UPDATE: After the furore the last few days about the forced romance option for the new Assassin's Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab) DLC, Ubisoft has issued an official statement via the official Ubisoft forums courtesy of the game's Creative Director Jonathan Dumont:
"Reading through player responses of our new DLC for Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage, we want to extend an apology to players disappointed by the relationship your character partakes in. The intention of this story was to explain how your character's bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins, but looking through your responses it is clear that we missed the mark."
"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. As you continue the adventure in next episode Bloodline, please know that you will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to."
"We have read your responses online and taken them to heart. This has been a learning experience for us. Understanding how attached you feel to your Kassandra and your Alexios is humbling and knowing we let you down is not something we take lightly. We’ll work to do better and make sure the element of player choice in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey carries through our DLC content so you can stay true to the character you have embodied throughout."
Original story: In case you've missed it, Ubisoft has been steadily releasing brand new DLC content for Assassin's Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab), under the umbrella title Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Legacy of the First Blade. When we played through episode 1 of this new DLC, it was clear it was a massive gift for anyone who's down with the Assassin's Creed lore (opens in new tab), as it explores the life of the first ever assassin - and the OG hidden blade - Darius. However, it turns out that the second episode, which just dropped this week, has given our Ancient Greek heroes quite the different gift. One that's not sitting well with fans at all.
Warning spoilers for the Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Legacy of the First Blade DLC follows.
It turns out that our proto-assassin Darius actually has a child, whose gender is pre-determined by your choice of player character. If you play as Alexios, Darius' spawn is a daughter called Neema, while if you're Kassandra, Neema is actually a son called Natakas. Now, this might all seem a bit odd, and that's because it is. And this is where the controversy comes in. It conspires that in the second episode of the Legacy of the Blade DLC, Shadow Heritage, Alexios / Kassandra form a romantic relationship with Darius' child and end up having a child.
And the bigger problem is that although it's billed as another choice in your hero's story, whatever you choose, the child is still the ultimate outcome. At the end of the second episode, you can choose either to romance Darius' child, settle down and pop out a baby between you, OR walk away. However, if you choose the latter option, they still stay, you fall in love and you end up having the baby regardless of your ultimate choice. Skip through a few cutscenes, watch the family bond, and then eventually have the child in question.
Take a look:
But of course, up until this point, the entirety of Assassin's Creed Odyssey has been about choice. For however long you've been playing, you've been crafting your character - be it Kassandra or Alexios - and defining what their ultimate character is like. For some, their Odyssey hero has been gay, for others asexual, or for someone like me, I have a lover in every port, more on my ship and yet more still littering the villages of Ancient Greece. Just check out my conquests in my Assassin's Creed Odyssey romance (opens in new tab) guide. Understandably, that made a lot of players very frustrated with the DLC's forced coupling.
"I'm so annoyed that I'm forced into liking Natakas when I've spent my entire gameplay making Kassandra the lesbian icon she is supposed to be," wrote REddit user hats16 (opens in new tab).
"My Kassandra is forced to sleep with and bear the baby of a man that I as the player don't want to," adds Reddit user Cabarius (opens in new tab).
And these are just two quotes pulled from various Reddit threads (opens in new tab) about the DLC plotline issues.
Let's just remember that the game's Creative Director Jonathan Dumot outlined the decisions around putting romantic choice in the game in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), where he said that "Since the story is choice-driven, we never force players in romantic situations they might not be comfortable with".
"Players decide if they want to engage with characters romantically. I think this allows everybody to build the relationships they want, which I feel respects everybody's roleplay style and desires."
"Players decide if they want to engage with cahracters romantically. I think this allows everybody to build the relationships they want, which I feel respects everybody's roleplay style and desires."
Now though, Ubisoft is saying that it is "surprised" by the response, and that all will be resolved in the third episode of the DLC:
"We strive to give players choice whenever possible in Odyssey and apologise to those surprised by the events in this episode," said the statement provided to Kotaku (opens in new tab).
What these events will be, of course, will be made clear soon enough, and hopefully they're more your choice than having a kid. It's entitled Bloodlines, so it may well make clear exactly what your offspring means for the rest of the series, and hopefully it might tie them in with everything else that was offered by all three Assassin's Creed Odyssey endings (opens in new tab).