Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Player Features

Missile Reversal

One of the ‘main skills’ the player can use, which allows the main character to catch and throw or shoot back the projectile which was just shot/thrown at them.

  • Did code, data and animation integration for this skill, including tweaking game feel.
  • Lauded by players as one of favorite skills in the game [Game Informer] [Polygon(scroll down)] [Reddit] [Twitter].
  • Wrote a ‘behind the scenes’ blog post about the making of this feature which is due to appear on the Ubisoft blog in the future.

Valkyrie Dive / Stomp

Valkyrie dive is a abilities allowing the player to jump in the air and slam down on the enemies. Stomp is a 'main skill' allowing the player to do a large amount of damage to enemies lying on the ground.

  • The ‘Dive of the Valkyries’ was an ability that was requested late on production for progression reasons and as such was designed to be inexpensive for animation (in practice, it only has one unique animation - all weapon variety animations are reused from the leap attack).
  • The stomp was functionally ‘complete’ when it was transferred to me, however the game feel (3Cs) were quite poor at the time and as such, we elected to redo the move using the same tech used by the Valkyrie dive.
  • System built such that it could be (and was) used by NPCs as well, while still being fair the the player.

Quick Time Events (QTEs)

A small but versatile system which was used to create ‘button mashing’ gameplay that could be tweaked by a designer.

  • Originally created for a unique interaction I designed between a specific player ability and enemy attack (read more here)
  • Included accessibility options with initial implementation.
  • While we rarely created designs which were intended to use it, we found that it allowed us to create interesting unique gameplay interactions without the player feeling like they were just ‘stuck’. Examples include the Ivarr ‘drag to ledge throw’ and Militia archetype co-operative stab attack.

Double and Right Hand Shield

  • Originally in Valhalla, you could only block if you had a shield in your left hand and a shield in your right hand was only used for attacking. With help of an animator, I created the ability to block with either hand and pushed to get it included in the game.
  • Worked closely with animators to produce
  • Had to refactored inventory calls which assumed the shield would always be in the left hand late on production to ensure that existing behaviors were correctly maintained with new design
  • Read more in the full twitter thread.

Assassin Roll

Functionally similar to the ‘mikiri counter’ in Sekiro, allows you to do a counter to an enemy if you dodge towards their unblockable ‘rune attacks’.

  • Created system for transitioning into a paired animation correctly based on the incoming attack while still looking seamless.
  • Hand tweaked the timing for each possible attack to ensure a good balance of challenge and consistency.
  • Post launch, created a method to auto generate the difficulty settings for each attack.

Stun Kills

In Valhalla, each archetype had a unique ‘stun kill’ (which also served as the kill against ‘elite’ archetypes) where the player kills the enemy with their own weapon, I wrote a number of features which helped to boost the quality of these.

  • Wrote tech for weapon transfers between characters which allowed the player to actually grab the enemies’ weapons (previously they were still in the enemies hands and ‘counter animated’, which resulted in many visual issues).
  • Wrote tech for sticking the weapon into the enemy at the end of the kill so they didn’t just fall out as soon as the animation was over.
  • Wrote slope alignment so that enemies who were in stun would be properly aligned to the slope rather than having their weapons floating.