“The settlement is really key to this experience,” says creative director Ashraf Ismail.
With its central conceit of playing as a Viking who raids foreign lands and settles them for their followers, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sounds like an exciting prospect. What’s also exciting is how many improvements to the formula it’s promising to make- and perhaps the biggest of them all comes through its settlement building mechanic, which sees the protagonist’s new settlement in England acting as a central homestead that the entire game and its story revolve around.
Speaking recently in various interviews, the game’s developers revealed various new details on this mechanic in particular. In conversation with Eurogamer, lead producer Julien Laferrière said that the settlement would be at the centre of not only various quests, but also various big decisions player will make throughout the story.
“It’s your own Viking village you’ll see prosper and grow, and which your clan mates will live in,” said Laferrière. “It’s at the centre of our quests and the centre of the decisions you make. We want players to see the consequences of their actions.”
Laferrière went on to say that the settlement building mechanic has changed not only the way players will make the game, but also the way Ubisoft have developed it.
“It really changed the shape of the game we were making,” said Laferrière. “Instead of exploring one territory, then moving on to another and having no real opportunity or reason to return, the settlement changes the structure. So you’ll go on an adventure and then be encouraged to come back to your settlement. It changes the way we’re playing the game we’re making – at least, that’s the bet we’re making.”
Further, in an interview with Game Informer, creative director Ashraf Ismail dropped some more information on the mechanic. Players will be able to customize their Viking village, adding new buildings and recruiting new people, but more notable is the fact that, according to Ismail, each new building will serve a purpose, and each new character you recruit – many of whom you can take on raids with you – will have “some kind of value.”
“The settlement is really key to this experience,” Ismail said. “It’s at the heart of the motivation, and a very important part of the features of the game as well. Every building that you place has gameplay value. Every character that you can bring into your settlement has some kind of value to Eivor and the settlement. There’s customization features for the settlement, as well.”
According to Ismail, the settlement is “at the heart of the journey” and “unlike anything we’ve done in the past.”
“The settlement is really your home in the world,” he elaborated. “You grow this place in terms of both buildings and people. You always start in your settlement, and then you go out into the world – you go on a journey. These journeys bring back different things. Sometimes it’s other people, sometimes it’s resources you might need. Sometimes it’s surprises that I can’t get into. The idea is that it’s really at the heart of the journey; this is the place you come back to to customize your character and do a lot of things for Eivor. The settlement is unlike anything we’ve done in the past; it’s quite key to the motivation of the journey and to the world itself.”
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be out this Holiday for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia. It will receive its first gameplay trailer during May 7’s Xbox Series X event. Till then, check out some gameplay details through here.