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

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