Assassin's Creed Valhalla was one of 2020's biggest games, offering players one of the most unique entries in the franchise. Of course, the game might not have been as well-received had it followed the original ending that Ubisoft considered! In an Ubisoft livestream, narrative director Darby McDevitt discussed the game's ending, and an alternative vision the team had. Warning: spoilers ahead! The ending for Valhalla sees Basim replace Layla as the modern-day protagonist for the series. However, Ubisoft had initially considered a different ending in which players would actually swap between two members of Layla's cell: Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane.
According to McDevitt, the idea of trapping Layla in the Yggdrasil Chamber and releasing Basim was an early idea, but the rest of the details changed later in production.
"I remember Ash [Ismail] said, 'why don't we switch to him as the modern-day protagonist?'" said McDevitt. "And that became kind of an interesting idea because I think the original idea was once Layla's gone, maybe you go back and you just play as Shaun or Rebecca and you get to choose, you could just swap back-and-forth between Shaun and Rebecca and play as them."
This version of the ending would have still seen Basim out in the modern world, but it would have been more ambiguous about where the character was headed next, and what his motivations might be. However, the team wanted to use the Staff of Hermes from Assassin's Creed Odyssey as part of the narrative for Valhalla.
It's always interesting to get a look behind the curtain of the development process! A lot of time and effort goes into video game development, and there are a lot of parts and pieces that have to get changed. While the quote from McDevitt gives a compelling look at what might have been, Ubisoft's livestream gives a lot of other interesting details about the development of Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Fans of the franchise can find the video of the livestream at the top of this page.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Google Stadia.
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