Assassin's Creed Valhalla Paola's Dream mystery is a tribute to a late fan and her husband

Assassin's Creed Valhalla
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

If you've seen the Paola's Dream mystery in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, you probably got the idea that something else was going on here underneath the surface - and you were very right.

The short event begins in front of a building with large stone steps in Sciropescire. Talking to Jason out front will begin a cutscene where he takes Eivor on a tour of the grounds, which Jason says he and his wife assembled with one stone each from all the places they traveled. Eventually, Jason tells Eivor that the true wisdom he has taken from all his travels is that it's "very well to prepare for tomorrow, but do not forget today. Today, this hour, this moment, is a precious gift." Then he goes to join his wife Paola, who we see painting throughout the scene.

The characters of Jason and Paola are inspired by two real-life Assassin's Creed fans, and their stonework home is inspired by a painting that the real-life Paola made before she passed away in 2018 after multiple extended illnesses. Jason later appeared on the Heavily Pixelated podcast to talk about how playing games like Assassin's Creed Origins helped them explore worlds even when they were housebound together, then how games and the community around them helped convince him not to end his own life after Paola died and he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Jason became friends with former Assassin's Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail after speaking with him on the podcast, and he sent a copy of the painting to the team. Minor spoiler warning, but you can even see the painting itself in the building where the Animus is housed.

It's a beautiful in-game tribute to two people, celebrating not just their love of the series but also their love for one another and each moment of life. 

To find out how Valhalla fares, check out our list of the best Assassin's Creed games.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.