Depending on how loosely you define them, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla doesn’t really have traditional side quests. There are side activities, and lots of them, but not the kind of lengthy diversion from the main storyline that Assassin’s Creed players have normally encountered in Ubisoft’s quasi-historical open-world games. The reason? It’s because protagonist Eivor isn’t really a hero.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Valhalla narrative director Darby McDevitt and game director Eric Baptizat explained why Ubisoft discarded the side quest model for this Assassin’s Creed outing. It comes down to the fact that Eivor, as a Viking invader in England, is a different kind of character than Origins’ Bayek or Odyssey’s Kassandra or Alexios were.

“In most RPGs, the player embodies the role of a hero, usually someone who is native to the land they are exploring, and who has a positive role to play in this world – a hero, a mercenary, a sheriff, etc.,” the Ubisoft devs explain. “In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, no such assumption can be made about our main character.”

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