Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Archetypes and Boss Fights

As an expert in both using and creating the tech that power our fight system, I was tasked with creating some of the most complex enemies in the game in addition to being the person who the team turned to if an enemy needed an additional level of polish.


One of 4 ‘narrative’ main path boss fights, Ivarr had a custom arena composed of a number of different height platforms that the boss fight could transition between. The boss fight was designed to be as ‘organic’ as possible, avoiding forcing transitions between platforms at certain points.

  • Responsible for working with a multidisciplinary team including design, animation, level design, narrative and cinematics.
  • Created all AI, tech and animation setup required for the boss fight.
  • Created tech for mid-fight cut scene where Ivarr can attack the player while the player is making a choice. This was accomplished by modifying the dialogue system to allow Ivarr do fight moves during the dialogue in addition to having the fight moves controlled by script rather than AI.
  • Added code to allow fight moves, including paired actions, to seamless transition between ground and air contexts to allow for Ivarr and the player to play a highly realized fall off the ledge together.


A co-operative archetype which was composed of two different enemies who worked together as a team.

  • Build all the AI and attack logic for the archetype.
  • Created logic to allow dynamically switching from ‘together’ patterns (where the shieldbearer defends the other enemy) to ‘split’ patterns (where they stay on opposite sides of the player) depending on player placement and fight pacing.
  • Created tech to ‘link’ two archetypes together at spawn time.
  • Created logic for their ‘shield jump’ attack, which required 3 separate characters in a chain of 'paired animations' that transitioned between air and ground.


The ringleader was intended to be the ‘most challenging’ common archetype in the game.

  • Created the volley shot move, which allows the ringleader to order nearby archers to fire a volley of arrows the air towards the ringleader's fight target.
  • Build the ringleader’s move learning system. As you fight them, there are some patterns, such as parrying too early that they ‘learn to avoid’ it if you use against them.
  • Performed a significant polish pass on the ringleader to raise their overall challenge level and improve the animation quality.

Militia ‘Co-operative Stab Attack’

A unique move where one militia would grab the target (often the player) and if another militia was around, they’d come and stab the player while the other one held them.

  • Developed the tech to allow for ‘three person’ paired animations.
  • Created tech to allow for miltia selection for this move and coordination between the two militia.
  • Created animation graph which allowed the militia and person they were grabbing the play a ‘paired turn on spot animation’ to correctly face the third person coming to stab.

Rikiwulf / Vicelin / Hemming Spirit / Leofrith

Minor bosses that were along the main path and were were all ‘modified archetypes’.

  • Rikiwulf was the ‘tutorial boss’. I built the custom AI needed to facilitate the tutorialization and created the first pass of the tutorial. Additionally, I tweaked the AI to better work in the tight space that they were fighting in.
  • Vicelin was a combination of the housecarl with the ringleader volley shot. I created a custom volley shot that fired arrows in a scripted pattern to add some extra 'flare' and would be triggered at specific health values.
  • Hemming spirit was a ‘dual wielder’, which was an AI that used the player attacks. The unique setup had them teleporting between platforms and switching weapon loadouts at specific health values in addition to ‘soft resetting’ the boss fight if the player died. I created the specific AI needs for the boss fight including reset logic.
  • Leofrith was a ringleader with no real modifications, but was significantly polished as part of my work on the ringleader