We’ve told you how Ubisoft went out of its way to make Assassin’s Creed Valhalla the ultimate Viking fantasy, and now we’re here to tell you how the studio (well, all 14 of them) have come up with a completely new take on RPG mechanics, tailored specifically to the Viking theme.
This latest bit of information comes from Creative Director, Ashraf Ishmail – the same guy that directed Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017, via an interview with Australian website Press Start. He revealed a number of things about the game, including how the RPG mechanics have changed.
“So in terms of RPG and progression, our goal was to actually bring in kind of a fresh new take on it. Something that is much more anchored into the world itself and into the concepts of skills and so on. We do have a very different take than what we’ve previously done, all in the hopes of actually making the Viking experience shine a bit more.”
Things like traditional levels are gone and replaced by some type of power ranking that’s based solely on the skills that you’ve learned as you progress through the game. There’s a massive skill tree as well, and all of this should help complete the whole Viking experience.
“So as an example, we have this giant skill graph. It’s a really large skill tree where players can really customize the kind of Viking they that they want to play as. Hopefully people see a lot more play style customization within that. Our angle is much more about letting players, sort of, enjoy the experience of the game as they want. In terms of of the RPG progression. So a lot of effort has gone into these skills. We have the return of abilities, but of course all the abilities are again anchored and rooted and very Viking themed We’ve gotten rid of the idea of levels as well. Instead we now have power, so again power is something that is rooted in the skill set of the hero. So based on the skills you’ve learned you gain power, and so there’s been a shift in the way we handle RPG and progression to make it a more play-style centered and focused on what players out there want to do in the game.”
As for combat, well things had to change there as well. Your typical Assassin’s Creed-style combat from previous games just won’t work to well with Vikings, right? After all, they are brutal warriors, not stealthy Assassin’s. Well, Ismail spoke in that regard too, and it sounds like the studios, as a collective, are making a lot of the right moves. The combat is so in-depth and so environment-dependent that you can literally play for 15 hours or more and still see something new.
“The combat system has been reinvigorated to really showcase the visceral newness and brutality of the time period of the weaponry of warfare during this ninth century. So, a lot of effort has been put into making sure of the sense of impact. We make have bearded axes, dane axes, flails, but now we’ve included the dual wielding capacity, so you can combine any two weapons in your hands. So you can dual wield two axes, two swords, even two shields if you want, so we’ve made the system quite flexible. The third element to combat improvement is the effort we’ve put into the variety of enemies, that are incredibly unique using the environment and using one another against the hero. We wanted to make sure that if you’d been playing for 15-20 hours, that you were still seeing stuff you’ve never seen before so a lot of effort has gone into the enemy side of combat.”
I have to admit that I’ve been a little on the fence about a Viking-centric Assassin’s Creed game. Don’t get me wrong, the cinematic trailer looks pretty damn awesome, but I’ve been waiting for next week’s gameplay reveal during the Xbox Series X stream to truly pass judgement. The more I hear about the game, though, thanks to interviews from various studio staff, I’m starting to think the game is going to be a hit.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC during the holiday 2020 season. Stay tuned for updates!