Microsoft showed off what's likely to be one of the biggest games of the year during its Xbox Series X event Thursday, giving fans a first glimpse of gameplay from Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which is being released in the holiday season for the Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Google Stadia.
The new historical fiction game, set in ye olde Viking days,. It's centered on the ninth century, amid the wars between the Vikings and England that took place from the middle eighth century until 1066. Last week's trailer saw an English king preparing to declare war against the Norse. On Thursday, Microsoft gave a look at large battles players will fight in, though without giving many specifics.
"This was an absolutely brutal pivotal moment in history that gave us the birth of the England we know today," said Ashraf Ismail, creative director on Valhalla.
Valhalla marks the latest installment in the long-running Assassin's Creed game series, which French game maker Ubisoft first released in 2007. The games have taken players to Italian Renaissance, the pirate age in the Caribbean and, most recently, ancient Greece. The series has sold more than 140 million copies in that time as well, making it one of the best-selling game franchises ever.
Valhalla's main character, Eivor, can be male or female -- the former is voiced by Danish actor Magnus Bruun (from Netflix show The Last Kingdom), while the latter is played by Cecilie Stenspil (whose career includes theater, TV and movies). The game follows Eivor as the character leaves the snowy mountains of Norway to help settle their people and grow a settlement. "To succeed, the players will go raiding using long ships and their raiding party; they'll assault giant fortifications in epic battles; they'll have to gain alliances with kings and legendary Vikings; and they'll be faced with some very harsh choices as the leader of a community," Ismail added.
Microsoft will be holding virtual Xbox 20/20 events each month until the end of the year, and says it's aiming to launch both the Xbox Series X and Halo: Infinite this holiday season. Thursday's event also showed off games like Cyberpunk 2077, and detailed the expansion of Project xCloud, Microsoft's cloud gaming platform, into new countries.