking-themed game.

Taking place in the 9th century, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla casts you as Eivor, one of the Norse invaders who will be setting foot on England to take part in a bloody invasion of the British Isles.

And the game’s announcement trailer did indeed show that Valhalla will be a very violent game, and also one that harkens back to the series’ origins, making the hidden blade a deadly weapon of murder once again.

Also, it seems Ubisoft will be rolling back some of the RPG elements introduced in 2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins and its successor Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and going back to a progression system more in line with those of the early games in the series too.

So said the game’s creative director Ashraf Ismail in an interview with Kotaku last month, stating that Ubisoft has “reflected a lot since Origins on progression and what that means for players”.

“We have a new take on progression in this game. We have more the concept of power, power that is gained through, let’s say, the player gaining skills”, added Ismail.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s creative director also said that none of the game’s content will be behind “any kind of big progression walls”, which surely will be a relief for those who hate the tedious grinding that is often part of big open world games such as this.

For instance, in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players would begin the game at level 1 and would level up as they gained experience points when completing missions, defeating enemies and exploring the world map. But the game’s various quests were level-based: there was no point in attempting a level 10 quest if your character was only at level 4, as you’d get slaughtered in the process.

So it’s a welcome relief that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is ditching this progress mechanic and letting players continue the main story when they wish without having to grind through side quests and other optional activities, just to see how the story continues.

This also means that players will be able to finish the game more quickly than they did the likes of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (which frankly was a massive game from start to finish) although Ismail did assure Kotaku this will be a big game in every sense of the word.

The game will not only feature Norway and England but also the seas in-between, letting players cross the distance on Viking longboats, featuring naval gameplay as has been the case in the last couple of Assassin’s Creed games.

Also, Ubisoft is going to continue the trend of letting players choose between a male and female protagonist here, meaning main character Eivor can be a man or a woman according to player choice. This is something which can add a bit of replay value to the game, even though it is not expected that this choice will have much impact on the game as was the case with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Nonetheless, here’s hoping that Ubisoft can get this Assassin’s Creed game right, and that this ends up being another stellar entry in the long-running series when it arrives this holiday 2020.

Update: Ashraf Ismail recently stepped down as creative director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.