Home Gaming Ubisoft apologises for “poorly executed” forced heterosexual romance in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLC

Ubisoft apologises for “poorly executed” forced heterosexual romance in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLC

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of my favourite games from last year, and I spent dozens of hours role playing as my own idealised, ass-kicking version of Kassandra. The game was always sold as being about player choice, with even the character’s gender being an option; a first for an Assassin’s Creed game. For the most part, the game let players play whoever they liked, letting them forge hetero and homosexual relationships with abandon.

The game’s latest DLC however, forced players into a cisnormative relationship for the sake of procreation – and many players weren’t happy about it. And I get that. If you’ve spent hundreds of hours in a game that sells itself on player choice, only for that choice to be yanked away at the end, it’s likely to be upsetting. I recall many, many (many) people being incensed by Mass Effect 3 for much the same thing.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Creative Director Jonathan Dumont has since taken to the game’s forums to apologise for the mistake, admitting the team “missed the mark.”

“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.”

It stands in contradiction to earlier remarks by Dumont, which suggested that players in Odyssey would never be forced into “romantic situations they might not be comfortable with.”

“Since the story is choice-driven, we never force players in romantic situations they might not be comfortable with,” Dumont said to Entertainment Weekly. “Players decide if they want to engage with characters romantically. I think this allows everybody to build the relationships they want, which I feel respects everybody’s roleplay style and desires.”

Taking that away is…well, it’s shitty. Of course, there are people who suggest that none of this matters, that it’s just a game and that the game isn’t about dating or relationships – but that’s honestly just privileged claptrap from people who aren’t affected by it. Because that stuff doesn’t mean anything to you, it doesn’t mean the same of other players. Regardless of your stance here, Ubisoft promised one thing, and did another.

Dumont has said that Ubisoft has learned from the experience and will do better in future.

“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.”

Last Updated: January 17, 2019

201 Comments

  1. Spathi

    January 17, 2019 at 14:18

    It’s almost if there should be a “/s” at the end of this article 🙂

    Reply

  2. SagatatiaRZA

    January 17, 2019 at 14:18

    I don’t know why people would ever apologize for telling fictional stories the way they want. Ever. Identity politics are such a nuisance.

    Reply

  3. PestControl

    January 17, 2019 at 14:30

  4. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    January 17, 2019 at 14:40

    It is fucking hilarious that people take offense to this shit.

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      January 17, 2019 at 14:45

      I don’t think anyone’s…offended. I think people are upset. People have spent dozens, if not hundreds of hours moulding their character one way, only to have that choice nullified without any agency of their own. It’s like MAss effect 3’s ending boiling down to three colours, or people who built stealth characters in Deus Ex having to face off against bosses that require strength. It’s taking away player choice when the games have been sold on having player choice.

      Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 17, 2019 at 16:16

        I get that, but as mentioned in article, it’s still just a game that has no real bearing on our lives, unless it’s a gaming addiction.

        There’s a saying that goes: “If you won’t remember this problem in 5 years, it isn’t worth fretting about.”

        Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 17, 2019 at 16:16

        And I must say, you’re one of very few people on the internet who one can have a decent discussion with and learn something new. Kudos

        Reply

  5. Captain JJ

    January 17, 2019 at 14:51

    I have a serious love for games with a core of freedom and “the player’s choice” like Fallout (F76 doesn’t count), Elder Scrolls and a lot of survival games. You choose who you are, what you look like and what journey you follow – even if that never gets to actually following the main quest.

    So I get being forced into a line that you would have not chosen were it 100% up to you, but I also get that this isn’t Elder Scrolls or one of those survival games, and this is Ubi’s first time giving you a smidgen of that kind of freedom. As stated in the article.

    So let’s not go overboard here and ruin a good game for ourselves just because they didn’t get it 100% the way they should have/could have.

    Reply

    • David Harvey

      September 28, 2020 at 07:30

      Obamacare was straight up extortion.

      Reply

  6. Jackie

    January 17, 2019 at 14:55

    Hmmm, well i dont see how els from a purely logical point of view the bloodline can continue on, if you are in a same sex relationship its cool, but your child wont have the bloodline’s power… Just follow your parents example and do what you have to, then get back to whatever relationship you have

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      January 17, 2019 at 15:00

      From what I am starting to gather, it seems there was no choice between “shag to procreate, then continue as normal with my chosen life” and “must be in hetero relationship to procreate” kind of thing. Though it did not clearly come across as that being the issue.

      Reply

  7. Sageville

    January 17, 2019 at 17:16

    K.

    Reply

  8. Umar

    January 17, 2019 at 17:31

    This is the path that Ubisoft chose to take the series in. They made it a RPG and they touted player choice. They wanted you to mold these characters to your preference, so it’s natural to get upset when that freedom is just yanked away. Is it entitlement to want your role playing to be, you know, actual role playing? To want your choices to actually matter? We were ready to destroy Bioware for Mass Effect 3’s ending but now we’re more upset at the people wanting more from Ubisoft than actually holding this company to higher standards…

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 17, 2019 at 21:02

      I’m going to be that guy. I remember the ME3 ending debacle, I also remember hearing the old gamers are entitled chestnut, Bioware didn’t owe them anything, and we should respect their artistic vision.

      Reply

      • Weanerdog

        January 17, 2019 at 21:12

        I’ll back you up and I don’t have a dog in either fight

        Reply

      • Umar

        January 18, 2019 at 07:45

        Yeah, that’s a really fair point dude. I say that because I said the same thing, though in hindsight my opinion was skewed due to the sheer amount of abuse Bioware received, but it was crappy then as it is now to have player choice, something so extensively marketed and touted, removed. Not only does your choices not matter here but the character you crafted in this game is fundamentally changed as well.

        I do hear you though, and for me personally, I don’t really have any stake in this matter, but romantic relationships were used heavily as a marketing tool to hook people in, so I understand why people are upset when it was nothing but a facade.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          January 18, 2019 at 09:19

          I completely get why people are upset. You invest all that time into your character and suddenly your character gets forced to do something you wouldn’t want them to do if you had the choice. It’s happened to me in other games and it’s annoying, so I can imagine it’s much worse for people who’re traditionally poorly represented in gaming because it means so much more to them. It’s also clearly a bad mistake in how this was handled in the game, not a conspiracy to invalidate people’s identity, that up until this point had delivered on all their promises in this regard.

          Reply

          • Umar

            January 18, 2019 at 09:52

            Naa def not. It’s just kak writing and dumb planning from Ubisoft, but that’s on them because they changed this series into a RPG. I feel like the backlash is still pretty tame but necessary in order for Ubi to improve on this formula.

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      January 17, 2019 at 17:35

      Bingo. This is no different to Mass Effect 3, but because it’s not affecting *everyone* then it’s dismissed because it’s now a political issue.

      Reply

    • Marigold's Revenge!

      January 17, 2019 at 18:05

      This is the comment that gets featured?

      Reply

    • David Harvey

      September 28, 2020 at 07:30

      Just because you’re gay or are “fighting for gay rights” doesn’t mean everybody is and doesn’t mean this multinational organization has to bend the knee to people that agree with your point of view. To think so is entitled bigotry.

      Reply

    • xvtc

      September 28, 2020 at 07:30

      There has never been a game where your choices matter, and there never will be until general AI is invented.

      Reply

  9. Caveshen Rajman

    January 17, 2019 at 14:05

    Seems to me like their original statements were marketing spin, and then some writer came and told them “hold on, this series is about the progression of a DNA strain, you kinda need someone to make a baby…” and they decided let’s try and shoehorn that into a DLC so it all makes sense.

    Maybe that’s ultra-cynical but I dunno if you’ve been paying attention to these games it lines up perfectly for me?

    Reply

  10. For the Emperor!

    January 17, 2019 at 14:14

    People are not allowed to procreate to preserve their bloodlines! That is a sign of the oppressive patriarchy!

    PS: is procreation the issue, or was it only available through romance?

    PPS: Also tired of the “only one partner” thing in games 😛

    Reply

  11. Spathi

    January 17, 2019 at 14:14

    If being forced into a heterosexual romance with someone in a game bothers you, but you are fine with being an assassin murdering hundreds of people in the same game doesn’t, you clearly have problems.

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      January 17, 2019 at 14:18

      HEY! Some of them deserved it by virtue of being men! 😛

      Reply

    • Caveshen Rajman

      January 17, 2019 at 14:22

      When it comes to things like this I try to think of it like, if the roles were reversed how would I feel? If it’s the same then fair enough. If not, then yeah maybe it’s a bit of bias.

      I definitely believe it’s just a game and doesn’t *reeeeeeally* matter in the grander scheme of things but I can see why it would upset people, especially if you’ve been promised the ability to craft your character as you please and it turns out to be a bait-and-switch (but not in a cool way like with MGSV).

      Reply

      • Spathi

        January 17, 2019 at 14:35

        I don’t excuse Ubi breaking their promises, that just shitty. But I wouldn’t be offended if I was forced into a gay romance with a transgender person as part of the story line, especially if it was biologically a prerequisite for the story to advance as intended.

        Reply

        • Geoffrey Tim

          January 17, 2019 at 14:35

          It’s not though. They’re a pair of twins. They could easily have – if you chose to be a homsexual – had the other twin have the kid. they’re the same bloodline. Either way, AC’s actual lore is convoluted, stupid and makes an sense. It’s at its best as a historical playground.

          Reply

          • Spathi

            January 17, 2019 at 14:40

            Noted. Still, I wouldn’t be offended if the character I’m playing has different preferences or moral stances than myself. Actually, almost a 100% of the characters I play do shit I don’t agree with.

          • Geoffrey Tim

            January 17, 2019 at 14:40

            As do the people in the games I play. I would never murder anybody – but 99% of games have me doing that. Still, the game was sold as giving that choice to players – and then yanked it away right at the end. It’s not cool.

          • Spathi

            January 17, 2019 at 14:40

            That I agree with you 100%!

          • For the Emperor!

            January 17, 2019 at 14:45

            You rob the other twin of choice though…

          • Geoffrey Tim

            January 17, 2019 at 14:45

            You but you’re not playing as the other twin. They could have done all sorts of options for this through branching dialogue and options. Instead they forced one single outcome – which is against the entire spirit of the game.

          • For the Emperor!

            January 17, 2019 at 14:50

            So the issue here is the single outcome – forced romance? Or is it procreation?

          • Geoffrey Tim

            January 17, 2019 at 14:51

            It’s all of it. The forced outcome, the forced romance that goes against what the game was sold as. It has less to do with identitiy politics, and more to do with yanking player choice when it was sold as having player choice. I see it no differently to people being SO MAD about Mass Effect 3’s endings which took three games worth of player choice and boiled them down to three colours. I get why peopel are angry; they’ve played a game for many hours one way, only to have that choice nullified – and not in a cool “HAH, here’s a cool surprise!” way, but rather a “lol fuck you your choices dont matter” way.

          • For the Emperor!

            January 17, 2019 at 14:55

            If the character said “fine I’ll do it, but I don’t like you”, making it pure procreation and nothing romantic, would it have been better? Really trying to understand the specific wording used in the article, as including something like “privileged claptrap” makes it sound like whiny bitching. If the final dialogue had a choice between “just once for procreation” and “relationship to have children”, I would be fine. If there was only “relationship to have children”, then I agree with complaining. Just not the whiny bitchiness way of stating it.

          • Caveshen Rajman

            January 18, 2019 at 11:19

            I believe the “we’ll have a baby but nothing else” option is mentioned in the article? Maybe not worded that way.

          • For the Emperor!

            January 18, 2019 at 12:29

            Sort of…The quoted text states “Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship”, but the article itself states “forced players into a cisnormative relationship“. My comments are based on the article 🙂

          • Caveshen Rajman

            January 18, 2019 at 13:06

            Ah, I get it. I don’t see romance and relationships as having teh same meaning, so when I saw “utilitarian view” I took that to mean they fucked and went their separate ways lol.

        • Alessandro Barbosa

          January 17, 2019 at 14:39

          “But I wouldn’t be offended if I was forced into a gay romance with a transgender person”

          Considering the responses to games like, say, Rust not letting you choose gender, or comments on games that even just include characters that are queer, I assure you that there exists a sizable overlap between people who find this AC stuff a non-issue but games that you described a massive transgression.

          Reply

          • Spathi

            January 17, 2019 at 14:40

            That I can believe, but they can also go cry me river for all I care 🙂

          • Caveshen Rajman

            January 18, 2019 at 11:16

            Don’t fall for the venn diagram trap. There are definitely groups that have had issues with each, but it doesn’t mean they’re the same group. 😉

  12. Alien Emperor Trevor

    January 17, 2019 at 14:18

    They done fucked up the execution of this plot point.

    Reply

    • HvR

      January 17, 2019 at 14:18

      Clearly Ubi went down a wrong path and never pulled out

      Reply

  13. HvR

    January 17, 2019 at 14:21

    The best Ubi can be

    Reply

  14. Weanerdog

    January 17, 2019 at 14:40

    Weird, I was expecting backlash against gamer entitlement, but it seems that is a fluid point in the industry.

    Reply

    • Caveshen Rajman

      January 18, 2019 at 11:19

      Well played.

      Reply

    • xvtc

      March 6, 2019 at 00:26

      all consumers are entitled to a product that meets their expectations and which they consider to be worth the money they spent for it.

      imagine if this attitude existed in any other industry. you get your car back from the mechanic with no engine, you complain, the mechanic calls you an entitled manbaby and bans you from the property. you have any idea how fast they’d go out of business? but for some reason it’s okay when it’s a shitty video game.

      weird how it’s wrong for gamers to feel entitled to a decent good or service, but it’s fine for developers to feel entitled to their wallets, and for journalists to feel entitled to agreement, and to respect they never earned.

      Reply

      • David Harvey

        September 28, 2020 at 07:30

        The part you’re missing is that the engine is the same for everyone. Just because you want a lambo engine under the hood of your mitsubishi doesn’t mean you have the right to diss on the manufacturer. Get over yourself, bigot.

        Reply

        • xvtc

          September 28, 2020 at 07:30

          Actually it does, if the mitsubishi was advertised as having a different engine. Retard.

          Reply

        • xvtc

          October 5, 2020 at 00:42

          lmao shut up retard

          Reply

  15. Steffmeister

    January 17, 2019 at 16:40

    They wanted some free social justice marketing at launch.

    Reply

  16. BakedBagel

    January 17, 2019 at 16:51

    People should go play sims.

    Reply

  17. Unavengedavo

    January 17, 2019 at 20:29

    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.

    So Alexios is also affected by this choice in the end? He is also force into a relationship and has a kid. Why doesn’t there seem to be any rage about this? Or are people just pissed that their fantasy woman (whether you are a man or woman) is pregnant?

    They literally go on to say:

    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.”

    This is just one chapter in the story, the protagonists made a choice (all be it forced on to you) to ensure their bloodline continues out of honor to their parents. This just makes their(“their” being the protagonists) character stronger.

    Other studios are praised for “retconning certain characters as the opposite to what people assumed their sexual preference to be”. Now Ubisoft is villainized for making a decision on how they want their character represented in one moment of their lives, and it’s not even a permanent change?

    This whole argument just seems like an excuse for people to bitch and moan about video games to be relevant.

    Reply

    • Unavengedavo

      January 17, 2019 at 20:39

      This is type of analysis you guys used to do back in the LG days. Now it seems like you just copy and paste shit just so that you can argue about it to stay relevant.

      Reply

      • Weanerdog

        January 17, 2019 at 20:50

        I think that reading above you will see that times have changed being flung around a lot. Well change is inevitable but it isn’t always good. That copy paste stuff is annoying.

        Reply

        • Marigold's Revenge!

          January 17, 2019 at 21:07

          i dont like the copy paste stuff either.. If you’re taking a news piece from another site, maybe add your own spin to it?

          Reply

  18. Alien Emperor Trevor

    January 17, 2019 at 20:57

  19. David Harvey

    September 28, 2020 at 07:12

    Not everyone is gay. Being upset that the character you chose had to be straight one time is just as bad as a straight person being mad that homosexuality was introduced into a videogame in the first place. Get over it, bigot.

    Reply

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