Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the next game in the franchise and we think that the game could lead to a reboot of the franchise. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla could also feature plenty of surprised, including some old characters that we love.
Disclaimer: This article is a fan theory, in no way it represents Ubisoft’s final vision, but it is based on years of experience of playing Assassin’s Creed games, following its lore, and dissecting some of its critical moments which have led us here today. The article contains major spoilers about the franchise and theorizes some of the key elements of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Whether they will stand true or not, only time will tell. But until then; nothing is true, everything is permitted!
Beginning of the Creed
The first Assassin’s Creed came out in 2007, quite a long while back, and ever since then, it has taken the world by storm. From garnering a huge video game fan-base to having multiple novels, toys, comics, animations and even a Hollywood film starring Michael Fassbender under its belt, Ubisoft has made Assassin’s Creed games a flagship franchise unlike any.
The game boasted an open world, a parkour system unlike anything the world had witnessed before, climb any wall or tower (something we could not believe was possible), and one of the coolest set of action combos of that time. There was nothing like AC, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The game featured an extraordinary concept based on two parallel timelines, giving us both past and present in the most unique way possible. Assassin’s Creed 1 was not a perfect game, but these elements made it one of the most beloved games of the last generation and even of Assassin’s Creed Franchise.
Assassin’s Creed 1 featured the story of Desmond Miles under the custody of Abstergo, whose ancestral memories could be accessed through use of Animus, where we could access and play as Altair, an Assassin fighting his war against the Templars in the backdrop of third crusade 12th Century AD.
The game featured historical elements and even characters representatives of real personalities who had actually existed in that time. Although the game does not necessarily feature authentic historical accounts, the use of history in such a manner to tell an interesting story, was nevertheless a crowning achievement for Ubisoft.
The core gameplay of Assassin’s Creed 1 had the following elements, which made it an Assassin’s Creed game, in the eyes of the fans:
- Open World
- Hidden Blade, and it’s one-hit kills
- Action-based on different moves and counters
- Social Stealth
- Leap of Faith
Assassin’s Creed 1 was held back a key element of the game, the history behind Apple of Eden, which was unravelled through unlocking many memories and became one of the greatest gaming twists (in my humble opinion).
Enter the Italian
Assassin’s Creed 1 was a critical hit, though it required lots of room for improvement, so Ubisoft wasn’t slow in the development of its next chapter, Assassin’s Creed 2, which was released in 2009.
Assassin’s Creed 2 boasted the era of Italian Renaissance, where you shared the journey with the one named Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who is still the most loved Assassins of all. While we still played as Desmond Miles in the future part of the game (this time with a lot of options there as well, as well as character development), but the core highlight was most definitely Ezio.
Ezio’s story was a lot more personal in nature. It had revenge, it had the passing of time and age, and it even had great historical figures helping him in his war against the Templars. Ezio also boasted a lot more personality traits than Altair had, who was rather mysterious and brooding. Ezio’s family theme by Jesper Kyd is still the tent pole of Assassin’s Creed Franchise soundtrack.
In terms of core gameplay elements, it had everything that Assassin’s Creed 1 had, nothing was taken out, but this time there were some wonderful updates:
- Ezio could swim
- Ezio had gadgets to distract enemies
- Ezio had moves to make his parkour even more fluid
- Improved Fast Travel
Apart from this, the game introduced its own economy, and currency became of value even in terms of game and progression. This was a welcoming change, and Ubisoft expanded the story of Ezio and the game, in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010) and Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011) as well.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood introduced the use of fellow Assassins as well and expanded the world of Assassin’s Creed characters drastically. We learnt a lot about Assassins, Templars and the artifacts (and the creators) through many cut scenes and gameplay moments. The game was no longer keeping things under wraps and I felt that it was a fresh change of pacing.
Unfortunately, by this time though, Desmond Mile’s story had gone really slow as Ubisoft’s core focus was Ezio’s story; and also, the game started to feel monotonous. Fans loved the games but they needed a clean slate to start anew.
Ubisoft also introduced Assassin’s Creed Multiplayer experience with Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but as it does not add any story element for our theory, it is not considered in this article.
The American’s Creed
After four extraordinary main games, Ubisoft decided to revamp the game from scratch, updating their game engine, the parkour and action moves, and take the game out of Europe. By this time, players had learnt a lot about Assassin’s but not so much about Templars.
The opening of Assassin’s Creed 3 (2012) was enough to push us back into our seat and the redesigned moves and level structure (we could parkour even on trees!), gave the game a new set of challenges. The game was no longer as easy as it was mostly in terms of action counters, and it had now introduced some major changes which were previously not present:
- Naval combats
- Improved Moves and Combos
- Stealth in a more traditional way
Social Stealth was almost dropped out and there weren’t many complaints. You could still mix in the crowd but with the introduction of traditional stealth elements and stealth kills, there was hardly any need of it.
However, not everything was appropriately polished. Especially in terms of story. We play as Connor Kenway in the story, who happens to be an Assassin while his father was a Templar. It was a good twist but which, in my opinion, wasn’t really led to appropriate fruition.
The game also gave an unexpected conclusion to Desmond Mile’s story, which is still something many fans could not fully agree with. But it was quite clear that Ubisoft was moving towards some big changes.
Ho Ho Ho A Pirate’s Life for Me
By far one of the most entertaining Assassin’s Creed Games to date, Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag, pitched us in a pirate’s boots and made the pirate-aspect of the game so good, that it almost made you forget about your ongoing crusade against the Templars. The game delivered a drastic change in in-game structure and design:
- Full-fledged Naval combat and economy
- Ship upgrades
- Wide Spread Exploration (still one of the largest maps in any Assassin’s Creed game)
These changes were considered quite welcoming by the community, considering they gave a somewhat fresh approach to Assassin’s Creed Games, a much-needed one I must say. However, the modern timeline had a unique first-person based story element, which was drastically different from what we previously followed. I found it quite disconnected from the main game, and unfortunately, it was only going to get worse with the next Assassin’s Creed game.
In terms of core gameplay and game design, this became one of the most influential games of Assassin’s Creed series, and many games moving forward, based their core elements on this. Assassin’s Creed series was slowly becoming something else and losing its identity, although for the good I must say. However, it would take a few more years before the core changes would actually take effect.
The Assassination of a Franchise
The next few Assassin’s Creed Games, although still selling good numbers, were not really good critical hits. Although these game did bring their own unique twists, such as:
- Assassin’s Creed Rogue: explored Templars a lot more than any Assassin’s Creed game
- Assassin’s Creed Unity: the introduction of Assassin’s Creed Games in what is now current generation, offering co-op for the first time and perhaps the only time
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Two playable characters, and unique industrial European setting
By this time, the core elements of the game were almost the same, games were polished but offered nothing new. The modern timeline was not going anywhere, it had little to no development. Assassin’s Creed Games were being regularly released on an annual basis, and that too wasn’t really sitting well with the community. Gamers wanted a fresh start, and Ubisoft was finally listening.
Assassin’s Creed: Witching Hours
Back in 2015, Witcher 3 came out and took the world by storm because of its core gameplay, a great storyline, deep character development and refined controls. It is our theory that Ubisoft realized the potential of an Assassin’s Creed game designed in light of Witcher 3 but with core thematic elements of Assassin’s Creed Games remaining intact.
So, in 2017, after a break of almost two years, Assassin’s Creed Origins was released which was quite literally a reboot of the franchise with drastic changes:
- Drastic changes in playstyle, offering totally redesigned combat system
- Loot mechanics offering various gear and weapons to enhance gameplay
- Combat moves and effects in correlation with weapons and gears equipped
- Levelling system (RPG inspired)
- Enemy levelling system, encouraging grinding for higher levels and gears
- Consumable Management
The game was drastically different from any Assassin’s Creed game ever created and could have been sold as a separate IP altogether. And although it strayed quite far from what Assassin’s Creed games are supposed to be, it still garnered a lot of positive praise both from players and critiques.
This was not all. Assassin’s Creed Origins expressed story of Bayek, it was set in Egypt and brought mythological/supernatural elements in the game. Our main character, however, did not express any supernatural abilities, and although he had a hidden blade, it was not a one-hit-kill-mechanic anymore (as the damage would vary based on the level of the enemy).
The modern timeline followed the expeditions of Layla, a young woman fighting Abstergo and looking for Artifacts before the enemies did. Her gameplay and story element were not the strong point, but she is by far the only real development ever since Desmond’s arch was concluded.
Assassin’s Creed Origins, as the name suggests, was mainly a story about how the Assassins came to be, referred to as the Hidden Ones. Also, the game does not express the enemies as Templars, but the main ideology remained quite the same.
The timeline of Assassin’s Creed Origins existed in 49-47 BC, and therefore gave lots of fresh options for Ubisoft. The game also featured Dialogue choices, but the core story still remained linear. While Origin only truly expresses the creation of Assassins at the end, it still provided a deeper insight into some of the longest-running questions since the beginning of this franchise.
With the advent of Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft had opened lots of new opportunities for the franchise, especially in the storytelling aspect. As Assassin’s Creed Origins was mostly focused on the creation of Assassins, it was assumed that Ubisoft might push forward in the same story arch, but instead, Ubisoft went further back in time (431-422 BC) and introduced demigods.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was drastically different from the core Assassin’s Creed game theme, but for a good reason. It had the following defining elements, apart from using most of the aspects introduced in Assassin’s Creed Origin:
- You can either play as Alexios or Kassandra
- Offering the same gear and weapon system, but with godlike powers which you can unlock through level progression
- Story closer to Greek mythologies
- Challenges against mythological creatures
- Slightly modifiable linear experience, where some choices do make a difference in the overall conclusion
- A robust naval combat system with great customization for ships
- A large map with a huge pile of side quests
The story was focused on the origin of the artifacts and the people or demigods who came before us, bringing us closer to answers to many questions raised throughout the series. The story also creates a connection with myths and legends and giving a whole new horizon for the storytelling aspect of Assassin’s Creed series.
As for the modern timeline, Layla drastically develops and becomes more confident and rather ruthless. Now many fans found this change to be uncalled for and not required, whereas we believe it was a necessary change. All artifacts mostly corrupted men to the core or at least blinded them with their powers.
Therefore, it was quite natural that Layla also loses herself when she finally gets to wield one of the fabled artifacts. She does make some questionable choices, however, in order to complete our theory about the future of Assassin’s Creed series, this wasn’t unexpected.
Going through this rundown, we tend to create a connection between the games addressed above and the upcoming highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and theorize where the series might be headed.
Assassin’s Full Circle
We have come a long way since Assassin’s Creed 1, and for the last many years, people have been asking for a remaster or remake of the first Assassin’s Creed game. But as Assassin’s Creed Origin totally changed the direction and gameplay style of the game, it was quite hard to imagine Ubisoft going back to its roots, especially considering the extremely positive reception of both Assassin’s Creed Origin and Odyssey.
But with the rumours and hints, we are receiving about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it might be exactly what Ubisoft is headed towards. Let’s breakdown some of the major changes Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is bringing back although still boasting an open world and combat style quite closer to Assassin’s Creed Origin:
- The open-world remains, but they’re no more levels defining the higher difficulty of enemies; RPG elements like levelling up, have been removed
- Hidden Blade is once again going to one-hit kill anyone you can get close enough to, it has been one of the most requested features since Assassin’s Creed Origin came out
- The combat is skill-based and players will be able to unlock better moves through skill tree (just like Assassin’s Creed Origin), a multitude of enemy types ensure that every fight scenario is a challenge and rather skill based
- The game is returning with social stealth as well, which had gone missing entirely, and it is one of the biggest signs for an Assassin’s Creed game returning to its roots while keeping the better things about Assassin’s Creed Origin and Odyssey intact
Now delving deeper into the theory for the main lore of Assassin’s Creed games, which is the fight between Assassins and Templars, and the role of Abstergo. This part of the article is entirely a fan theory at this stage and may not even stand true once the game is out. Nevertheless, we are sure most of this will make sense considering the information we have received so far.
Firstly, as you might have noted in the trailers of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the game is based in 9th century Europe, a timeline and region which falls quite close to 12th century Europe of Assassin’s Creed 1 game featuring Altair.
The game once again boasts British Empire as the villain, just like they were in Assassin’s Creed 1 (although the line becomes quite blur by the end, and I am assuming it will be the same case here). Most of all, we now know about the origin of Assassins and also where the artifacts come from, I think it is about time we find out about the creation of Templars which were an integral part of British Empire’s history. And this time period of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla seems like a likely candidate for such an introduction.
If we connect all these dots, we can assume that Assassin’s Creed franchise is bringing us full circle with the first game, and would give a great opportunity for a complete reboot of Assassin’s Creed franchise, releasing Assassin’s Creed 1 again but instead of a remaster, it might be a complete remake, with a higher emphasis on modern timeline.
This brings us to the second part of this theory, the modern timeline of Assassins vs Abstergo. Layla’s character has already reached a pinnacle development arc, which will most likely begin her downfall leading to either a corrupted Layla or someone who parishes because she got too close to the fire.
We are not even sure whether she will be the main playable character or not, maybe we will play someone new or someone from previous Assassin’s Creed games who was not previously playable, perhaps someone from Desmond Miles’ period? If you can recall, in the first Assassin’s Creed game, Desmond Miles is already a captive of Abstergo and we never get to see his life before those events. He never admits being an Assassin but we all know he eventually does start to show many signs that led us to believe he was in fact an Assassin.
Our theory is pretty simple in this regard. With the return of many gameplay elements closer to Assassin’s Creed original trilogy, and rumors of Assassin’s Creed 1 getting a remake/remaster, it is quite likely that by the end of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we get to witness how Desmond Miles get connected to this story and how Abstergo gets their hands on him.
We might also see the end of Layla’s story, as I can’t see foresee further development from her side after what she does at the end of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Atlantis DLC. And this theory stands tall because we have always known the time periods of all Assassin’s Creed games, but we have never known the time period of modern timelines.
For what we can assume, Layla might be from a time period before Desmond was introduced? My assumptions can be wrong as well, but in many ways, introducing a new character like Layla might break the flow the story has been successfully creating and continuing with.
Now, of course, many of you might also add here that Desmond or the likes have been referred in Layla’s story as well, by the demigods, but hear us out. Those demigods do not experience time as we all do, they have already talked to Desmond through Ezio on many occasions. It is quite likely that they can foresee the key characters who will wield their artifacts, and can refer to them however they can. This only adds to the core elements of Assassin’s Creed lore.
Whatever theory comes true or reality, in the end, it is still quite likely that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be a great game, and yet another great addition to a growing franchise. I loved both Assassin’s Creed Origin and Odyssey, and I hope they keep the mythological element of these games alive.
What do you guys think? Don’t you think it is about time Ubisoft gives us an Assassin’s Creed game that follows multiple timelines instead of one time period, with a greater emphasis on the modern timeline, giving us more options and perhaps some really cool stealthy missions? Sign off your thoughts below and let’s keep the ball rolling until we get our hands on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.