University of Winchester historian helps bring Viking age to life in new educational gaming experience

19 Oct 2021

A University of Winchester historian has contributed to the development of a new educational gaming experience, allowing players to explore and interact with the history and culture of the Viking Age world.

Ryan Lavelle, Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Winchester, was one of number of internationally-renowned Viking experts who worked in close collaboration with Ubisoft in the development of Discovery Tour: Viking Age to make sure that the game represents the history of the period as authentically as possible."

The new game has just been launched by Ubisoft, the publisher of global gaming series Assassin's Creed, which has sold more than 155 million copies worldwide.

The city of Winchester featured heavily in the world of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, launched in 2019, with King Alfred a major character in the story. The non-violent, interactive Discovery Tour: Viking Age will once again bring Winchester to life, allowing players to explore and interact with the history and culture of the Viking era in 9th century England and Norway.

As well as acting as advisor to the hit BBC and Netflix series The Last Kingdom, Professor Lavelle previously helped bring Anglo-Saxon Wessex to life in the original Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, so he was well placed to help the Ubisoft team develop a vision of Alfred's Winchester for Discovery Tour: Viking Age.

Professor Lavelle said: "The Discovery Tour will open up the Viking Age to new audiences. As well as helping with the text of the historical markers, which help the game's quests become learning experiences, I was really excited to have helped the team to decide how to best represent a corner of Wessex at that turbulent time. It was a real pleasure to have played a part in the project's creation."

Ubisoft has also announced a partnership with Hampshire Cultural Trust on a unique visitor experience, which will open in 2022. The attraction will give visitors an interactive insight into life in Anglo-Saxon Winchester through immersive storytelling, 360-degree projections and the use of contemporary objects from the collections cared for by the Trust, all complemented by assets from the Assassin's Creed: Valhalla game.

A complementary app will use augmented and virtual reality to transport people to the Anglo-Saxon past where they will unearth and discover lost stories in the lore of Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

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