Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Is Divided Into Self-Contained Sagas
“[Valhalla] has a thin online –there’s definitely an emotional through line,” McDevitt said. “However, what we’re more interested in is saying,’here is a little two-hour experience and here’s another tiny two-hour experience,’ and they’re all self explanatory. And they’re going to pile on top of each other so that the topics that we are gradually building have more resonance, increasingly. And I think actually, to get a player of video games, using these two- or three-hour bite sized chunks is actually cool since you are not likely to be 40 hours in this game thinking,’Hey, I want the story to wrap up. It’s been a very long time.'”
“Like I mentioned, we are playing a longer game here–there is an undercurrent,” McDevitt added. “But we’re hoping that these more bite-sized things carry you in a exceptional way.”
“The sagas are not told like the normal hero’s journey that you get in most Western literature–a three-act structure, a rise and fall, the call to action, then the refusal of this call. The sagas are now more episodic minutes in a character’s history. And you follow along through a long period of their life. It generally follows them from birth to death, but it’s not about using a single driving storyline. They feel more like lifestyle. How life is, which is merely a series of character construction incidences that orbit some topics.”
I’ve actually seen this first-hand. I played through one of Valhalla’s more combat-focused sagas back in July, and a totally different one in a current six-hour hands-on. None made reference to another. They were every self-contained stories that had their own beginning, middle, and end. The only commonality is protagonist Eivor, and that I did notice how I played with the character (in relation to dialog options) in that first saga educated my decisions in the next. My Eivor was evolving, but the two different sagas might have easily been played in almost any order and it wouldn’t have radically altered my understanding of either .
McDevitt added that he expects that by dividing Valhalla’s story into these self-contained sections, it makes it a lot easier to complete the whole game. As Assassin’s Creed fans will tell you, the latest games have been getting quite long–the previous game, 2018’s Odyssey, clocked in at 50 hours (and that’s only the campaign; that isn’t even counting the exceptionally lengthy six followup DLC expansions). Together with Valhalla, the idea seems to be the expectation that gamers will find heaps of two-hour stories to be a lot easier to ultimately finish than 1 giant story.
Consequently, its narrative is divided into individual 2 – to three-hour balls. Valhalla is not one long experience like the previous games, it’s individual stories which finally add up to one final decision.