Ubisoft have apologised for using ableist language in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to describe a burn victim. They’ve promised to remove this language in an upcoming update.
Courtney Craven, the founder of accessibility-focused games site Can I Play That?, got Ubisoft’s attention on Twitter over Valhalla’s description of a character who has severe burns. The game describes Eorforwine as having been “horribly burned in a childhood accident” and now being “terrified someone will see her disfigured face”.
I didn't include this in my #AssassinsCreedValhalla impressions piece but it's equally important to address. This is a character description in the game. It's absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way. Writers for games and otherwise need to do better. pic.twitter.com/jOLpPzD6Oe
— Courtney Craven (@CyclopediaBrain) November 9, 2020
Craven said that it’s “absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences in this way”, and urged writers to “do better”. They went on to describe their girlfriend’s reaction to the description: “GF who is a burn victim and spent many years ashamed of her scars, was sitting beside me when I came upon this bit in the game and the look on her face… I was embarrassed that this was her impression of this industry I love so much.”
Ubisoft responded on Twitter, thanking Craven for pointing this issue out and apologising for “unintentionally reinforcing ableism through this language.” Thankfully, they also promised to “remove this language in an upcoming update.”
The game launched yesterday and Alice B. said in her Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review that it’s “a lively grab bag of all the best bits from Assassin’s Creed games past”, but these callbacks “can get a bit much at times”, especially if you want to soak up the story. Seems like you need a fair amount of prior knowledge to really get what’s going on in the campaign, but otherwise it’s a fun, axe-toting frolic.
Jake’s also been out there in Vikingville, powering out plenty of Valhalla guides, so do have a gander if you’re in need of some helpful advice.