The game, which takes place in the Viking era, was first announced in April alongside a gorgeous CGI trailer that set the tone and introduced the universe. However, the more exciting reveal was supposed to take place today: developer Ubisoft promised to showcase a "gameplay debut" for Valhalla during the Inside Xbox livestream.
While the game was indeed shown off during the stream, we'd hesitate to call what we saw "gameplay" or even a "gameplay trailer." In reality, it's a one-and-a-half-minute piece of heavily-scripted in-engine footage; there isn't actually any gameplay to speak of. The camera never sits behind the character as they walk down a street, attack an enemy, or mantle up a wall. Instead, we see numerous cutscene-like shots of various areas of the game, mixed in with the occasional action sequence.
To say fans are disappointed by this trailer would be an understatement. As of writing, the clip has been heavily downvoted by viewers on YouTube, and Ubisoft is receiving a substantial amount of criticism across its various social media accounts.
Many viewers acknowledge the game's beauty -- its lighting, textures, animations, and character models all feel truly next-gen -- but fans were still expecting to get a real (albeit brief) look at how the game might actually play. To that end, the trailer simply did not deliver.
With all of that said, the trailer is well-edited, well-shot, and it gives us a solid idea of what the game will look like on release; on next-gen consoles (and PC), anyway. There's still room to be skeptical given Ubisoft's shaky track record with pre-release trailers and graphical downgrades, but given what we know about the Xbox Series X's performance capabilities, we're a little more hopeful this time around.
For those of you that are still eagerly awaiting Valhalla gameplay, you probably won't have to wait too long. While we aren't getting a proper E3 event this year, many publishers and developers are still planning to show off gameplay for their latest titles in mid-June (which is typically when E3 takes place). We wouldn't be surprised if the first real Valhalla gameplay footage shows up around that time.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is available for pre-order right now for $60, but it doesn't have a release date yet.