“We want to make sure that you really feel the essence of Dark Age England in all its really beautiful details,” says Ashraf Ismail.
One thing that no one can ever accuse Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey of is a lack of content- both games that were absolutely teeming with things to do, to the extent that you could spend upward of 100 hours in each of their massive open world settings- almost to a fault, in fact. Many people would tell you that over their long play times, monotony started creeping in, and all the activities you took on in those games started blending into one another. With the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, however – which is already promising to do things a little differently in many ways – it seems the developers are trying to ensure that quality and variety never dip even with the game’s side content.
Though the game itself promises to be just as massive as you’d expect (if not more), creative director Ashraf Ismail says that the developers’ goal has been to ensure that it feels like a meticulously crafted world with lots of variety. In an interview with Kotaku, he said that optional content and side stories have a lot of “deep storytelling” and are used to convey more things about the setting and all of its intricacies.
“We want to make sure that you really feel the essence of Dark Age England in all its really beautiful details,” Ismail said. “Different parts of the country had different practices, different beliefs, different ways of living life. And we used those details. So we were meticulous about this, and we want people to discover that in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. A lot of this is optional content. But there’s a lot of deep storytelling that’s happening in all of this optional content. So, for sure, it’s there because we want people to see it.”
Mentioning how the game was worked on by a staggering collective of 15 studios, Ismail said that the goal throughout development has been to inject uniqueness into the game’s content to ensure that players feel “every single one of those hours in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was worth it.”
“There’s a lot of studios involved, as you know,” he said. “But the goal was, it’s about uniqueness. It’s about respecting our players’ time and giving them mysteries and puzzles to sort of resolve. And here I’m speaking a bit conceptual, but there are bigger mysteries at play. There are bigger puzzles that need to be unraveled with really intriguing truths behind them.”
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is due out later this year for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia. It doesn’t yet have a release date, but recent developments suggest it’ll be out in October (at least on the platforms that are in the market at the time).
Meanwhile, the developers have promised that they’re going to show a plethora of gameplay footage from the game before it releases. Most likely, a good chunk of that will come in July at Ubisoft Forward, the publisher’s E3-style showcase.