Before we get in to the meat of this news item let’s me press the big SPOILER WARNING button.
Here’s a quick recap: Ubisoft released the ‘Shadow Heritage’ DLC for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in which your character had to have a child. It didn’t matter if previously you had played as Alexios and had enjoyed lots of hide the sausage with every totes masc Centurion you could find, or had played Kassandra and had spent a lot of time on the isle of Lesbos. The game ignored these choices and your character was forced in to a heterosexual relationship, and there was also a trophy which seemed to suggest that having a child was how you become an ‘real’ adult.
Unfortunately by being inclusive (hurrah) Ubisoft shot themselves in the foot. The whole Assassin’s Creed franchise is based on the idea of genetic memory, passed down from generation to generation, but if your character is gay then there’s a rather large possibility that they won’t have any children. Of course gay couples can have children via a surrogate or sperm donor, but I’m not sure that sort of thing was readily available in 431 BC.
I think complaining about a trophy name is a little silly but after giving gay people the option to play as themselves just for once, forcing them to go straight is quite upsetting. Ubisoft have issued a number of statements regarding the DLC, and here’s the latest from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Creative Director Jonathan Dumont.
Reading through player responses of our new DLC for Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage, we want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in. The intention of this story was to explain how your character’s bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins, but looking through your responses it is clear that we missed the mark.
Alexios/Kassandra realizing their own mortality and the sacrifice Leonidas and Myrrine made before them to keep their legacy alive, felt the desire and duty to preserve their important lineage. Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship. We attempted to distinguish between the two but could have done this more carefully as we were walking a narrow line between role-play choices and story, and the clarity and motivation for this decision was poorly executed. As you continue the adventure in next episode Bloodline, please know that you will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to.
We have read your responses online and taken them to heart. This has been a learning experience for us. Understanding how attached you feel to your Kassandra and your Alexios is humbling and knowing we let you down is not something we take lightly. We’ll work to do better and make sure the element of player choice in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey carries through our DLC content so you can stay true to the character you have embodied throughout.
It’s good that you’ll be able to get out of the enforced relationship and Ubisoft clearly have learned their lesson. However, I do have to wonder how they DLC got on the shelves without anyone raising an objection, surely there must be some gay people working on the game who would have spotted the problem.