Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s Viking world, fresh mechanics, and new characters help distinguish it from the franchise’s best titles, but some of Valhalla‘s greatest qualities are the ways it refines the trademark elements of older Assassin’s Creed games.
That includes a laundry list of Easter eggs. The Assassin’s Creed series has always benefited from some impressive and often elaborate Easter eggs, but we’d dare say that Valhalla features the franchise’s best collection of hidden references yet.
While it’s going to be a long time before all of the game’s hidden references and in-jokes are uncovered, these are some of the cleverest Easter eggs in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla that have been discovered so far.
The Dark Souls Bonfire
Dark Souls seems to be especially popular among other game developers, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that one notable Easter egg in Valhalla features a Dark Souls-style bonfire complete with sword and nearby knight’s helmet.
What’s really interesting, though, is that you’re actually able to kneel by this fire and restore your energy. It’s pretty impressive that the Valhalla team put in the effort to pay tribute to one of Dark Souls‘ defining mechanics when the design of the bonfire alone made their shoutout loud and clear.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
One of Valhalla‘s quests takes you to the town of Ravensthorpe where you must collect scattered pages of a book. To be honest, it’s not exactly one of the game’s most exciting activities.
However, the quest’s payoff is amplified somewhat by the revelation that the book itself is called “Fantastic Fish and Where to Find Them.” It’s an obvious (but appreciated) nod to the Harry Potter book and spin-off series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Believe it or not, that may not even be the game’s best Harry Potter Easter egg…
The Harry Potter Horcruxes
In the London area of Valhalla, there’s a cabin guarded by a snake. If you defeat the snake and head inside the cabin, you’ll find a piece of paper called “Strange List,” which features the words “Diary, Ring, Locket, Cup, Diadem, Snake, and ???.” That strange list certainly seems to echo Voldemort’s collection of Horcruxes, with the question marks being a substitute for Harry.
Even better, you’ll find a cup, a necklace, a book, a tiara, and a wand inside the cabin, which (along with the guardian snake) seem to suggest that this cabin doubles as Voldemort’s hideout in the world of Valhalla.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
One of the strangest Easter eggs in Valhalla can be found by browsing emails during one of the game’s modern-day sequences. Look hard enough, and you’ll spot a letter from someone called Ram in which they ask their sibling whether are not their worries are related to “COVID.” That’s actually just one of a few modern-day letters that seemingly reference the pandemic.
Interestingly, there are also some pandemic references in at least two other 2020 games (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and Watch Dogs Legion), but to my knowledge, this is the first game that directly names the coronavirus.
The Legend of Zelda’s Chickens
In Valhalla‘s Dunwic area, you may stumble upon a prison cell that houses a skeleton and several chickens. This bizarre scene will suddenly make sense if you try to attack the chickens and watch in horror as they swarm upon you.
This appears to be a callback to the infamous chickens in many Zelda games which will group up and attack Link if the player “accidentally” strikes one of them.
A Desmond Reference in the Audio Files
During one of Valhalla‘s modern-day sequences, you’ll have the chance to explore the contents of Layla’s laptop. If you’re thorough, you may find an audio file featuring the voice of legendary Assassin’s Creed protagonist Desmond Miles. The audio file is seemingly even voiced by Nolan North himself.
This Easter egg is fun enough on its own, but this reference to one of Assassin’s Creed‘s most beloved characters is actually a testament to the ways that Valhalla cleverly pays tribute to the other entries in the series.
Bayek From Assassin’s Creed: Desert Oath
One of the deeper cut Assassin’s Creed references in Valhalla can be found in Ravensthorpe. There, you’ll hear Reda read to a group of children about a desert land and a story concerning The Protector” and “The Scholar.” The story largely echoes the adventures of Bayek: a character who first appeared in the novel Assassin’s Creed Origins: Desert Oath.
Actually, this is just one of at least a couple of references to Bayek that have been found in Valhalla so far. Is someone on the team just a fan of the character, or is there more to these shoutouts than meets the eye?
The Lord of the Rings Quest
It’s not exactly a surprise that Valhalla features a Lord of the Rings reference (it is, after all, a fairly popular fantasy franchise), but the extent of the game’s tribute to that franchise is undeniably impressive.
One of the game’s quests tasks Eivor with finding a ring. That alone could obviously be a reference to Lord of the Rings, but it turns out that the entire quest is actually an elaborate tribute to several key moments from those stories. In fact, there’s a chance that all but the most knowledgeable Tolkien fans will miss a few of the references along the way.
A tipster alerted Kotaku to one of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s most intricate Easter eggs: a clever tribute to Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding.
If you build a trading post in the village you take over early in the game, you’ll find a list of items that some customers apparently never picked up. You’ll have the option of delivering the items to these customers yourself, but doing so is a surprisingly slow process complicated by the weight of the items. That concept seems to echo the gameplay design of Kojima’s infamous “delivery simulator.”
It’s easy to love an elaborate or subtle Easter egg in a game like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but there’s something to be said about a simple nod to a modern-ish piece of pop culture.
That’s what you’ll find in Essex where a local band is playing a song that’s lyrics include the line “Smack my bishop!” It’s easy enough to assume that’s a reference to The Prodigy song “Smack My Bitch Up,” but Valhalla confirms the reference shortly after you meet the band by revealing that this world event’s name is “The Prodigy.”
The Trogdor Tattoo
Valhalla‘s tattoo shop is a cool mechanic in and of itself, but it’s made that much better by a note you find in the shop titled “Tove’s Tattoo Ideas.” One of the ideas written on the letter reference “a dragon, breathing fire, with the wings of a bat and arms of a man,” with the additional note that “the dragon’s arms are very muscular.”
Many fans will undoubtedly recognize this as a wink at one of the best internet videos of all-time: