Why some fans are mad about the Assassin's Creed Viking livestream reveal
Ubisoft is teasing a new Assassin's Creed involving Vikings, but fans have mixed reactions about how many RPG elements there'll be.
E3 2020 was supposed to take place in early June, but as we approach gaming's biggest season during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, many of this fall's biggest games are instead being revealed during springtime livestreams, and the first major title is the new Assassin's Creed.
Ubisoft has confirmed that the series is returning with a new entry in 2020, and the company teased the game during a Wednesday livestream. It confirms previous leaks and reports about the setting of this new Assassin's Creed focusing on Viking cultures, and fans are now waging a war over whether or not the game should be an RPG or return to the stealth-focused roots of the franchise.
Update: At the conclusion of the livestream, Ubisoft confirmed a title of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and announced that the trailer will be revealed on April 30 at 11 a.m. Eastern. Original story continues below.
What was shown during the stream? On Wednesday, Ubisoft and artist Bosslogic teamed up to host an art stream that also served as a game reveal. As time unfolded, the art piece slowly gained more and more details, and now we know that the previous rumors about the new Assassin's Creed game featuring Vikings are true.
The art depicts a shadowed protagonist standing between two different images: one is set in a frozen sea (likely somewhere in Scandinavia) while the other shows a battle in the foothills of England. This suggests that this Assassin's Creed game will rooted in the historical time period rather than something more fantastical like God of War or Assassin's Creed Odyssey. The eventual aim seems to be a reveal of the protoagonist.
What we know about the new Assassin's Creed game — As this art heavily features settings associated with Vikings, it backs up previous reports that claimed that the next Assassin's Creed game would follow the culture. This discussion first emerged after the release of Tom Clancy's The Division 2 last year, which contained an image of a Viking holding an Apple of Eden from the Assassin's Creed series.
Kotaku revealed several key details back in April 2019 about this next Assassin's Creed game, and several rumors have emerged since then claiming to know what the Assassin's Creed game starring Vikings would look like. If you still have any doubt that this game will have a Nordic setting, former Kotaku Editor Jason Schreier doubled down on his claims over Twitter on Wednesday, hinting that a full gameplay reveal is coming next week.
That type of reveal can't come soon enough, because there's an ongoing battle within the livestream's comments about whether or not the next Assassin's Creed game should incorporate RPG elements as Origins and Odyssey did or revert back to the classic franchise format of a stealthy action game.
Is the new Assassin's Creed an RPG? The series took a yearlong break after the launch of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, which was the last stealth-focused entry for the franchise. When the franchise reemerged in 2017 with Assassin's Creed Origins, it felt very different. The game put a much greater emphasis on RPG elements with stats, leveling, and Witcher-esque questlines.
While these newer Assassin's Creed games have been successful, some older fans are not happy about the shift and yearn for the series to return to simpler times. As a result, a lot of viewers are spamming the chat of this livestream with comments saying things like "No RPG" or "Please no fantasy or teleporting spears."
In response, people who are fans of those RPG elements are spamming comments like "Yes RPG!" "Yes Vikings!" and "Yes Magic!" So there's a clear division among the playerbase. Leaks do point to this game retaining the RPG elements, so the "No RPG" clan of players may end up disappointed by the eventual full reveal.
The Inverse Analysis — I've never been a huge fan of the Assassin's Creed series, even after the RPG shift that brought it more in line with games I enjoy. That said, this new Viking-related setting is enticing, and I can't wait to see what Assassin's Creed will do with the power of next-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and God of War proved that games with RPG elements and clear Nordic influence can be enthralling, so I'm on the side of the "Yes RPG" fans. As the games already embrace fantastical story elements with the Animus sections set in present-day, the series doesn't need to shy away from that influence.
The new Assassin's Creed is rumored for release in late 2020.