Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Hidden Ones Bureaus Hide A Great Series Callback

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Hidden Ones Bureaus Hide A Great Series Callback
Bonus: You also unlock this snazzy suit of armour along the way. (Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku)

Between One-Punch Man, baseball man, and multiple nods to popular fantasy franchises, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is basically the Metropolitan Museum of Easter Eggs. But the best surprise — or at least the one that’s sure to delight series fans the most — doesn’t show up until late in the game.

Spoilers follow for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Once you settle Ravensthorpe, roughly 10 hours into the game, you’ll be able to develop a whole host of new buildings. Creating the Hidden Ones Bureau will give Hytham, the junior Hidden One, a snazzy new office. Because this is a video game, he’ll reward you with a mission: Track down six codex pages, located in various decommissioned Hidden Ones Bureaus of England. As the name implies, these Bureaus are all off the beaten path. But finding them is worth the effort, as doing so will trigger an Easter egg starring Bayek of Siwa, the player character of Assassin’s Creed Origins.

Each Hidden Ones Bureau features a mix of platforming and environmental puzzles. A combustible ability, like Incendiary Powder Trap, can help with taking down any stone barricades, but it’s not essential. There’s almost always a jar of flammable oil somewhere nearby, and a convenient pathway that will allow you to carry it to the barricade without issue. (Whether or not you set yourself on fire in the process of blowing up the barricade is another matter.)

In other words, once you find a Hidden Ones Bureau, you likely have the means to complete it. They’re located in:

  • Ledecestre, in the northeast part of town
  • Lunden, right outside the east wall
  • Colcestre, by the southern ramparts
  • Jorvik, near the theatre in the southwest
  • The middle of a forest in the middle of freakin’ nowhere in southwest Glowecestrescire
  • Wincestre, on the westside, directly south of Saint Peter’s Church

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Ledecestre Bureau.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Lunden Bureau.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Colcestre Bureau.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Jorvik Bureau.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Bureau in the middle of Thor-damn nowhere.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku, Fair Use

The Wincestre Bureau.

Once you’ve rounded up all six codex pages, return to Ravensthrope and talk to Hytham. He’ll offer some perfunct thanks — honestly offensive for a task that can last the entire duration of a sprawling role-playing game — and mention that Reda, the purveyor of black-market goods, has an ancient piece of writing. That’s where things get real.

When you ask Reda about the script, he’ll respond flippantly: “Oh, that old scrap? Yes, it’s just a short letter from one Hidden One to another.”

Press him about how he got his hands on it, and he’ll say, “A friend gave it to me for safekeeping. Bayek was his name. Egyptian fellow. Very kind.” (One wonders just how old Reda is. Bayek’s exploits largely took place during the Ptolemaic Era, more than two thousand years ago, while Valhalla is set in the late 800s.)

Bayek and his faithful eagle, Senu, standing in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza. (Screenshot: Ubisoft) Bayek and his faithful eagle, Senu, standing in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza. (Screenshot: Ubisoft)

After your chat with Reda, he’ll pull back the curtain on the left side of his tent, revealing a podium with a letter on it. Anyone who played Assassin’s Creed Origins will immediately recognise it as a love letter written by Bayek to his wife, Aya. Neither are mentioned by name, but the clues — that it’s written on papyrus; that it mentions several members of the Egyptian pantheon; that it discusses the nascent beginnings, the origins, if you will, of the Hidden Ones — are a collective dead giveaway. And it’s not just some throwaway piece of in-game text. It’s read aloud by Abubakar Salim, the performer behind Bayek.

Oh, yeah, and you get some sweet, stylish armour (the aptly named Hidden Ones set) for knocking out every Hidden Ones Bureau. With two pieces equipped, you’ll get a boost to assassination damage, provided you stay in cover for 10 seconds or more. Equip all five pieces, and you’ll buff your headshot damage. The gear is aligned with the Raven skill tree, so you’ll see even more stat bonuses if you’ve invested heavily in those nodes. There’s also a dagger — the Wolf-aligned Suttungr’s Claw — that ramps up your critical damage with every hit.

It’s good gear, but the Easter egg is the real prize. According to our highly scientific methodology, Assassin’s Creed Origins is the best Assassin’s Creed game. Speaking personally, it’s my favourite game in the series — a reimagining of what Assassin’s Creed could be that didn’t shirk the fundamentals, all wrapped in an emotional wallop of a narrative starring some of the strongest characters since Ezio’s three-game escapade. Hearing Bayek’s voice was instantly transportative. Who knew the Library of Alexandria was just a stone’s toss away from the cobbled back streets of old Londinium?

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