You probably haven't noticed but something's off in this year of gaming... we haven't had an Assassin's Creed game in a year, which is highly unusual for Ubisoft. Still, it's for the best, as developers who take time to cook up their games in the oven often come out with more decent outputs. Hence, you could say that expectations are high for the next Assassin's Creed game, especially since rumors are, they take place in the Viking Age.
There's no official name for it yet, nor has it been confirmed by the developers themselves but there have been many hints, fake leaks, and speculation as to why Assassin's Creed "Vikings" might just be the next big game in the franchise. At the same time, we also do have our reasons as to why Ubisoft needs Vikings as its next Assassin's Creed game. We're listing five answers to each of those "whys" so you can decide for yourself.
10 WHY IT NEEDS TO BE: WE NEED A PROPER VIKING RPG
The two most recent Assassin's Creed games (Origins and Odyssey) are quite famous for tapping into unused time periods in gaming. They have successfully made roleplaying games (RPGs) out of classical Egypt and classical Greece. Now in hindsight, there haven't really been too many RPGs set in the Viking or Dark Ages in our history.
As such, Assassin's Creed Vikings could be a chance for the genre or the gaming theme to get its own mainstream Viking game, and an RPG nonetheless. In fact, the whole setting fits the RPG genre more suitably than both Egypt or Greece, given the Vikings' penchant for looting and their backdrop for mysticism and myths.
9 WHY IT MIGHT BE: VIKING AGE GAMES ARE GETTING MORE POPULAR
It's not clear which started this fad in gaming but you probably have noticed that Viking-themed games are on the rise lately. God of War (2018), Hellblade, The Banner Saga and many more in the past year have successfully explored and translated the theme into video games.
Even mainstream media has helped to popularize the time period or Norse mythology to a certain extent with superheroes such as Thor and shows like Vikings. So it stands within reason that choosing the Viking Age as the time period for the next Assassin's Creed is a good move for the future of the franchise and as a marketing strategy. At this point, all Ubisoft needs to do is reach out and grab the low-hanging fruit.
8 WHY IT NEEDS TO BE: NEW NICHE SETTING
While it's true that there have been many Viking-themed video games before, it's safe to say that none of them are as vast, ambitious, or as beautiful as what Ubisoft would likely do with the setting. Their developers certainly have the manpower, experience, and the technology to match God of War's rendition of a Norse world but probably with more freedom and a wider scope.
Besides that, it's a whole new frontier for the Assassin's Creed games which have pretty much covered most of the important highlights and time periods in human history from the Medieval Age, Rennaissance, Classical age, Victorian era, and even the Colonial Age. All that's left for them to explore are the Modern age, Stone Age (hopefully not), and the Dark Ages or Viking Age.
7 WHY IT MIGHT BE: IT WON'T REQUIRE OVERHAULS TO THE ODYSSEY FORMULA
Play any Ubisoft game long enough and you'll soon figure out that they have a pattern for making video games. They usually keep trying out formulas and they'll stick to it once they've struck gold until the formula becomes exhausting for the players, prompting them to innovate.
As it is, the RPG formula introduced by Origins and improved upon by Odyssey is still improving, meaning we're likely going to see it at its best in the next game, hopefully, Vikings. Apart from that, Vikings could basically use the same template as Odyssey, especially with naval combat and exploration.
6 WHY IT NEEDS TO BE: RICH ESTABLISHED LORE
There's no doubt that it's an interesting time period and the potential for gameplay and cinematic storytelling can be staggering. Norse mythology can be just as rich as Greek mythology and is ripe for exploration.
Of course, don't expect the same level of power fantasy as God of War, it's still an Assassin's Creed game and needs to abide by historical context and events first and foremost. The Norse mythology stuff can be added later and handled the same way Odyssey handled mythologies.
5 WHY IT MIGHT BE: IT FITS WELL INTO THE TIMELINE
In addition to being a unique setting for Assassin's Creed games, Vikings just might fill an important gap in the timeline or continuity of the Templars vs. Assassins lore. The Dark Ages/Viking Age practically happened as a result of the fall of Rome. Origins already explored the aggressive rise of the Roman empire which began with Julius Caesar who was featured in that game.
The Dark Ages lasted roughly from 400 AD to 1000 AD. In terms of chronology, Vikings could well bridge the game between that era up until the Medieval Age in Europe which the first Assassin's Creed game already explored.
4 WHY IT NEEDS TO BE: AWESOME FASHION
Should Ubisoft proceed with Assassin's Creed Vikings, get ready to trade in Odyssey's skirts and sandals for large bear fur coats, chainmail armor, and axes. Oh, and also capes and long robes, such were the fashion trends back in the Dark Ages.
Depending on how much Ubisoft also adheres to historical accuracy, we may or may not get cool helmets with horns. As it turns out, the "horned" Viking helmet was merely Christian propaganda since they viewed the Viking raiders as menaces to their monasteries, hence they demonized them. Horns or not, expect cool Viking armor.
3 WHY IT MIGHT BE: UBISOFT NEEDS A STRONG NEXT-GEN TITLE NEXT YEAR
The projected launch of the next PlayStation 5 console is sometime around November 2020. Meanwhile, Assassin's Creed games also usually target around the same release periods in a year since its essentially the start of holidays.
If Ubisoft were to play their cards right, then Assassin's Creed Vikings might just be the studio's flagship next-gen video game, which is very much viable speculation. They are flagship games for Ubisoft anyway. It's only fitting for Assassin's Creed games to push the envelope further for graphics technology. Next-gen Vikings with 4K warpaints, anyone?
2 WHY IT NEEDS TO BE: DARKER ATMOSPHERE
It's high time that Assassin's Creed games shed the sterile and unthreatening atmosphere and adopt a more mature and darker tone. After all, it's a game about assassins whose religion is based around cold-blooded murder.
Moreover, they have adopted the Souls-like combat anyway and the games that usually do that tend to be more gloomy and threatening. As such, the Souls-like combat will fit in with Vikings better than it did with Odyssey or even Origins, especially since one of Dark Souls' main influences was apparently Norse mythology.
1 WHY IT MIGHT BE: EASTER EGGS AND BREADCRUMBS
Let's not forget one of the main reasons why Vikings might actually be the next Assassin's Creed game: because Ubisoft sort of said so... in an almost inaudible whisper followed by a wink. No really, it was actually a The Division 2 Easter Egg where someone spotted several Valhalla posters in-game portraying what appears to be a Viking traveler holding what appears to be the Apple of Eden from Assassin's Creed games.
Ubisoft refused to comment on the matter but they are quite notorious for leaving hints and breadcrumbs in their games. Granted, there's still plenty of time left for Ubisoft to change things, so keep holding your breaths for Assassin's Creed Vikings. Nothing is set in stone just yet.