Assassin's Creed Valhalla 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. Valhalla's launch seems to have gone relatively smoothly, too.
Courtney Craven, the founder of gaming accessibility site Can I Play That?, 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."
"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.
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.November 9, 2020
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, 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.