The most fascinating characters in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are the bit players. There’s the unmistakable nod to a popular anime. There’s the cadre of musicians paying tribute to the Prodigy, an electronic band whose frontman, Keith Flint, tragically passed last year. There’s Axehead. But the one who’s most likely to make you go, “Wait, what?” is a dude named Otta Sluggasson, who’s voiced by a real-world baseball champion.
Extremely minor spoilers for a world event in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
You meet Otta Sluggasson in Sciropescire, southwest of Tonnastadir, in a small estate off Dudmastun Lake. When you first find him, three children are cheering him on, calling him things like “the Hammer of Stones” or “the Rocker of Rocks.” He wields a club, tosses stones in the air, and smacks said stones with his club, all while wearing some garb that clearly looks like an old-timey baseball uniform.
Talking to Otta triggers a world event (that’s Valhalla for “side-quest”). Your goal isn’t to play baseball against him. Rather, you have to use your bow to hit a set amount of targets in a set amount of time. The number you’re aiming for, apparently, is his best time on the same firing range, except he uses his “rock-hit.”
Baseball, of course, wasn’t invented until nearly a millennia after Valhalla takes place. As legend has it, the sport’s creation is most commonly attributed to Abner Doubleday, who used sticks to hit balls in the 1830s, but some historians say that baseball can be traced back a century earlier, when similar games were played in American colonial farmsteads. Whatever version you believe, it’s safe to say baseball wasn’t around in a recognisable incarnation until way later than the 9th century Valhalla takes place in.
Sluggasson’s most eyebrow-raising feature, though, is his accent. He doesn’t sport any of Valhalla’s common cadences: Norse, Danish, Anglo-Saxon. He sounds like any 25-year-old dude from Scottsdale, Arizona.
That’s because Otta Sluggasson is voiced by real-life, Scottsdale-born American baseball player Cody Bellinger, who also provided his likeness for the character. Apparently, the guy is pretty good. He and his team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, won some sort of championship recently, and Bellinger himself nabbed an MVP award last year.
Here’s a Ubisoft featurette showing the mocap process for bringing Bellinger to the screen, and for inventing baseball a full 1,000 years before it actually became a thing:
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