Exclusive: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla interview with creative director Ashraf Ismail

I have the utmost respect for Ashraf Ismail. If you look at the Assassin’s Creed franchise, some of its greatest moments have been while his hands have been at the wheel. He is currently the creative director for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and was part of the impressive revival of the series in Assassin’s Creed Origins, where he was creative director and writer for the game.

Now with another open-world game heading our way, we got to ask him a few questions about our next adventure, along with Eivor, their clan and Norse rap battles.

Will this be the conclusion of Layla Hassan’s story?

Players will be continuing Layla Hassan’s journey in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Going further than this would be spoiler territory, so we won’t say more than this for now!

It has been a long time since AC had any base-building/ management aspects in it, what inspired the return to this?

In terms of history, the journey of the Vikings into England was based on the idea of living and creating a home there. To give the full Viking experience we felt it was key to deliver on this historical precedence. The settlement is Eivor’s home, and a reflection of their character as a leader. Investing in the settlement creates buildings and grows a community and social ecosystem. Eivor’s journey will be underscored and mirrored by the journey of the settlement and its inhabitants. Each new building that is added to the settlement has a unique function, and offers new gameplay opportunities. At its heart, the settlement is a narrative journey through a system.

Will Eivor be as… “aggressive” when pursuing romantic options?

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a journey through Eivor’s life. This is a Viking raider who is strong, complex, introspective and determined. We have approached dialogue choice with the notion that players can explore the framework of Eivor without going outside the limits who this character is.

The initial marketing has primarily focused on male Eivor, why is that?

In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla players will relive the saga of Eivor and will be able to choose whether they play as male or female. We will showcase Eivor as either male or female at different points throughout the campaign.
For Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we focused on the personality and the story our hero.

Players will be able to discover a strong, complex and determined character, a Viking Raider, a Clan Leader who is fighting to keep their clan’s life and legacy alive.

The trailer showed dual wielding, will this be in the game?

Yes! For the combat system of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we wanted to reflect the grittiness of the Viking experience. The feeling of impact during visceral combat was something we paid a lot of attention to. The brutality and versatility of the Viking warriors is reflected in the great variety of weapons, dual-wielding, and playstyles available to the player.

How has combat changed since the last title?

In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the Viking way is brutal, ruthless and visceral. It is not for the faint at heart. The combat is weightier and bloodier featuring weaponry that is famous from this unique time period. Eivor is able to skillfully dual-wield weapons such as heavy axes, shields, swords, hammers, and flails.

Eivor will face a great variety of enemies – there are 25 unique enemy archetypes in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and the addition of dual-wielding offers a more dynamic combat system than ever before. Players will encounter minion and elite enemy varieties and will have the freedom to choose what strategy they want to use to defeat them.

What new activities will players have to look forward to? We had pyramids to explore and plunder, then ancient ruins.

There will be plenty of new activities for players to enjoy in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and one we are always really excited to talk about is Flyting – this is where Vikings would rhythmically insult each other, kind of like modern-day rap battles. Additionally, players will be able to go fishing, go on hunts, and play drinking and dice games.

The world of Dark Ages England held many secrets and mysteries. A world built by the Neo-lithic people, the Romans and the Saxons. Players can expect to explore deep, forgotten caves, the mysterious Stonehenge, the beautiful and ancient Puzzle Wood, the great wall to the north, Hadrian’s Wall.

Odyssey had a world in constant conflict, with forts and camps constantly refilled with new enemies to kill. Will we see a similar persistence?

In the worlds of Norway and England there are many factions, clans, and armies all vying for ownership of the land. This is a journey anchored in the history of the time period so there is shifting of ownership as time moves forward, but it respects the historical precedent and the needs of the story.

We saw a sign from Odin in the reveal trailer, how prevalent will Norse mythology be in the game?

The pantheon of Nordic gods and Norse mythology played an important role in the daily life of the Norse. Norse customs and practices are integral to the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the characters inhabiting this world.

What is the name of the next horse I will spend many hours with?

We are not yet ready to speak about the mounts.

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

Lost Password

Sign Up