Game Guides

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Do You Have to Play the Other Games to Understand the Story?

New players can enjoy Eivor's journey without much confusion.

by Diego Perez


Do you need to play the other Assassin’s Creed games before you play Valhalla? Assassin’s Creed is one of gaming’s longest-running franchises, coming up on its twelfth mainline entry this year with Valhalla (and that’s not even counting spin-offs and other media), so there’s a lot of lore to catch up on if you’ve never played a game in the series before. Thankfully, the new games are excellent jumping-on points, and while it may be better to start with Origins or Odyssey, you should still have no trouble starting with Valhalla if you really want to experience Ubisoft’s open-world Viking adventure. There are some things that will confuse you, however, but we’ve got your back with this handy guide.

Is There An Overarching Story in the New Assassin’s Creed Games?

While the historical stories of Assassin’s Creed are largely independent, there is an overarching modern-day storyline that has been ongoing since the very first game all the way back in 2007. Basically, the series is about modern-day people reliving the memories of dead people from all throughout history with a device called the Animus. The older Assassin’s Creed games followed a guy named Desmond Miles, who was a descendant of Altair, Ezio, Connor, and all those other Assassins featured in the first mainline games.

Starting with Assassin’s Creed Origins, however, the series has a new modern-day protagonist called Layla Hassan. You don’t need to know what happened with Desmond to follow the story in Valhalla, but this game is the conclusion of Layla’s story that began in Origins. It could into the original Desmond storyline a bit as well, but the main overarching narrative you’ll want to know is Layla’s story. All of that being said, the modern-day elements of Assassin’s Creed games always take a backseat to the historical settings, so Layla’s story will likely only last for a fraction of the time that Eivor’s story does. It’s all easily ignorable if you’re not interested.


What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Valhalla?

This is only a brief rundown of the current modern-day storyline. If you want a full explanation, check out our Assassin’s Creed modern-day story recap.

All you need to know is that Layla is a former Abstergo employee that is now working with the modern-day Assassins to prevent an apocalyptic event. She joined the Assassins after reliving Bayek’s memories in Assassin’s Creed Origins, and then she relived Kassandra’s memories in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in order to locate the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus, a powerful artifact that makes its owner immortal. Kassandra held onto it after the events of Odyssey before passing it onto Layla after thousands upon thousands of years. It’s also worth mentioning that Kassandra and the Staff were located in the Lost City of Atlantis this whole time, which Layla and her team were able to find using Kassandra’s memories.

Once Layla gets the Staff, she relives more of Kassandra’s memories so she can become the official Staff Keeper. In ancient Greece, Kassandra underwent trials that sent her through a simulation of the Greek afterlife to prove she could become the Staff’s Keeper. It basically has the potential to corrupt whoever holds it, so the trials are there to strengthen the wielder’s resolve. Kassandra successfully completed the trials and learned to wield the Staff until she gave it to Layla. While Layla is experiencing these trials in the modern-day by reliving Kassandra’s memories, she accidentally kills one of her friends with the Staff. Layla also defeats an Abstergo strike team and cripples a high-ranking Templar official named Otso Berg before leaving Atlantis. She’s understandably shaken up by what happened after she obtained the Staff, and this will likely play a large role in Valhalla’s story.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla releases on November 10 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna and November 12 for PS5.

- This article was updated on:November 8th, 2020

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