A few days ago, Ubisoft released the newest chapter in their episodic Assassin’s Creed Origins DLC, which was designed to not only tell the story of the first assassin, but provide significant story content for the game’s protagonists. Some players are unhappy with the decisions made for the protagonists in the game and Ubisoft has admitted they missed the mark.
There are story spoilers for this DLC episode below, so if you don’t want to know what happens and why Ubisoft is apologizing for it, stop here and circle back at a time when you’re fine with it.
At the end of the episode, the player character, whether they be Alexios or Kassandra, ends up in a relationship with an opposite-sex character featured heavily in the DLC. Whether you choose to embrace or rebuff them does not matter, Alexios/Kassandra end up with them and produce a son. The only choice you get in the matter is whether they produce the child out of love or simply desire for an offspring.
Assassin’s Creed has often had protagonists that eventually have children, due to the way that game’s DNA memory setup works. Odyssey was intended to be a little different, however, playing with the mutability of DNA and using that for justification for why there were split protagonists playing the same in the first place. Ubisoft themselves emphasized that Kassandra and Alexios’ personas were completely created by the player, from their do-gooder natures to their sexuality, thanks to the addition of dialogue options in the game. To the players who believed their characters to be homosexual through their own designs, the end of the DLC was a rather shocking punch to the gut.
“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,” Odyssey’s creative director Jonathan Dumont wrote in a forum post today. “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.”
It is an interesting discussion, though perhaps one that should have occurred within Ubisoft rather than outside of it, about how the narrative of a game should be impacted by the player’s choice. It was of course the developer who said at E3 that the game will be built around player choices and those should be respected, meaning they set the tone for that at the outset. If they wanted to write the character one way, they should have done so when the game was shown and released, not six months after the fact.
“Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship” Dumont added. “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.”
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.