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The Reason This Feature Didn't Make It Into Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla builds on the Assassin's Creed games that came before it. The game sports combat similar to Assassin's Creed: Origins and Odyssey, but it also adds features such as a photo mode, side activities like drinking contests and Viking rap battles, and, most importantly, the ability to pet cats and dogs. However, the developers at Ubisoft had a few more ideas for the game that didn't make it into the finished product. One was a fan-favorite mechanic from past Assassin's Creed games that, upon further reflection, didn't make as much sense as initially thought.

In an interview with Game Informer, game producer Julien Laferrière revealed that the team originally wanted to insert naval combat into Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. The franchise has had a lot of success with maritime warfare segments, and when you think about Vikings, you probably (and accurately) think about seafaring warriors. You might assume that if anyone would have mastered the art of naval combat, it would be a people who made a life out of raiding ocean-hugging villages. The team at Ubisoft sure did, but sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction.

After much research, the developers came to the startling realization that Vikings weren't big on sea battles. They didn't even fire volleys of flaming arrows into enemy vessels — the most basic of tactics from Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. So, instead of adding yet another entry to the list of Valhalla's anachronisms, the team just dialed back their oceanic plans.

Rather than giving players an ocean to explore — and populating it with enemy ships — Ubisoft reduced the game's watery expanses to rivers and waterways. And while Assassin's Creed: Valhalla retains its ships, they have been relegated to vehicles that ferry players and their raiding parties from location to location.

According to Laferrière, most of Assassin Creed: Valhalla's mechanics and systems remained entrenched throughout development. They went through various versions, but they were altered to maintain a sense of balance. Naval combat, meanwhile, was the only feature that was completely gutted because it was based on a common misconception.

Granted, the game is still filled with plenty of (intentional) historical inaccuracies, such as the series-iconic Hidden Blade and a giant rideable wolf. Not even historians are sold on the Viking cliché of tattoos, but naval combat? If historical records assert it didn't happen, then it's a bridge too far for Assassin's: Creed Valhalla.