Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its latest DLC chapter raised some hackles last week. The story shoehorned its protagonist into a relationship to produce an heir, whether or not the player had decided their hero was straight, gay, or just disinterested in the lover the game had picked out. After players complained, Ubisoft apologised, admitting they’d dropped the ball on writing that particular segment. In a statement on the Ubisoft forums yesterday, Ubi announced that an upcoming patch would partially alter a cutscene, some dialogue and the naming of an achievement, reportedly after consultation with LGBT media advocacy group GLAAD.
While it sounds like the changes are going to be relatively minor, I feel Ubisoft have handled this well. I definitely wouldn’t attribute their misstep to malice, just clumsy writing, as they’d backed themselves into a corner on that plot point. In allowing players to define the sexuality of their main character, it ended up clashing a bit with the recurring theme of special bloodlines (including some extraterrestrial stuff going on) needing to be continued. The achievement that’ll be renamed was the rather galling ‘Growing Up’, which gave the unfortunate impression that Kassandra or Alexios weren’t proper adults until they’d gone and made a baby.
We are pleased that Ubisoft has listened to LGBTQ players and will be making changes to Assassin’s Creed. This is an important first step toward mitigating the damage done by the game’s latest DLC. https://t.co/2l5CeXI3JV
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 25, 2019
Ubisoft also say they’re investigating how choices made in the Shadow Heritage chapter could resolve in the third and final chapter of the current story arc, Bloodline. Hopefully it’s the last time they’ll have to take care, as the next story arc – The Fate Of Atlantis – sounds like it’s going to be a far more fanciful adventure. Of course, as it’s diving deeper into the silly science-fantasy aspects of the Assassin’s Creed series, that’s sure to upset some people as well, although on a more universal level. As for me, I’m one of those awful trash-beasts that likes the silly Ancient Aliens conspiracy nonsense surrounding it all.
Despite fumbling the LGBTQ+ ball a bit, GLAAD are still nominating Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for one of their Media Awards, stating that “progress can sometimes be messy”. You can read their full reasoning here.