Interviews

Ubisoft Montreal on Assassin’s Creed’s return to France

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brings the popular franchise back to France, and Ubisoft Montreal’s Bruno St-Andre talked of the country’s importance with Stevivor.

“One of our strong through lines is definitely the Viking expansion,” St-Andre said. “So, we wanted to go through some of the iconic moments that we had in the Viking expansion [and the] Siege of Paris is definitely one. You can see it in history books, but you can also see it in different culture that we have today.”

St-Andre contined to assert that the story of the Siege of Paris “is definitely well-suited for the expansion of Valhalla,” and has been part of planned production since before the game was released back in November of last year.

“We knew we were going to send Eivor to Paris, for the Siege of Paris,” he said. “It’s such a key historical event in the Viking era and it’s well documented, with key characters. We had to go there and this drove us there.”

Assassin’s Creed last visited France in 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, but that’s about as far as connections run.

“I’ve worked on Unity, so it’s a familiar playground and I know that a few people that produced Siege of Paris did work on Unity [too],” he said. “But to be fair and to be honest, that’s not why it led us there. I would say, that at the early conception stage it wasn’t seen as a plus that we were returning to ground that we’d already visited in the franchise.

“Finding familiarities to Unity was a pleasant surprise, it was enjoyable, but really what drove us there is the historical event,” St-Andre continued. “We tried to take best advantage of it; to set the mood. Once you play the expansion you’ll understand what I mean. The mood that is inside this city, the different enemies that you’re going to face, the characters – also the narrative choices – I’m not sure if I’m going to translate the word properly from French to English, but – the torment or heartbreaking choice that you’ll have to make — it’s seeded in the territory, in the characters, in the mood and in the story. So that’s really what led us to go to this land, more than returning to familiar ground of Paris.”

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla debuted in November 2020 and is currently available on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and Stadia. Siege of Paris is available from today.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

10 Nov 2020 (PC PS4 PS5 Xbox One Xbox Series X)

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.