May 17, 2022

AC:Valhalla Features No Achievements on PC

Ubisoft reveal that the PC version of recent release Assassins Creed: Valhalla will feature no unlockable achievements at all

Valhala

Following heated discussion on the Ubisoft discussion forum, the developer of recent release Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has confirmed that the latest edition to the franchise will include no achievements, on PC at least. In an official response within the thread titled “is it just me or are there no achievements on PC” within the Valahall discussion forum, Ubisoft representative “Ubi-Baron” confirmed suspicion,

“Achievements are not not [sic] available for [Assasin’s Creed: Valhalla] on PC, and this is an intended change. 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”

Ubisoft Staffer “Ubi-Baron” confirms no achievements in AC: Valhalla

Assuming the double negative was not a deliberate and devious conflation from the forum employee, this is an unquestionably unpopular move from the developer. Personally, I’ve never been much of a trophy hunter. My only attempt at platinum on my trusty PS4 came from a misguided attempt to 100% Bloodborne. Why, oh why I chose to break tradition with a FromSoft game is beyond all rational explanation. And whilst I am not alone in my indifference to this digital pursuit of perfection, many more delight in the hunt.

Bloodborne is probably not the first game anyone should attempt to platinum

The Thrill of the Hunt

That’s not to say that you have to platinum a game to enjoy the occasional pat on the back form the developer. In uncovering a peculiar mystery, or simply stumbling on an Easter egg, it’s nice to know that your in-game antics are appreciated by some higher power. The inimitable “ping” as the familiar notification makes itself known provides an unspoken connection between player and developer. We’re in this together, and we’re pleased you’re enjoying our game, it seems to suggest. “Keep going” they almost whisper, “there’s much more fun to come”. It’s an intimate touch, and often a welcome one.

So why remove them, particularly in a game such as Valhalla typically synonymous with secrets and discoverable tit-bits. Surely this is beyond lazy, especially considering that this impacts just one platform. The code is there, ready and willing. What possible motivation could Ubisoft have for denying PC players this simple pleasure? The internet, it seems, has a theory.

Tin Hats at the Ready

The theory goes that this plays into a hidden agenda, a more insidious, underlying strategy centred around, you guessed it, micro-transactions. In summary, the exclusion of both achievements and Uplay points removes a small but crucial part of the expected dopamine response that gamers have come to expect from, in particular big single player experiences. In doing so, the player is forced to seek this necessary hit from other means. Enter achievements behind paywalls. Removing free content creates a void. A void so easily filled, just a few clicks and a credit card away.

Whether this is true remains to be seen, and we may never know the ultimate rationale behind the move. But what is clear is that the move has not been received well within the Ubisoft community. As voiced by community member “Porcupineskar” in reply to the official response,

“Why should we have understanding in this matter? Achievements have and always will be a big part of those games, it’s a big part of console gaming as well. I don’t care if it is called achievements or challenges but why aren’t the challenges the same as the achievements? Why do you get rid of a feature for a dedicated platform, when it’s still on console?”

One of many scathing replies to this unfathomable move from Ubisoft

Why indeed Ubisoft. This echos the views of countless other genre fans, some a little more liberal in their use of profanities. I’ll leave those for the curious reader to discover should they wish. But if this is truly to push more gamers in the direction of transacting in game, somewhere out there in a grey cubicle at Ubisoft HQ a very sad man sits in front of a spreadsheet, calculating the potential loss of custom from disenfranchisement, vs the margin uptick from micro-transactions. So far this is only apparent in Valhalla, but if the decision is right for this game, you would expect future releases to follow suit.

Maybe its just me, but I’m getting pretty fucking tired of this distasteful practice of balancing playability vs.. profitability. Maybe this is a consequence of the success of the industry. But for me it feels the scales are tipping a little too far in the wrong direction. Surely, something has got to give.

Source: Ubisoft Community Forum


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