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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla Cheat Sheet by

There's practically no guides regarding Assassin's Creed Valhalla for Media Studies (A Level, WJEC Exam board) so here's my compilation of notes. Apart of Component 1, Section B. Assassin's creed has come up for Industry in the 2023 Summer exams.

Assassin's Creed Cover

Key & Terms

PEGI - Pan-Eu­ropean Game Inform­ation
The regulators for all videogames
AS - Assassin's Creed
VSC - Video Standards Council
Age ratings from PEGI are issued by the VSC
VGC - Video Games Chronicle
They published "code of practi­ce" and "­mem­ber­shi­ps" to make sure games are sold according to law- this is to ensure under 18s don't purchase the game, but this is hard to prevent digitally.

Citize­n-based regulation
A regulatory system that outlines a civic role for the media, achieved by setting quotas for public service progra­mming and by closely monitoring content so that it doesn't cause harm or offense.

Bold writing indicates an importance to the inform­­ation,
italics represents inform­­ation that will likely gain you further marks but isn't necess­­arily important inform­­ation.
Supers­­cript indicates a recap of a theory or extra/­spe­cific inform­ation on something specific.

Product Context

The Assassin's Creed franchise is published by Ubisoft and encomp­asses 12 incarn­ations of the game, plus spin-offs.
It is an action­-ad­ven­ture, open-world game, played from a third person perspe­ctive.
Each game is set in a historical setting with a new story and time period.
In 2021 the franchise recorded sales of 155 million units since its introd­uction in 2007. This was helped by the launch of Assassin's Creed Valhalla in 2020, which sold more units in its first week than any other game in the series.
However, games in the back catalogue of the franchise continue to grow popular.


Bandura / Bobo doll experiment

This for the audience theory for Bandura. It would be especially useful to you to reference the bobo doll experiment in your answer if you have an audience question.

Fanart example (Jenkin's Fandom theory)

by EACV Designs.
When talking about Jenkin's Fandom theory, you can address how fans may partic­ipate in commun­ities by making fanart of their favourite charac­ters, such as this fanart of Eivor by EACV Designs.

Link to their websit­e/art: https:­//e­acv­des­ign­s.c­om/­eivor

Cosplay example (Jenkin's Fandom theory)

megabe­thbob on Devian­tArt.
When writing about Jenkin's Fandom theory, you can talk about how fans may partic­ipate in commun­ities by dressing up as characters from the game, such as how megabe­thbob from DeviantArt cosplayed as Eivor.



Unlike other media industries such as newspa­pers, magazines, TV, etc, the videogame industry is rapidly expanding.

The release of new gaming technology or games from popular franchises can be major economic events, and host big marketing campaigns, with their trailers reaching millions of views upon upload.

Video games are culturally and financ­ially signif­icant across three major terrir­oties (Japan, Europe and the USA).

In 2021, the value of the global videogames market was estimated to be $138.4 billion, increasing from $52.8 billion in 2012.

Mobile gaming is the fastest growing area of videog­ames.

Other strate­gies, in addition to game sales are employed to increase revenue including production and distri­bution models.

Ownership is another signif­icant element related to the financial success of a games franchise.


Video games are a relatively new media form, they've had expone­ntial growth since the 1970s with other rapid techno­logical develo­pments.

There's a constr­uction of the new "­gam­er" and the difficulty of regulating or monitoring the impact of such a fast-paced industry.

and how they shape media products

Video games' production techniques have evolved and become increa­singly innovative as the industry has become more compet­itive and the demands for games has increased.

AC being part of a franchise allows a production model that both increases economic viability and establ­ishes a brand identity for the audience- most gamers know AC either by playing it, watching clips or just by hearing about it.

Advances in technology have shaped video games, by the inclusion of more complex gameplay, highly developed graphics and advanced CGI.

In terms of produc­tion, the games in the franchise are part of a multin­ational develo­pment which is typical of game production in larger studios such as Ubisoft.


Video games develop and expand to reflect advances in techno­logy. The decision to release Assassin's Creed: Valhalla on platforms such as the Xbox Series X and PlaySt­ation 5 was to keep up and synchr­onise its release to these next-e­vol­ution consoles.
This doesn't mean it didn't release on older genera­tions of consoles- it released on all consoles that aren't quite outdated yet, such as the Xbox One, Playst­ation 4, and also released for Google Stadia during its short time (2019-­2023), etc.

That being said, the implem­ent­ation to Google Stadia was to branch out to the (previ­ously stated) increa­singly popular mobile gaming platforms before his discon­tin­uation in Jan 2023.

The release of this game, as part of a well-known and popular franchise, may be seen as an attempt to bring high game production values to the burgeoning new mobile gaming arena.

The most recent games in the franchise have introduced cross-­gen­era­tional gaming, enabling data to be transf­erred from earlier generation consoles and cross-play and progre­ssion carrying progress between different platforms.

The opport­unities to distribute and circulate games and to distribute additional content have been expanded, leading to increased revenue for the franchise.

The games themselves have also developed in-line with the changes in techno­logy.
For example, Assassin's Creed Odyssey (even though it isn't the set product) offered a more immersive experience for players than previous games.

In 2021 it was announced that the new game to be released in the franchise, Assassin's Creed Infinity, inspired by the success of games like Fortnite, would be a fully live service game. This would expand the franchise and enable the games to time jump and include multiple historical settings rather than the single setting of the existing games. This would also ensure the longevity of the franchise and the ability to add new content rather than launching a completely new game.
As of May 2023, nothing has been added to this statement.


Videogame regulation differs around the world but is becoming standa­rdised across many European countries.

In the UK until July 2012, videogames had been regulated by the BBFC. They are now largely regulated by the Video Standards Council (VGC) applying the PEGI system.

The PEGI system can be discussed in terms of its process (age ratings as well as visual descri­ptors of content) and also its attempt to harmonise.

The protection of children is also something to be considered with the develo­pment of technology - digital purchases have poor verifi­cation for if a customer is old enough to buy a product yet.

Some platforms that are heavily involved in digital media (such as YouTube) are starting to implement more safe age verifi­cation methods such as proving age via credit cards or passport, but we're yet to see that be applied to most videog­ames, especially mainstream ones.

Currently, the most verifi­cation you can get when buying games 18+ off big platforms such as Steam, or Ubisoft Connect, is just verifying your age (which can be faked, as there's no proof required to verify your age), so children buying games 18+ has a high chance of happening.
This makes PEGI relatively ineffe­ctive when buying games online, as you don't need to prove your age.


The use of conver­gence has developed further across the most recent games in the franchise.
This is signif­icant in terms of promot­ion­/ma­rketing and circul­ation and facili­tates the develo­pment and re-release of games incorp­orating more complex elements.

The conver­gence between social media platforms promotes gamer engagement and identi­fic­ation with the game across the fan community.

Digital conver­gence is important to Ubisoft as an individual producer in a compet­itive market, it also benefits fans as individual producers of game content, for example through gameplay videos.
However, there are some possible risks including piracy and leaked content.


Living­stone and Lunt - Regulation
(1) the idea that there is an underlying struggle in recent UK regulation policy between the need to further interests of citizens (by offering protection from harmful or offensive material) and the need to further the interests of consumers (by ensuring choice, value for money, and market compet­ition). (2) the idea that the increasing power of global media corpor­ations, together with the rise of convergent media techno­logies and transf­orm­ations in the produc­tion, distri­bution and marketing of digital media, have placed tradit­ional approaches to media regulation at risk.
Assassin's Creed exempl­ifies the indust­ry-­fri­endly, consum­er-­ori­entated approach to videogame regulation, whilst also highli­ghting the underlying problems that such an approach presents, in terms of the ease with which vulnerable audiences can easily access proble­matic material. source: #2

Ubisoft self-c­ertify content using the PEGI age rating system, and Valhalla achieved 18 as a result, due to its very strong content, infliction of severe pain + injury, strong language, detailed descri­ption of criminal techni­ques, glamor­ising of gambling, in-game purchases and graphic violence.

It is clear that a robust regulatory code exists- one that seeks princi­pally to protect vulnerable audiences, but as Living­stone and Lunt's research suggests, the effect­iveness of that indust­ry-­driven system is proble­matic.

Hesmon­dhalgh - Cultural Industries
(1) the idea that cultural industry companies try to minimise risk and maximise audiences through vertical and horizontal integr­ation, and by formatting their cultural products (e.g. through use of stars, genres and serials). (2) the idea that the largest companies or conglo­merates now operate across a number of different cultural indust­ries. (3) the idea that the radical potential of the internet has been contained to some extent by its partial incorp­oration into a large, profit­-or­ien­tated set of cultural indust­ries.
The videogames industry is designed to make a profit, as they operate in a compet­itive market. One of the ways they minimise risk is through genre-­for­matting, this is evident in the AC franchise.
The marketing of a new game uses audience recogn­ition of the game and the brand as part of the franchise. Audiences therefore know what to expect.

The sequel formula of the franchise model gives audiences clues of what to expect, but enough differ­ences through themes and settings to ensure antici­pation and buzz around the launch of a new game.**

The videogames industry is dominated by large multi-­nat­ional conglo­mer­ates. Ubisoft is the fifth largest videogame company but is now also in compet­ition with tech companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon who have recently become major players in the games industry backed by huge financial reserves.
Some inform­ation is taken from the Assassin's Creed Franchise factsheet that would've been dated for when WJEC did Liberation rather than Valhalla, but I've tried making it apply to Valhalla instead.



Consid­ering videogames in relation to how they reflect society is a useful way of exploring them in terms of social and cultural signif­icance. The repres­ent­ation of female charac­ters, underr­epr­ese­ntation of women in videogame develo­pment and an assumed minority of female video game players are areas that could be explored.

The AC franchise has made adapta­tions over the different versions of the game to address changes in society and culture and audience expect­ations. There are examples of female protag­onists in the later games. (You could consider whether they subvert or reinforce expect­ations of female characters in games and how audiences might respond to this).


The brand identity of AC is a key strategy for targeting audiences. A fan community already exists and gaming audiences have a precon­ceived idea of what to expect from a game in this franchise. This will be used in the marketing of a new game.

As a result of develo­pments in techno­logy, the games are distri­buted across a range of different media platforms which facilitate the targeting of diverse audiences.

Games in the franchise may attract audiences through creating a sense of identity, for example through identi­fic­ation with characters in the game or intera­cting with online fan commun­ities.

Games producers construct audiences through the decisions they make about charac­ters, narratives and gameplay. For example, AC:V offers players a choice between playing as a male or female character, Eivor (they're both named Eivor), allowing different interp­ret­ations of the narrative.

Games in this franchise have broadened their appeal by, for example, the inclusion of female protag­onists and different historical settings.


The distri­bution of games in the franchise across different platforms is a strategy to increase audience consum­ption. This might be also considered as an attempt to draw gamers from different platforms to purchase additional hardware and adopt new gaming habits.

Gamers might be being encouraged to have a more complete or satisfying experience by using a range of interl­inked products that offer exclusive downlo­adable content. This is only made possible through convergent technology and gamer "­buy­-in­" to the value of the exclusive content.

The franchise has a well-e­sta­blished fan community enhanced by digital convergent platforms facili­tating intera­ction and responses to the game to be shared. Fans can play a role in the future develo­pment of the franchise.


The unique intera­ctive and escapist experience provided by videogames influences interp­ret­ations as gamers are part of a fan community made up of partic­ipants from diverse social and cultural backgr­ounds.

Players may also make choices about videogames selecting those that reflect aspects of their identity, for example in relation to the AC franchise, those that feature a female avatar, or take place in a particular historical setting that is of interest to the gamer.


Bandura - Media effects
Theory recap: (1) the idea that the media can implant ideas in the mind of the audience directly. (2) the idea that audiences acquire attitudes, emotional responses and new styles of conduct through modelling. (3) the idea that media repres­ent­ations of transg­ressive behaviour such as violence or physical aggression can lead audiences members to imitate forms of behaviour.
Several games in the franchise have received an 18 rating from PEGI due to largely violent content.
Bandura's arguments about observ­ation and imitation (+ vicarious conseq­uences) may lead to audiences repeating the behavi­our­/vi­olence seen in the game (Bobo Doll Experi­ment).
It's been hugely discussed that videogames have a negative impact in the way that people behave, specif­ically children, specif­ically 2019 saw the height of this argument and it became a meme on the internet due to the (arguably) absurd nature of it.

Jenkins - Fandom
Theory recap: (1) the idea that fans are active partic­ipants in the constr­uction and circul­ation of textual meanings. (2) the idea that fans approp­riate texts and read them in ways that are not fully authorised by the media producers ('textual poaching') (3) the idea that fans construct their social and cultural identities through borrowing and inflecting mass culture images, and are part of a partic­ipatory culture that has a vital social dimension.
Videogames offer social experi­ences (online multip­layer options) as well as commun­ities outside of the core game experi­ence.
The fans may be passionate exponents of a game or the harshest critics and can often impact the develo­pment of games directly (not a game, but look at how influe­ntial the backlash was for the first Sonic movie trailer was that it changed the Sonic movie entirely- you shouldn't use this example in your answer but it helps me remember what the theory is).
The develo­pment in videogames technology have expanded the ways in which fans can interact with the games producers and the fan community, creating a partic­ipatory culture.
Videogames are intera­ctive, enabling fans to construct their identities through the partic­ipatory online experience and the rolepl­aying enviro­nment.
AC was painful to write for, but it was even more painful to find inform­ation for.
I hope that there will be more inform­ation specif­ically for Valhalla in the future, as the WJEC exam board was too lazy to write specia­lised inform­ation for students about it.
GL media students if not

Eivor (female ver.)

As opposed to the male version on the game cover.


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