Schools turn to Assassin’s Creed game to teach history
More than 50 British schools have been sent a non-violent version of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla video game in an attempt to give kids a more immersive way of learning history.
The initiative, a collaboration between the developer, Ubisoft, and Digital Schoolhouse, a non-profit backed by the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) gaming trade body, sees the latest iteration of the long-running franchise rolled out across British schools, The Times reported on Tuesday.
With the game’s potentially violent content removed, students are left with the ‘Discovery Tour’ mode – a function that allows users to embark on a guided tour of the environment around them.
The 2020 action role-playing video game is set during the era of Viking expansion into the British Isles in the ninth century, thus giving students the chance to explore Norse settlements such as York among other significant historical locations as they travel from Norway to Britain.
“The history is brought to life. Pupils can really see what it was like when humans were living in that era,” Estelle Ashman, a content creator at Digital Schoolhouse, told The Times.
Wider use of the game may allow schools to save money on trips to historic sites while providing a more immersive style of education. Woking High School in Surrey has called on the government to formally endorse the initiative.
The popular gaming franchise has developed 12 main games over the years, all set within a different period in history, including the Holy Land during the third crusade and the Caribbean during ‘the Golden Age of Piracy’ in the early 18th century.
The most recent editions of the franchise, ‘Valhalla’, ‘Odyssey’ (Ancient Greece) and ‘Origins’ (late Ptolemaic Egypt & Libya) were all produced with the so-called ‘Discovery Tour’ function, providing players with hours of educational gameplay. The games were designed with input from historians and archeologists.
Such is the company’s attention to detail and historical accuracy that Ubisoft offered up its 5,000 hours of research into the design of Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral after it was badly damaged by fire in 2019. The team had created a blueprint of the 19th-century cathedral during its production of ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’.
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