Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, is the virus that has thrown the world into a pandemic, causing lockdowns, distress, and forcing all our beloved video game conferences to be delayed or outright canceled. It’s no lie that the virus has had a huge effect, and for us in the video games industry, it’s resulted in developers working on video games from home. But with the launch of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it seems that this may be the first video game to mention the virus, not through the story, but through notes.
Players take on the role of Eivor, a Viking that travels to England to start afresh, heck, just read our review and find out what we thought about Ubisoft’s latest venture into the Assassin’s Creed universe. But as with all of those games, the Animus segments play a role in the story, and we find Layla taking a break from being in the Animus that allows them to travel back to the past and play as Eivor.
These moments also usually offer up a bit of exploration in the modern world, and in the case of Valhalla, you get to walk around the house of which yourself and two others have set up. And similarly to other games, there’s a laptop that allows you to rummage through folders, files, and emails. In one email, Layla replies to Rami Hassan saying, “I don’t have Covid, no.” It’s obviously a very minor reference, but it felt both strange and interesting to throw in a reference that’s not only relevant but still on-going in reality.
As far as I’m aware, there are no video games that have made such a direct reference to the pandemic. I mean, ignoring those games that were made to teach social distancing, or the odd games created to have you kill the virus.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and will be available on Xbox Series X / S, and PS5.