A controversial bit of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey downloadable content will be changed in a future patch following a backlash from fans. Spoilers follow for the Shadow Heritage episode of Odyssey’s DLC.
At the end of the Shadow Heritage episode, your character has a child from a heterosexual relationship. Those who had spent hours playing their Kassandra or Alexios as LGBTQ—or simply not interested in relationships at all—felt forced into a plot development.
The backlash was enough to prompt an apology from Ubisoft, and now the company is taking it a step further. In a production update, the studio said that it will change a cutscene and dialogue choices for those who don’t want the storyline to go in that direction, and it will also change to the name of the associated trophy/achievement. All this will be coming in an upcoming patch, and Ubisoft is looking into the next episode, called Bloodline, to make sure that it doesn’t create a similar issue.
The bloodline aspect was the given reason for the controversial ending in the first place, as creative director Jonathan Dumont said that the idea was to show how «your character’s bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins.» At the same time, he acknowledged the problem.
«We want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in,» he said. «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.»
The LGBTQ organization GLAAD celebrated the move in a tweet, saying it is pleased with Ubisoft’s decision and that the change is «an important first step toward mitigating the damage done by the game’s latest DLC.»
While Assassin’s Creed Odyssey received a mostly positive reception, including in GameSpot’s review, the romance options were criticized as shallow.
«Romancing side characters is also possible in Odyssey. While some of these scenes can be amusing, they’re mostly just bizarre shows of affection that have no real purpose,» wrote critic Alessandro Fillari. «These scenes almost always result in a shallow aside during the conversation, with the characters slinking off-screen before returning to the conversation without skipping a beat. Most often, these awkward romance opportunities appear immediately after (or during) otherwise harrowing events. Aside from seeing some additional scenes with certain characters, there’s really no benefit to engaging in romance at all. The inclusion of these scenes feels cheap and can sully otherwise interesting conversations.»