Back at the turn of the decade when everyone thought the next Assassin’s Creed game would be named Ragnarok, but everyone made it clear that they didn’t want Assassin’s Creed Odyssey-like grinding and RPG mechanics. Now, after a surprise debut and a new cinematic trailer, we’ve learned that the next Assassin’s Creed will carry the name Valhalla and will have a Viking theme. So, that raises the question – how will the dynamic of Valhalla change compared to Odyssey?
In an interview with Press Start, Creative Director Ashraf Ismail touched base on how Valhalla will be different. We’ve already discussed how Valhalla’s RPG mechanics have changed drastically, and now we can talk about how the gameplay dynamic has changed. In short, there will be a lot less grinding in Valhalla and, to make things even better, you’ll be able to play the game the way you want. This is especially true in regard to how the game is balanced:
“With Valhalla, with the balancing of the game, our goal is to just let players play the content they want. Again we built a really intriguing world that takes place in Dark Ages England and Norway. By the way, when you leave Norway to England, you can always go back to Norway, so we built these really beautiful breathtaking living worlds, and we want players to play the content as they wish to play it. That’s the way the game is being balanced.”
In Odyssey, there was a big problem with roadblocks basically forcing us to grind side quests and optional activities to get back to the playable portion of the game we wanted to focus on. Ubisoft has apparently really listened to players, and it seems as if that won’t be an issue in Valhalla.
“So, people want to focus on narrative, there’s no issue there, people want to focus on their settlement, again, no issue there. It’s really up to players to decide how they want to consume the content. That’s always been our angle and again, this, we’re showcasing Eivos’ personal journey, we’re really focused on that. So again, if people want to focus on that personal journey and the relationships that come out of that they can do that.”
Whether or not you’ll be able to play through the game without focusing on side quests or optional activities remains to be seen, but it appears as if you’ll be able to focus on the narrative only if you want. You can return to previous areas if you like. We’ll probably learn even more about this when we get to see the first batch of gameplay video during next week’s Xbox Series X live stream.
As far as game availability goes, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is expected to launch during the holiday 2020 season, right around the same time that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are expected to launch. It will be available on all platforms, though. On the PC, you’ll be able to get it via the Epic Game Store or Ubisoft’s Uplay. You’ll be able to get it for current-gen consoles while those playing Xbox will be able to upgrade to the next-gen, 4K version of the game via Smart Delivery when that’s available for the Xbox Series X.