"Kill all the Christians!": Representation of religion within AC Valhalla
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This paper examines how religion is framed and represented within videogames, taking the game Assassins Creed Valhalla as a case to study. This game has been chosen for its rather unique representation of Christianity through the perspective of both an extinct religion (the Old Norse religion) and a fictitious religious framing (the Isu), developed by the studio Ubisoft. By applying a textual analysis my play sessions have been documented and used in order to analyze the representation of religion within this game. The interrelation between these religions is problematic as the violent nature of the Norse is in a direct conflict with the innocent nature of the Christians. Additionally, Christianity is barely represented within the narrative as the fantasy driven polytheistic Norse religion takes the front seat. Religion is often used instrumentally in order to fit the formula that the Assassins Creed series has developed throughout dozens of games within the series. Progress within the game has been heavily framed through religious narrative, the player has to raid and pillage in order to grow. This leads to churches and abbeys serving no other purpose than being places for the player to plunder. The use of the Old Norse perspective creates conflicts with the Western-Christian view which is embedded within the design of this game. This results in the Christian religion being respected too much, at the cost of a limited representation of the Old Norse and their warmongering ideals.