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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla marks an achievement-free turn for Ubisoft

Now, I wouldn’t call “racking up achievements” an essential part of the Viking power fantasy. Yet, when they appeared to be mysteriously absent from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the uproar could’ve easily been heard in the Norse afterlife itself. Following the pillage ’em up’s release earlier this week, Ubisoft have stepped in to explain that their absence is intentional, the first in a move to eliminate achievements in favour of their existing Challenges system.

Popping onto Valhalla’s store page on the Ubisoft Connect launcher, the Viking romp is notably missing an Achievements tab. Eagle-eyed fans were quick to spot this, too, especially considering Watch Dogs: Legion and Far Cry 5 still feature the meta-collectables.

While Valhalla has the expected freezes and bugs of a new triple-A game, the lack of ‘cheevos isn’t one of them. As it happens, their absence is entirely deliberate, as Ubisoft move to expand their similar (yet notably different) Challenges system to fill in the gaps.

“Achievements are not available for this title on PC, and this is an intended change,” a Ubisoft representative wrote in a forum response. “Instead of Achievements for new games on Ubisoft Connect, instead we have expanded the Challenges, which provide XP and other rewards in Ubisoft Connect. We know that this is a big change for a lot of you, and we appreciate your understanding in the matter.”

Challenges, while a similar form of external reward, are both a little more useful and a little more throwaway – offering in-game rewards like XP or currency for, say, winning 4 games of For Honor or punching 50 cops in Watch Dogs. They tend to be more fleeting, too, coming and going with in-game seasons in a way that prevents you from truly “100%’ing” a game. Granted, one could argue that having both challenges and ‘cheevos was a little redundant, and Ubisoft are just tidying things up a bit. Still, a lotta folks take ‘cheevo collection extremely seriously. The news that they’ll be dropped on PC going forwards is sure to upset.

It probably doesn’t help that Challenges themselves are a little busted right now. “Core Challenges” are currently unavailable across most Ubi games, likely a hangover in the transition from Uplay to Ubisoft Connect.

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