"Assassin's Creed: Valhalla" is bringing us lesbian Vikings
Every time a game announces same-sex romance options, my heart grows wings. Whenever a game has LGBTQ rep, I take notice. Sometimes that rep isn’t as good as I want it to be - but I still appreciate that game companies are starting to care about a market that isn’t straight men.
After Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s same-sex romance options, I was fairly certain the next entry in the series would have them too. My suspicions have been joyously confirmed.
Despite my excitement, I have some reservations about the game. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the game before this one, started out fantastically, and then disappointed me with the DLC. You could play the entire game before the DLC as a lesbian or gay man, only to have the game disregard your choices in the DLC, to have your character sleep with someone of the opposite sex and have a child with them. It hurt to have the game disregard my choices. It hurt to have it come so close to executing same-sex relationships PERFECTLY and then fall short. For their part, Ubisoft has apologized for “miss(ing) the mark”. I hope this means they’ll take more care with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey allowed you to play the game (prior to the DLC) as gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, and asexual. You could choose to avoid all romance entirely, romance men and women, or only romance the same gender. Having all these options is pretty rare in gaming, and I really appreciated what Ubisoft tried to do. Maybe they’ll perfect the formula in Valhalla.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you play as either the male or female protagonist, both named Eivor, and both choices appear to be canon. Set in the 9th century, Eivor is a “"fierce Viking raider raised on tales of battle and glory.” Your romances will have storylines and impact gameplay. Romances will also allow you to make alliances with different Viking clans.
I’m always rooting for games to become more inclusive., so I would love to see this game get it right. Romance options were popularized by the Bioware game Mass Effect, but are not always done well. Most recently, I was disappointed by Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Three Houses’ limited same sex-romance options (don’t take that to mean I didn’t love romancing Edelgarde). Most of my favorite LGBT options in games are found in games that are all about romance, like many visual novels. Games that focus more on romance often get it right. The focus of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not romance but being a 9th-century badass. Still, I have faith in Ubisoft to learn from their past mistakes.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia, and the yet to be released PS5 and Xbox Series X. It will be released during the 2020 holiday season.