Assassin's Creed Valhalla is in its second year of post-launch content, which kicked off with the franchise's first two Crossover Stories and follows up with a 35-hour Dawn of Ragnarök expansion in March. The Crossover Stories see Valhalla's Eivor meet Assassin's Creed Odyssey's Kassandra. Now, you may be wondering how it's possible for a Greek mercenary in 458 BCE to meet a Viking warrior in 878 AD. Well, explaining that is a pretty major spoiler for Odyssey's campaign. So if you haven't beaten Odyssey yet and plan to, turn back now--spoilers ahead.
In Odyssey, Kassandra (look, she's the canon protagonist so we're using her name--we don't care if you played as Alexios) discovers she's the daughter of Pythagoras, an Isu. After helping her father protect Atlantis, Kassandra is given his staff, a powerful Piece of Eden called the Staff of Hermes. Those that hold it are immortal for as long as they remain in contact with it.
Odyssey ends with Kassandra gifting the staff to Layla (the modern-day protagonist of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla) in 2018--revealing that Kassandra has actually been alive through every single Assassin's Creed game to date, including Eivor's conquest of England in Valhalla. In theory, Kassandra could have crossed paths (or blades) with every Assassin's Creed protagonist and we just haven't seen it yet.
There are two Crossover Stories: Those Who Are Treasured and A Fated Encounter. Those Who Are Treasured is Kassandra's story, which sees the mercenary trying to find her purpose after being alive for over 1000 years. A Fated Encounter sees Eivor travel to an island where the inhabitants are being plagued by nightmares.
All of that is immaterial however. What's most important is the fact that both my Kassandra and Eivor are big flirts. So there's only one clear question to ask: Will there be any sort of attraction between Kassandra and Eivor, and can I as the player push a flirty, possibly even romantic, agenda.
"There's tension," Ubisoft Quebec associate creative director Clémence Nogrix told me when I asked about flirting between Eivor and Kassandra. "I don't necessarily mean romantic, but there is tension." She further clarified that there's no explicit flirting available between Kassandra and Eivor, but the two can forge a connection through a bit of a rivalry--both protagonists have a bit of an ego after all, and both take pleasure in outwitting and teasing other people.
And speaking of that tension, Kassandra and Eivor aren't the only two who clash in these Crossover Stories, the two different tones of their respective games do as well. Odyssey takes place in a setting with a visually bright color palette and features a light-hearted story, while Valhalla's England is a darker and moodier environment and Eivor is a bit more serious than the playful Kassandra.
"We did bring a little bit of the tone of Odyssey into Valhalla through Kassandra because that's who she is," Nogrix said. "And maybe over her 2000 year life, [Kassandra] may have started her life dozens of times over--who knows how many lifetimes that she has, but at least in that moment, seeing as Eivor shares a similar strength, maybe Kassandra opens up a little bit more because she sees some of those similarities."
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As she's currently only about halfway through her over 2000 year life, Kassandra will also be struggling with her immortality in the Crossover Stories. According to Nogrix, Ubisoft Quebec thought about how Kassandra may have changed after being alive for 1000 years, looking to stories about the tragedy of immortal creatures in constructing her arc over the Crossover Stories. And it's through meeting Eivor that the shell that builds around Kassandra eventually breaks, revealing the humorous mercenary is still core to her identity.
For now, these Crossover Stories are a one-off, though Nogrix did admit that anything is possible. "We're hoping that this could prove and potentially give a green light to something in the future," she said. So fans shouldn't get too excited at the prospect of future crossovers, but there's always the possibility that Ubisoft decides for Kassandra to meet another Assassin's Creed protagonist, or for heroes from two completely other games to meet. I didn't ask Nogrix about it, but part of me wonders if that's a possibility that we could see with Assassin's Creed Infinity.
"The premise of the Crossover Stories from the beginning was that they were going to be short narrative-driven experiences bridging two Assassin's Creed games," Nogrix said. "Because when you look at the franchise as a whole, when you look at all pieces of content, they're all connected by characters, by lore, by motivations, by eras, by geographical locations even. And they might seem all separate, but they're all part of the same planet because they're all from Earth and they all share the same timeline. So when that content releases, there are still stories that could be told. And they're also many questions that come out of it. So that's where this started."
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The idea of a crossover isn't entirely brand-new for Assassin's Creed. Ezio Auditore lived Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's memories in Assassin's Creed Revelations, Aveline de Grandpré briefly worked together with Ratonhnhaké:ton in Assassin's Creed Liberation, and Assassin's Creed Rogue and Assassin's Creed Unity saw Shay Cormac and Arno Dorian witness the death of Arno's father from two different perspectives. All of these were moments though--there's never been something as elaborate as a full-on shared adventure before.
Ubisoft Quebec is heading development for the Crossover Stories. The developer got its start in the Assassin's Creed franchise by handling the expansions for Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, before then going on to be the lead studio for Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Odyssey. When it came time to make a crossover story, the studio knew it wanted Valhalla to cross with Odyssey. Not only did it make the most logical sense--again, Kassandra has been alive for the entirety of the franchise--but Nogrix revealed that the developers at Ubisoft love watching how fans react to each new Assassin's Creed game. And Kassandra has been one of the most popular characters the series has had in years, so it made sense for her to come back.
Those Who Are Treasured is free for those who have Odyssey, while A Fated Encounter is free for those who own Valhalla--so yes, you will need both games to play both stories. The Crossover Stories will release on December 14, and although you don't need to play them both to get the general gist of the story, you will have to in order to get both Kassandra and Eivor's unique perspectives of what transpires.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch, and Stadia. Assassin's Creed Valhalla has released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Stadia, and Luna.