Gaming

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Slay as a female Viking

Assassin's Creed Valhalla lets you play Eivor as a female Viking warrior. Image credit: Ubisoft
Play Eivor as a female Viking warrior. Image credit: Ubisoft

For the first time ever, you can choose to play the main character as female in the latest installment in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Nor is this ability to play the Viking warrior Eivor as female or male a gratuitous choice, as it has an impact on the plot and gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which was released today to the delight of gamers.

“This choice is something that obviously will provide for players to have a choice, but it has a narrative reason for it. It’s not something that we can talk about because it is actually a big part of this mystery that we hope players will enjoy. And there’s a big plot element that is linked to the fact that you have this choice,” said Ubisoft Singapore Associate Game Director Antoine Henry at the closed-door virtual media preview of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Why Vikings rule

If, like me, you have been fascinated by the saga of the Norsemen for a long time — yes, even before the History Channel’s “Vikings“, then I’m sure you can’t wait to get your hands on this game.

In this game, you play Eivor from Norway, a fierce Viking warrior raised on tales of battle and glory. You will lead a Viking raid and bring your clan of Norsemen across the icy North Sea to the rich lands of England’s broken kingdoms.

Your goal? To establish a new permanent home in England, no matter the cost.

At the media preview, Henry gave a sneak peek at the naval gameplay. He and his team were in charge of the longship. This is the specialized Scandinavian warship of the Norsemen that struck fear in the hearts of their enemies whenever these were sighted.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla lets you play Eivor as a female Viking warrior. Image credit: Ubisoft
Image credit: Ubisoft

Henry and his team went to great lengths to replicate the experience of traveling in one of these longships through a replica. He marveled at the design of these longships that allowed them to navigate up rivers to launch surprise attacks. It was from these longships that the Vikings would launch massive assaults against the Saxons and their fortresses throughout England. And with their dragon-shaped bow — the reason the English called these vessels dragonships — you can just imagine the supernatural terror these longships evoked.

Image credit: Ubisoft
Image credit: Ubisoft

What’s also fascinating is that Henry is so passionate cultures, arts, and craftsmanship that he even built his own Viking instrument by hand and wrote songs in Old Norse.

Getting to know Ubisoft Singapore

Image credit: Ubisoft
Image credit: Ubisoft

One of the great things about the media preview is that it also talked about Ubisoft Singapore‘s contributions to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and gave a glimpse of the company culture.

Syarah Mahmood, Associate Lead Artist on the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla World team in Singapore, works closely with Ubisoft Montreal and the Ubisoft Philippines team.

Her forte is creating immersive and beautiful worlds. She has created level art on Ubisoft titles from the Assassin’s Creed franchise such as Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, as well as newer titles like the upcoming Immortals Fenyx Rising.

Mahmood graduated with a degree in Animation at Nanyang Polytechnic, and initially worked in the animation industry.

“I went back to school because I wanted to work in the games industry,” she said.

She earned a DigiPen Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation and rebuilt her portfolio for the games industry. She started out in Ubisoft Singapore as a junior 3D artist, before doing lead art and now becoming an associate lead artist.

Mahmood shared examples of Ubisoft Singapore’s company cultures, including photos of her cat and the pets of her colleagues. Plus the time they built their own Viking helmets, shields, and other instruments.

With passionate game creators, compelling stories, and visceral battles, we can be sure Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will live up to the legacy of the Vikings — and make their fiercest warriors in Valhalla proud.