The hub location is going to be at the heart of the entire experience.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s developers have often spoken about Eivor’s settlement, which is supposed to be a crucial location throughout the entire game and will even grow and evolve as you make choices during the story. Recently, Eurogamer got a deeper look into this settlement – called Ravensthorpe – will function and grow throughout the experience, revealing several new details.
As Eurogamer’s article describes, Ravensthorpe will start out as little more than an abandoned Saxon longhouse and a collection of tents scattered about it, but through constant upgrades and additions throughout the game, players will turn it into a thriving settlement.
One of your first upgrades will be a blacksmith (incidentally, upgrading weapons can now only be done in this one location in the entire game), but as you progress through the story, you’ll be unlocking a lot more, from stables – where you can purchase, train, and upgrade horses, and even be able to customize your raven’s appearance – to a Barracks – where you will be able to create and customize (and share with other players, if you want) your own Jomsvikingr lieutenant to join you on your raids along the coast.
Other buildings that you can eventually unlock are a museum, a shipyard (where you can customize your longboat), a Fishing hunt, a tattoo shop (where you can tattoo different designs to various parts of your body), a cartographer (who can provide you with detailed maps of areas you’ve visited), farms (which produce food that you can use to buff up your soldiers before heading out on raids), a bakery, individual houses for various characters, and more.
There’s also a Seer’s hut, where the aforementioned Seer will brew potions, and Eivor, upon consuming them, will be taken to “another time, another plane”, as the developers put it. It seems like this is where Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s story will tap deeper into the mythological side of things, which we know is going to be at least a bit of a focus in the game. Level designer David Bolle says: “It’s a whole new section of the game… it’s pretty big.”
Each of these buildings can also be upgraded, allowing you to reap more advantages. And how exactly does that work? Well, the previously mentioned longhouse serves as Ravensthorpe’s base of operations, where Randvi, the wife of your brother Sigurd (who doesn’t seems to be away for narrative reasons) is the de facto leader of the settlement. The longhouse has a war table and a room for Eivor to sleep in and read letters.
Meanwhile, construction of buildings requires resources, which you gain through raids, looting chests and vaults, forming alliances, exploring the open world, and more. When you construct buildings, not only will you get access to the services they offer, but will also progress the questlines of the characters associated with them.
Characters will also keep joining your settlement and making a home for themselves, and they will bring full-fledged questlines with them. These characters will also often have disputes with each other, which Eviro will have to settle. According to the developers, players will often spend several hours away from the settlement, and returning to Ravensthorpe will reflect the passage of time, with characters having new conflicts, new stories to share, new branches in questlines to tackle, and more. Characters can also be romanced, you can go on dates, break up with romantic partners to pursue other ones- essentially, there’s a lot going on in Ravensthorpe.
The most interesting detail that stands out, however, is the fact that Ravensthorpe will also be home to an Assassins bureau- or the Hidden Ones, as they are known at this point in the series’ chronology. Valhalla’s developers have said that the series’ larger lore will factor quite significantly in game’s story, which was something that the recent story trailer made abundantly clear as well, and having a Hidden Ones bureau in your base camp certainly falls in line with that.
The Hidden Ones bureau is run by an
Assassin Hidden One named Hytham (no, not Haytham). The brotherhood has set up a bureau in Eivor’s camp because they and Eivor supposedly “share a common enemy”- that being the Order of the Ancients, first seen in Origins, who will eventually go on to be known as Templars. Through the bureau, Eivor will be going after a list of mysterious, high profile targets, and at seems it might function a bit similar to the Cultists system in Odyssey, with a main antagonist at the centre of the web.
There’s a lot more details on Ravensthorpe in the Eurogamer piece, so if you’re interested in Valhalla, go ahead and give it a read. It certainly seems like the settlement is going to be a crucial part of the experience in several ways, which is an interesting idea. Here’s hoping the idea is backed up by solid execution as well.
We’ll find out when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases on November 10 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Stadia, and on November 12 for PS5. You can learn more about the game’s combat, quest structure, world design, and much more in our interview with narrative director Darby McDevitt.