A newly-released downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has come under fire for [spoiler alert] forcing players’ characters into straight relationships and parenthood.
The roleplaying video game is based on the idea that players are free to choose their character’s gender, playing either as Alexios or Kassandra, define their sexuality and craft their own adventure through Ancient Greece.
Such freedom of choice won Assassin’s Creed Odyssey fans and support, particularly as mainstream video games have been slower to reflect LGBT+ representation compared to other forms of entertainment.
But the ending of the “Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage” DLC, released on Tuesday (January 15), seemingly took that agency away. No matter the players’ decisions, their characters were forced to have a straight relationship with another key character, and have their baby.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players criticise forced straight relationship for LGBT characters
Straight and LGBT+ players alike made their disappointment known through the digital channels available to them and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey creators soon became aware of the issue.
Reddit user lithiumfleur wrote in a subreddit dedicated to the game: “I’m bi, and had Kassandra sleep with men and women (Alcibiades included) But being forced into ‘lol here get railroaded into a sexual counter and have a baby?’ I literally recoiled.”
“I really enjoyed the last dlc but since I played Kass as a lesbian, the whole Natakas angle is 😬” YouTuber snarkengaged wrote below one of Ubisoft’s game previews.
“Ubisoft: Come buy our game! You can be a badass lesbian warrior! Ubisoft a few months later: LOL JK but thanks for the money
#notmyKassandra,” Twitter user Lydia wrote, using one of the hashtags—the other being #NotMyAlexios #NotMyOdyssey—that many other players used to protest the characters’ forced relationships.
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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Creative director issues apology
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey creative director Jonathan Dumont apologised to players in a message posted on Thursday (January 17) on the Ubisoft video game’s online forum.
“We want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in,” Dumont said, adding: “We missed the mark.”
Dumont explained that the creators’ intention was to focus on the characters’ attachment to their bloodline. “Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship,” he wrote, admitting that their vision was “poorly executed.”
He promised players that the next instalment of the adventure would not present the same issue: “You will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to.”
Some of the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players replying to the thread on the Ubisoft forum were dissatisfied with the response, which did not mention correcting the issue in the current DLC.
“So there’s no plans to change this, at all? You straight up just lied to us by saying: ‘we never force players in romantic situations they might not be comfortable with,'” read the first response to the thread, quoting a sentence Dumont uttered in an October interview to Entertainment Weekly.
Another response read: “Queer people don’t exist to be your damn learning experience. You promised one thing and then doubled back because acknowledging that we exist would be too inconvenient for the story you wanted.”
“Give us a hero to get us pregnant for the good of the bloodline, why the hell do I have to fall in love with a sap when I was playing a homosexual character?” one person commented. “I’m not even gay in real life but I was thoroughly enjoying playing from that perspective since its so rare in video games and I definitely have to side with our gay friends here about how this DLC has treated them as second class citizens almost.”
“I am so sad of seeing my community so poorly represented in shows and video games. It depresses me, but this game helped me a lot fighting that depression,” another player wrote. “I always dreamed to have a gay Assassin as main protagonist, and even if this wasn’t really it, it was something, it was a change and it made me extremely happy. If you want to support the gay community, you have to do it until the end.”