Warning: This article contains spoilers for Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and the ‘Legacy of the First Blade’ DLC.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is receiving a change to the story and cinematics for ‘Shadow Heritage,’ the second chapter of the ‘Legacy of the First Blade’ DLC add-on. The changes are a response to a controversy where the player’s character is shoehorned into a heterosexual relationship and parenthood by the story.
As part of the ‘Shadow Heritage’ story, players works with proto-Assassin Darius and his son Natakas (or daughter Neema) in order to take out a tyrannical pirate boss. Over the course of the story, the son/daughter (whose sex is the opposite of that of the MC) attempts to woo the player’s character. Even if the player spurns all of his/her advances, the DLC’s story ends with the player’s character, Darius, and Natakas/Neema settling down on a home the three refurbish and the player’s character having a child with Natakas/Neema.
Storywise, it’s a move meant to tie the player’s character to the lineage of Assassins we’ve met in the previous Assassin’s Creed games, but it betrays the fact that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey has more of a role-playing element than previous games. Whether you play as Alexios or Kassandra, they’re much more of a blank slate than previous protagonists like Altair or Ezio. Their personalities, including sexual preferences, are much more defined by the player. Fans were disappointed that this story move took away the agency they had over their character. Polygon pointed out another issue with the DLC that upset people:
The trophy/achievement earned after the scene where the child is born was called “Growing Up,” which some construed as a comment that being gay or childless was a phase to grow out of.
In a statement on the Ubisoft forums, a community manager said the team is “making changes to a cutscene and some dialogue in Shadow Heritage to better reflect the nature of the relationship for players selecting a non-romantic storyline.” They also said they’d be renaming a trophy/achievement as part of the changes, which will be implemented in an upcoming patch.
Following the announcement, GLAAD, the LGBTQ media monitoring organization, sent out a tweet commending the change.
We are pleased that Ubisoft has listened to LGBTQ players and will be making changes to Assassin's Creed. This is an important first step toward mitigating the damage done by the game's latest DLC. https://t.co/2l5CeXI3JV
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 25, 2019
Incidentally, GLAAD’s 30th annual Media Awards should be announced today, and will include video games as a category for the first time.