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How Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla turns English history into a Viking playground

When your franchise is about to release its 12th major installment, you’d probably be worried about creativity fatigue. Assassin’s Creed‘s formula gives it an advantage that other series don’t enjoy. Each game takes place in different historical era. One year, your Assassin’s Creed adventure takes you to Revolutionary America. Another year, you’re exploring Ancient Greece.

Now, the series is tackling the era of Viking invasions in Anglo-Saxon England.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla comes out November 10 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Last week, I played it for about 5 hours. You can read my impressions of the long demo here. I also talked with Philippe Bergeron, the game’s director of level design.

I asked Bergeron about some of Valhalla’s new features, but I was especially excited to chat with him about the challenge of adapting Anglo-Saxon and Viking 9th century history into a video game.

A new world

GamesBeat: How is the world of Valhalla different, design-wise, from what we’ve seen in past Assassin’s Creed games?

Philippe Bergeron: One thing that came out very early in production, we knew we were coming off of Origins and Odyssey. That established a sort of RPG formula, and as far as the world was concerned, just having a lot of content, always something to distract you in the world. We knew that it was cool to play those, but if we were to release another one that had that same formula, it might feel tired at some point. Something we wanted to do is play up that sense of exploration in the game and let it breathe a bit. We took a lot of inspiration from games like [The Legend of Zelda:] Breath of the Wild, or even Red Dead Redemption, where the world is a bit