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Ubisoft apologizes for ableist language in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Eivor
(Image credit: Ubisoft)
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Assassin's Creed Valhalla (opens in new tab) is out today, and in case you hadn't heard it is excellent: "It builds on the already excellent RPG foundations laid by Origins and Odyssey, but with meaningful improvements that iron out many of the frustrations I had with both games," Steven said in his 92% review (opens in new tab). Valhalla's launch seems to have gone relatively smoothly, too.

Courtney Craven, the founder of gaming accessibility site Can I Play That? (opens in new tab), found one troubling issue with the game, however: a description of a character who was badly burned as a child, and now lives in fear of people seeing her "disfigured face."

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

"I didn't include this in my Assassin's Creed Valhalla impressions piece but it's equally important to address. This is a character description in the game," they wrote. "It's absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way. Writers for games and otherwise need to do better."

Unfortunately, although not unexpectedly, the reaction to Craven's tweet was largely negative, leading them to protect their tweets. Ubisoft took a more understanding approach, however.

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Ubisoft made a similar change in early 2019 to Assassin's Creed Odyssey in response to complaints that the Legacy of the First Blade DLC forced players into heterosexual romances (opens in new tab), even if they'd pursued same-sex relationships in the main game. An update was released the following month that made changes intended to "better reflect the nature of the relationship for players selecting a non-romantic storyline." Given the increased focus on storytelling in Valhalla—Steven said in his review that it's much better than Odyssey "at telling an engaging story that twists and turns according to my decisions"—it's not terribly surprising to see Ubisoft moving quickly to address criticism like this. 

There's no time frame on the update at this point: A Ubisoft rep said the company currently has no information to share beyond the tweet. 

Thanks, PCGamesN (opens in new tab).

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.