After Ubisoft was called out for using ableist language within AC Valhalla, the studio vows to the remove offensive language from the game.
The developer of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ubisoft, has promised to remove ableist language from the game. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest installment in Ubisoft’s long running Assassin’s series; lauded as a return to form from the developers, the title is a hallmark in the next generation of gaming, but it’s not without its faults (and not all of them are related to gameplay).
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes gamers back to the time of Viking conquest, going from Norway to England and beyond while moving players from bloody battle to bloody battle. In addition to the real-world locations that players will visit in-game, they can also venture to the mythical Norse lands of Asgard and Jotunheim. While many foes encountered during the playthrough of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be mortals of flesh and blood, there is also a strong lean towards the fantastical with the inclusion of regional mythological locations, characters, and legendary weapons such as the sword of Excalibur, suggesting that fabled Gods and beasts may too make a showing within the game.
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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has only been out for a day on Microsoft gaming platforms for the public, but it’s been in the hands of reviewers for a while longer. Courtney Craven brought a specific character biography to Ubisoft’s attention on Twitter, in which a character that was severely burned in their childhood is described as “disfigured.” As a disability advocate and founder of Can I Play That?, Courtney used their platform to call this mishandling of facial differences “unacceptable” and that videogame writers “need to do better.” Ubisoft was empathetic to Courtney’s feedback and quickly replied to the tweet, apologizing for the game’s use of ableist language. The developer vows that it will change the character description in a future update to the game.
Thank you so much for pointing this out – we apologize for unintentionally reinforcing ableism through this language. We will remove this language in an upcoming update.
— Assassin’s Creed (@assassinscreed) November 9, 2020
While a victory for disability awareness, this promise from Ubisoft has been met with a lot of criticisms from other gamers. Many feel that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not the platform for promoting “political correctness” and “equality.” With the Assassin’s Creed series generally striving for (mostly) accurate history in its storytelling, some angry fans feel that excluding this type of language from the game would break from honoring its authentic context.
This is not the first time that Ubisoft has been called out for similar inclusivity oversights. When the Assassin’s Creedy Odyssey: Legacy of the First Blade was released, there was an massively negative response to the way the player characters were forced into a heterosexual romance regardless of players’ past romantic choices as that character. Just like now, Ubisoft went on to apologize for this misstep and vowed then to do better. Hopefully, this latest incident with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will remind the studio of its prior promises and keep it on track forcreating more inclusive games for everyone.
Next: Why Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Isn’t Coming To Steam
Assassins Creed Valhalla is available now on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC, and it will launch on PS5 on November 12, 2020.
Source: Courtney Craven
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