Assassin's Creed Valhalla will up the brutality with the addition of gory, Mortal Kombat-style X-ray kills.
The first X-ray kill was slipped into Valhalla's new gameplay overview trailer, right near the end around 5:27. Eivor tackles a man and in the same motion plunges their hidden blade into his chest. Pretty standard Assassin's Creed fare so far, but the camera then shifts to an internal view so you can watch the blade shatter bone and pierce flesh. That's more like standard Mortal Kombat fare, if anything, and far more explicit than anything in previous Assassin's Creed games.
This is the only X-ray kill we've seen thus far, so viewers initially assumed it was just part of this cinematic. However, as PC Gamer spotted, game director Benoit Ritcher confirmed on Twitter that X-ray assassinations will indeed "happen during gameplay" and are "player triggered" – again, not unlike the X-ray kills in Mortal Kombat or, say, the Sniper series.
The exact wording of Ritcher's explanation - "player triggered" - makes me wonder how frequently these X-ray kills will come up. Are they tied to specific attacks? Is the hidden blade the only weapon that can trigger them? I'd imagine not, seeing as how Eivor's main weapon seems to be an axe. Are they more like the glory kills in Doom Eternal in that you can trigger them by finishing off vulnerable enemies? If the skill tree in Valhalla follows Assassin's Creed Odyssey, perhaps we'll see some execution-style abilities that can trigger X-ray kills.
The gameplay overview trailer above was released alongside a new character trailer exploring the struggles of Eivor.