So far, released trailers for Ubisoft's upcoming title Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, the latest in the popular stealth-action-adventure series, have shown little in the way of gameplay. While fans have been treated to some cinematics and eye-catching character designs, we were left with little idea how combat and exploration worked.
Fans were hoping to see more during Ubisoft's upcoming all-digital Ubi Forward event, as Valhalla had been confirmed as one of the featured titles. Now, less than a week before the event set for July 12 , an entire half hour of gameplay footage has leaked online.
The footage comes from an incomplete version of the game, with the message "Work In Progress" clearly displayed throughout. Fans get their first look at the female version of Eivor, the player character, whose male counterpart had taken the starring role in previous trailers.
The thirty-minute video, which is currently hypothesized to come from a fairly early part of the game, contains a number of different combat and gameplay elements as Eivor leads a combination of her followers and rebellious East Anglian peasants in an assault on the real-life Burgh Castle. Her ultimate goal is to confront a Viking named Rued, a pretender to the East Anglian throne, who holds the castle and treats the local people poorly.
The mission includes open world exploration gameplay, in which Eivor rides a horse and is attacked by vicious wolves. Following this, she delivers a rousing speech to her troops before setting off in her longship to attack Rued's stronghold. Viewers get a brief glimpse at naval-based gameplay as enemy longships attack. Eivor's plan to break through the castle's defenses is a daring one: ramming a boat filled with gunpowder into the castle's defenses, a tactic which recalls the iconic Battle of Helm's Deep from the Lord of the Rings film franchise.
Combat is reminiscent of previous titles in the series, especially 2018's Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - eagle-eyed fans might even glimpse Eivor using a move similar to the iconic Spartan Kick. However, new elements are also present, including the ability to throw multiple handheld axes and a new mechanic called "Raven Sight," in which Eivor sees through the eyes of her raven companion in order to locate important objects.
The video even shows a brief look at the game's skill tree, which is shown in the form of constellations spread across the night sky. Longtime fans of the series might also notice a button for "exiting Animus," meaning that the game will also feature a modern-day segment with Eivor's story shown as memories or flashbacks.
At the end of the leaked video, Eivor confronts Rued and is given the chance to kill or spare him, indicating that the game will feature significant choices, perhaps with a lasting impact on the continuing story. The footage shows Eivor choosing mercy at the encouragement of Oswald, the rightful East Anglian king.
Fan responses to the leaked footage have been mixed. The combat has been compared to other Assassin's Creed titles, while the sweeping camera work brings to mind Red Dead Redemption 2, and the horseback exploration and wolf battle have caused some fans to name-drop The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. The video shows obvious unfinished elements, including NPCs standing still and not acting in the middle of combat, so it's definitely clear that this is not a finished or polished version of the game.
The footage was originally uploaded to YouTube via a source which has not yet been identified. While Ubisoft has removed the initial video, fans have re-uploaded the entire half hour elsewhere.
More information regarding Assassin's Creed: Valhalla will likely be revealed on July 12 during the Ubi Forward event. It is not yet known whether any elements of the leaked footage will be included.
Ubisoft have been contacted for comment on how this footage was leaked online.