For anyone unfamiliar with Assassin’s Creed, it’s a series of games that imagine eras of history as digital theme parks filled with grand adventures, with the player as the hero in the middle of it all.
In Origins you’re an Egyptian warrior marauding through a landscape of pyramids, sphinxes, temples, crocodiles and lions. In Odyssey you’re a Spartan-born mercenary sailing the Aegean with Herodotus by your side and Aspasia as one of your BFFs.
These aren’t recreations of the ancient world so much as they’re simulacra of what people living in the 21st century think ancient Egypt and Greece looked, sounded and felt like.
The latest installment, due to arrive in December, is Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, which leans heavily on History Channel’s Vikings and Netflix’s The Last Kingdom for its visual style. The game covers the same territory as those shows as well, taking place during the Viking era when invaders from Norway, Denmark and Sweden relentlessly pillaged the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England.
The vikings were low-tech raiders — they didn’t have a real writing system, they left no enduring mark on architecture, their smithing techniques were inferior and their technological contributions to humanity were limited to shipbuilding and seafaring.
They raided the Anglo-Saxons, in short, because they wanted to loot shiny shit. Gold and silver chalices, precious gems, crucifixes, woodwork, iron weapons, anything of value worth hauling back to Scandinavia.
In Valhalla, players will assemble their own raiding parties, and apparently they can take cats. The video below shows the player character recruiting a “raider cat” for his longboat. There’s a short sidequest involved. From there, the cat accompanies the player and his vikings across the sea. Like a typical feline, the game’s cat likes to sleep and is usually found curled up in the front of the longboat, but don’t expect kitty to help out when the fighting starts: