Ahead of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s release, I had the opportunity to check out how settlement building will work in the game. Though Ubisoft has described the establishment of a new home for Eivor’s people as a major motivation for the character, there’s been little shown about this aspect of Valhalla so far. I was a bit surprised to see just how much the settlement factors into Valhalla’s gameplay loop, serving as a place you’ll regularly visit and invest in throughout the campaign. It feels like an improvement to how home bases have worked in Assassin’s Creed in the past, largely for how it pulls you into Eivor’s life beyond their mission.
“It was really important when we designed [the settlement] that it felt exactly like when you come back home after a long journey away–you work in some other places, other regions, other countries, and you come back to your family and some element has changed,” explained David Bolle, level designer on the settlement feature.
In a video presentation, Bolle showed me how Eivor’s settlement evolves over the course of the game. Some of the changes are caused by you; for example, spending resources to build shops will, in turn, welcome settlers to set up camp in the area and join your community. Other times, the changes happen without you. For instance, you may return after a lengthy campaign mission only to find some traders have set up shop or that some of the people have elected to improve the architecture of certain structures and make the place feel more like a permanent residence for its people.