I‘m sure you‘ve heard about Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla. This epic Viking adventure from Ubisoft has captivated over 20 million gamers with its stunning recreation of medieval England during the time of the Norse invasion.
But its standard $59.99 price tag may have you wondering: is AC Valhalla free to play?
The short answer is no – the base game still requires purchase. However, Ubisoft has provided some extremely generous promotional periods allowing you to play for free temporarily.
In this complete guide, I‘ll give you all the details on how to access AC Valhalla without paying a dime. I‘ve played over 50 hours myself, so I‘ll provide plenty of insider tips to maximize your free experience.
Let‘s dive right in!
When Has AC Valhalla Been Free?
While not permanently free, Ubisoft has offered special limited-time events and promotions to download and play AC Valhalla for free across all major platforms. Here‘s an overview of when you could play at no cost:
Free Weekends – These are typically 3-4 day periods coinciding with major game updates such as expansions or seasonal content drops. There have been at least 4 since launch.
Free Weeks – For example, Ubisoft provided full week-long access to celebrate Valhalla‘s 1 year anniversary in November 2021.
Store Promotions – The Epic Games Store offered the full base game for free download during their holiday sale in December 2021.
Subscription Perks – Services like Xbox Game Pass and Stadia Pro have included Valhalla as a subscriber benefit for 1-4 months.
Free Trial Periods – Platforms such as Stadia have offered 1-2 month trials with access to the full game.
As you can see, there have been plenty of opportunities to play for zero dollars. Ubisoft even made the first act permanently free as a demo. Now let‘s look at the details for each platform.
PlayStation (PS4/PS5) Free Access
For PlayStation owners, Ubisoft has provided recurring free weekends every 2-3 months since launch, typically running Friday-Monday.
- Duration: 3 day weekends
- Content: Main game + any expansions released by the promo date
- Post-Event: Option to purchase and retain full progression
They align these events with major title updates to entice players with new content to try the game out. All progression and achievements carry over if you choose to buy Valhalla after the free period ends.
Xbox (Xbox One/Series X|S) Free Play
Similarly, Xbox platforms have received 3-4 day free weekends synchronized with the PlayStation promotions.
- Duration: 3-4 day weekends
- Content: Full base game
- Post-Event: Purchase permanently unlocks any expansions
While PlayStation provided expansions during events, Xbox just offered the core title for free initially. But your stats and world progress remain intact post-purchase.
PC (Epic Games Store) Promotion
Epic Games Store rolled out the red carpet, offering the entire AC Valhalla game 100% free for PC gamers for a full week in December 2021.
- Duration: 1 week unlimited access
- Content: Complete base game, no restrictions
- Post-Event: None, full game free to keep permanently
This promo gave ample time to complete the full story at no cost. Any PC player who claimed it during this period owns Valhalla forever.
PC (Ubisoft Connect) Free Trials
For Windows PC users, Ubisoft has also provided recurring free trials of around 4-7 days tied to title updates.
- Duration: Typically 4-7 free days
- Content: Varies – base game and/or new expansion content
- Post-Event: Purchase unlocks all owned content indefinitely
These free periods offer a nice chunk of time to experience new expansions like Dawn of Ragnarok at no cost. And your progress will remain if you choose to buy.
Stadia Free Access (Stadia Pro)
Google‘s cloud streaming platform Stadia has included AC Valhalla as a free perk for its Pro subscribers in multiple 1 month spurts.
- Duration: 1 month periods for Pro members
- Content: Base game + expansions released by end of access
- Post-Event: Purchase allows you to resume where you left off
Stadia has also offered 1-2 month free Stadia Pro trials with full Valhalla access. A handy way to play across laptops, phones, and tablets easily.
Xbox Game Pass Free Play
For Xbox Game Pass members on console, PC and cloud streaming, Valhalla has been included in the library for around 2-4 month periods.
- Duration: 2-4 months typically
- Content: Full base game
- Post-Event: Purchase or resubscribe to regain access
This gives you a couple months to take on the massive open world at no extra charge. You just need an active subscription to play.
As you can see, Ubisoft has done a stellar job making sure there are plenty of ways to play this AAA blockbuster at no cost for a limited time. Now let‘s talk about what happens if you "go free" then decide to buy.
What Player Progression Carries Over?
A common and very fair question around these free promotions is what happens if you enjoy AC Valhalla during the free period and then decide to purchase the full game?
The great news is that literally all of your progression carries over seamlessly.
Here are some examples of key elements that will remain intact:
- Character level
- Abilities and unlocked skills
- Weapons and gear collected
- Territory revealed on the map
- Alliance progress with tribes
- Raw materials gathered
- Story progress and completed quests
- Achievements earned
Basically if you sink 10, 20 or even 50 hours into the free version of AC Valhalla, all that dedication pays off. You can simply buy the game after the event ends and literally continue right where you left off with no progress lost.
This applies equally whether you originally played on Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Stadia Pro, or any of the free events across all platforms.
You keep your complete Viking saga right where it left off. Ubisoft has ensured a smooth transition when you decide to buy-in after testing the waters.
Now let me provide some pro tips from my experience playing events to maximize your free time.
Tips to Master AC Valhalla‘s Free Weekends
I‘ve participated in quite a few of the AC Valhalla free events across Xbox and Stadia. Here are some key tips I‘ve learned to make the most of the limited time:
Mark your calendar – Check gaming news for announcements of free periods so you know exactly when they start/end.
Pre-load if possible – Download the game ahead of time so you can jump in instantly when the event starts.
Refresh your skills – Revisit ability guides to understand the best combat, stealth and raiding tactics.
Focus the story – With less time, pursue main quests first, then complete side content if you have time.
Survey the map – Uncover new regions of the map to get a sense of the huge open world awaiting you.
Grab free gear sets – Check stores for any free content or special rewards you can quickly obtain.
Consider buying – If the game clicks with your style, strongly consider purchasing to continue your adventure.
With this advice, you‘ll start strong and get a great feel for the depth of content and gameplay variety Valhalla provides.
Now let‘s move on to the big question many of you are wondering – will Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla eventually just be free forever?
Will AC Valhalla Ever Be Permanently Free?
Given how generous Ubisoft has been with free access events, it‘s reasonable to wonder if Valhalla will eventually just become a permanently free game.
As someone who has followed the AC franchise and many free-to-play transitions closely, I don‘t think we‘ll see Valhalla go permanently free anytime soon for a few key reasons:
Ongoing Sales Strength
- Valhalla has sold over 20 million copies and continues selling well over 2 years post-launch. With this level of ongoing momentum, Ubisoft has little incentive to relinquish this revenue stream.
No Precedent in AC Franchise
- Despite being available on subscription services temporarily, no previous premium AC game like Black Flag or Odyssey has ever shifted to permanently free status – even ones >5 years old.
Active Live Service Support
- Valhalla continues receiving major content updates like the Dawn of Ragnarok expansion in 2022. This keeps investment and spending high among the existing player base.
Primarily Single Player Experience
- Games that have successfully pivoted to free-to-play status like Fortnite and Apex Legends tend to be predominantly multiplayer. Valhalla was designed first and foremost as a single player epic.
Based on these factors, I expect Ubisoft will retain the standard premium pricing model for AC Valhalla for the foreseeable future.
However, players can likely expect the return of periodic free weekends and other promos indefinitely. Ubisoft has shown a real commitment to providing outstanding free access opportunities.
Final Verdict: How to Play AC Valhalla for Free
Hopefully this guide provided you a complete overview of whether one of the biggest games of 2020, Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla, is free or not. Here are the key takeaways:
Limited Time Events – Although not permanently free, Ubisoft has offered generous temporary access periods including free weekends across all platforms. These allow full play of the base game and sometimes expansions too.
Progression Carries Over – All your progress and achievements seamlessly carry over if you choose to purchase the full game after testing it out during a free event.
Unlikely to Be Permanent – Given the game‘s ongoing sales momentum and lack of precedent for the AC series, Valhalla likely won‘t become completely free-to-play anytime soon.
Watch for Future Events – While not free forever, future free periods will continue allowing you to play for zero dollars for a limited duration.
So if you‘ve been waiting for a chance to sail down rivers, raid camps, take on legendary beasts and experience this legendary Viking saga at no cost, be sure to take full advantage of these generous time-limited offers from Ubisoft.
Valhalla awaits, and you can enjoy much of it gratis! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about playing one of 2020‘s biggest hits free of charge. Skål!