It’s always fun to watch these guys at work and every piece they put together has been insanely impressive throughout the years since they take a great deal of pride in their work and they go all out when it comes to making each individual project. This time around the axe from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was on their list of things to do and it turned out looking great, though there are obvious differences, as one might expect. To start with the appearance of the axe in the game trailer looks a little more ornate, but the one crafted in this video actually looks a little more realistic, as though it could be taken into battle and be expected to perform beautifully. One thing that was made clear in the video, and this is true from an historical and practical standpoint, is that viking axes were rarely ever this big largely because it would be highly impractical given that the weight would wear out the wielder after a few heavy swings, meaning that the user would be vulnerable at some point thanks to fatigue. There were two-handed battleaxes to be certain, but the head tended to be a bit lighter in order to facilitate a quicker swing and greater mobility. Just think about wading into battle with a massive hunk of weaponry and trying to get more than one swing in on opponents that are at least somewhat quicker since they have longswords or other weapons that don’t weigh in excess of thirty to forty pounds or more. Don’t let the games and movies fool you, those weapons we see in period pieces were quite heavy, and to use them required a good amount of strength. That’s why smaller and lighter weapons, despite their appearance, are so much deadlier, they can strike multiple times in the same amount of time it takes for a heavier weapon to strike once. The only payoff is if the heavier weapon strikes true it’s bound to do more damage in one hit, and as such could end the fight quickly. But that kind of balance is hard to justify.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is already causing discussion boards to light up and it hasn’t even hit the markets yet, as many people that believe they’re authorities on vikings or actually do know something are chiming in with their two cents and giving their honest opinions. The viking culture has been played up a great deal in recent years thanks to its place in pop culture and yet while some representations have been rather astute, others have been so far off the mark as to be hilarious. There are many things that people have been led to believe about the people that adhered to this culture that aren’t true, and some that are. Inaccuracies usually come from what weapons they used, their style of dress, and even battle tactics and personal hygiene standards that were used in their day. Believe it or not vikings were actually very well-groomed individuals and they did take up the role of farmers at some point, tending land and livestock in an effort to create a sustainable society. It’s also true that they were absolutely brutal when it came to battle and from day to day in their own society as well, but this has been played up to such a degree that they’ve been demonized more than once, which tends to happen to many cultures that have a known history of violence. But when it comes to their weaponry, as it pertains to this video, the lighter weapons and those that could keep an enemy at a distance were often far more effective since while an enemy is swinging a bigger weapon and can do more damage, the person with the lighter weapon can move in and decimate their enemy with a flurry of blows that will accumulate and cause just as much trauma.
But just looking at this axe it’s amazing to think that the weapon came from a single block of metal and a chopped-down piece of birch. The work that went into this implement had to be a long and drawn-out process that was condensed down to a matter of minutes, but viewers can at least get the gist of what’s going on and be astounded at how great the final product looks. As I said in the beginning it looks quite a bit rougher than the video game representation, but this makes it far more impressive since it looks like an implement that could be taken on a battlefield and used to lay waste to one’s enemies in a very real fashion, and would leave a trail of broken bodies behind it with every swing. Morbid as that sounds, such weapons were only ever made for one use in the past. Nowadays we get to look at them and wonder just what might happen.