The note at the beginning of this Assassin's Creed Valhalla debut gameplay trailer says, "Footage representative of expected Xbox Series X gameplay." We get a rich depth of field on a turquoise-eyed Viking showing off some of splotchy mascara. That's some O.G. guyliner, right there.
Imagery of the Vikings already strikes a visceral chord in me. So seeing a trailer featuring tall Scandinavian longhouses, dinner tables surrounding deep fire pits, and woodwork that looks like braided cardamom bread is enough to get my blood pumping. Having wooden Odin and Thor poles sprinkled around the settlement doesn't hurt either. Then we catch a glimpse of that good ol' hidden blade, the one staple of the ever-evolving Assassin's Creed series. Then it's on to the sick tattoos and wiry muscles of the Viking folks, basically the staple of their culture. Then you've got twin ravens on a ship sail (an Odin favorite), snow-banked rivers, more religious totems dotting the landscape, and banners of war saying, "Hi, everyone, this is mine now." Graves circle a one-tree hill, the tree evoking Yggdrasil, the cosmological tree that connects the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology.
Then the imagery shifts to Christianity and its cross—a different kind of tree imagery, but no less central to the connecting of worlds. The Christian cross is, of course, sported by the bad guys in Assassin's Creed, the Templars. Then more Nordic rock pillars. Then England's Stonehenge. Then you start to remember that the Assassin's Creed series has fun connecting certain dots, tying together religion and religious iconography into a red thread board of spiritual mayhem.
I'm guessing there will be no shortage of solo assassin work to be done. But raids and castle sieges—where you're leading the charge, backed by dozens of other Vikings, and shoving around battering rams—seem like they'll play an important role, too. That, and fire. There's a decent amount of setting fire to rooftops here.
We're still looking at Holiday 2020 for an Assassin's Creed Valhalla launch date on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC.