Position:Associate Producer
Release Date:2020-11-10
Genre:Action / Adventure
Platform(s):Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, Stadia, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla was developed and published by Ubisoft and released on 10th November 2020. I worked on this game as Associate Producer for Ubisoft Barcelona.

About the Game

You play as Eivor, a fierce Viking warrior raised on tales of battle and glory. Explore a dynamic and beautiful open world set against the brutal backdrop of England's Dark Ages.

Advanced RPG mechanics allow you to shape the growth of your character and influence the world around you.

Dual-wield powerful weapons such as axes, swords, and even shields to relive the ruthless fighting style of the Viking warriors.

Launch massive assaults against Saxon troops and fortresses throughout England.

Sail from the harsh and mysterious shores of Norway to the beautiful but forbidding kingdoms of England and beyond.

In a dark Age open world - sail from the harsh and mysterious shores of Norway to the beautiful but forbidding kingdoms of England and beyond.

Lead epic raids - launch massive assaults against Saxon troops and fortresses throughout England.

Grow your settlement - construct and upgrade buildings that allow for deep customization, including a barracks, Blacksmith, tattoo parlor, and more.

Mercenary Vikings - Create and customize a unique Viking Raider within your Clan and share it online with friends to use during their own raids.


Skills and Experience

This was the second Assassins Creed title I worked on after Assassin's Creed III: Remastered. Assassin's Creed Valhalla was lead by Ubisoft Montreal, and working for Ubisoft Barcelona as 1 of 15 "Co-Dev" studios, I worked on this game for 1 year, 8 months (Jan 2019 - August 2020) as Associate Producer.

Ubisoft Barcelona was responsible for 2 "Mandates" (large sections of work) for Ubisoft Montreal, called "World Boss Fights" and "Animus Anomalies". We had a team size of 42 developers (2x Producers, 1x Game Director, 1x Lead Artist, 1x Lead Programmer, 1x Lead Animator, 1x QA Coordinator, 4x Combat Designers, 1x Game Designer, 2x Level Designers, 6x 3D Artists, 3x Animators, 2x Tech Designers, 2x Engine Programmers, 2x Concept Artists, 2x Lighting Artists, 1x Tech Artist, 2x VFX Artists, 5x Gameplay Programmers, 2x Dev Testers, 1x Build Specialist). I lead the "World Boss Fights" Mandate, with a core team of 14 of these developers, and a wider shared team of another 20 of these developers. We worked directly with Montreal and other co-dev studios for Character modelling, quest / narrative integration and other dependencies.


The "World Boss Fight" mandate consisted of 3 "World Bosses" (The Daughters of Lerion; Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, 3 witches situated in the open-world England, and their fight arenas), An Environment called "Lerions Estate", 2 Giant Quest Bosses (The Builder and Suttungr, part of the games narrative in the mythical Jotunheim area) and their arenas, 3 Quest Bosses from the main story arch (Lady Eadwyn, Goodwin, Faravid) and 15 Zealots in the "Order of the Ancients", mercenary enemies built from 4 unique enemy archetypes.

On Assassins Creed Valhalla we had an agreed structure for work used by every studio on the project, specified by the Lead Studio. All work was defined as Epics, which broke into User Stories, and User Stories broke into Tasks. Every User Story had to contain a description "As a player..." and a "definition of done". The Lead Studio mainly looked at Epics from Co-Dev Studios (They were not concerned to a task level). Pieces of the Mandate would be delivered at each pre-defined "Level of Quality" and validated by the lead studio. The Co-Dev studios were responsible for getting the Mandate designed, breaking the design into Epics, Stories and tasks and setting the deadlines for when each piece of the Mandate would be delivered in alignment with the overall deadlines of the project.

We used 2 week sprints on Assassins Creed Valhalla. Every sprint concluded with a Sprint Review, where we presented progress and work samples to the Lead Studio. The Sprint Review ceremony was fairly high level and deliberately simple. We presented a progress update on the epics in the concluding sprint, with examples of the completed or WIP work (links to videos, screenshots etc). We highlighted any risks or blockers which needed to be resolved by the Lead Studio or an external Co-Dev Studio, and shared the prioritised plan for the next 2 week sprint.


Each Piece of content (Epic) needed to be signed off (Validated) at each "Level of Quality"; L0 (Design), L1 (Playable Prorotype), L2 (Shippable) by the Lead Studio (Montreal) in a Validation Meeting. The Sign-off process re-enforced our roadmap of deliverables and helped us set our targets and not overspend. A Sign-Off was deemed to Pass or Fail or a Conditional Pass from the Lead Studio. This was decided based on the feedback during a Validation Meeting, and literally "Stamped" on the Validation Confluence page. The results were shared in a follow up email with all Dev Teams. If a Validation failed, we had to take the feedback, process it and act on it, and re-schedule another attempt to pass the gateway. We had over 40 Validations for the "World Boss Fight" mandate alone. Pushing the content towards the validations formed our roadmap. The time remaining after passing "L2 (Shippable)" with our cointent was used for "L3 (Polish)" and bug fixing.

The Project was Agile. We did Playtests almost every single day. The playtests were sometimes a group of people in a meeting room playing and feeding back on a specific area of the game (e.g. a boss), and sometimes (especially during COVID) we recorded one person playing the game in a video, and others commented on suggestions and priorities on the video and fed into the schedule as tasks.

With over 2,000 developers working on one game, this was the largest title I have worked on to date. The scope of the project was huge and divided internationally. I was proud that the Mandate I worked on evolved from "Side Content" to "Main Game" Content, and eventually most of the content we made on the "World Boss Mandate" is now part of the main story of the game and will be seen by most players.