If you’re a long-time fan of the Assassin’s Creed action-adventure games series, you’ll remember that earlier titles also featured stealth game elements – like hiding among groups of monks or civilians to avoid guards’ watchful eyeballs. Good news for fans of this aspect – social stealth is back for Valhalla, this time with a fun Viking twist that means you can dupe guards by skipping on your round o’ beers.
“As we studied the Vikings, we learned it was very important to them not to lose their men,” game director Eric Baptizat tells us in an interview. “So as they were moving around England, they used various tricks to escape detection rather than fight all the time. Suddenly the link with stealth was really obvious and totally makes sense. So when you enter an Anglo-Saxon city, you’re not noticed right away, but if you get too close to the guards, they will notice you.”
The director explains that, for Valhalla’s devs, this meant an opportunity to “bring the cloak back” from the series’ past, so to speak – though, this time, Ubisoft’s adding in an extra, more Viking-esque dimension to stealth mechanics.
“Like in AC1, you can blend with a group of monks and pass any guard,” Baptizat says. “You can also sit at a table to eat with a group of people, and guards won’t notice you. If you want to move, you can promise to buy them a drink, so they’ll follow you – wobbling a bit as they walk – and then you release them, saying ‘sorry, I won’t pay you’, and they’ll shout and try to attract attention. The guard will come to see what happened, and you can use this as a distraction.”
So, essentially, you can start a bit of a bar brawl and stealthily exit the situation by skipping out on your round. Better keep an eye out next time you fancy a horn of ale in the same bar, then.
“Social stealth and stealth in general already makes a lot of sense in this universe – in some places you are accepted, in some places you are not welcome, and some are totally forbidden,” the director adds. “We want you to experience this variety of situations and bring social stealth back into the game loop.”
The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla release date is just a matter of weeks away now, on November 10, so it won’t be long before you can start trying out this novel way to escape attention for yourself. Our full Assassin’s Creed Valhalla interview with the viking game’s Eric Baptizat will go live later this week, so be sure to keep checking back if you’re keen to find out more while you wait.