Ubisoft Apologizes, Will Change Assassin's Creed Valhalla Ableist Language
After an accessibility advocate pointed out problematic language regarding a burn victim, Ubisoft promised a change in a future update.
Ubisoft has apologized for an instance of ableist text found in Assassin's Creed Valhalla after an accessibility advocate pointed out the problematic language. The company has promised it will be addressed with a future patch.
Courtney Craven, founder of the accessibility site Can I Play That?, tweeted about the text describing a character named Eorforwine, who suffered from severe burns. The description says she was "horribly burned in a childhood accident" and is now "terrified someone will see her disfigured face."
Craven said that it's "absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way." She also described the embarrassment of seeing the game representing burns this way while sitting next to her girlfriend, who "is a burn victim and spent many years ashamed of her scars."
Ubisoft quickly issued a response apologizing for "unintentionally reinforcing ableism through this language." It promised to remove the language in an upcoming update, but didn't give a timeline for when that update may come.
I didn't include this in my #AssassinsCreedValhalla impressions piece but it's equally important to address. This is a character description in the game. It's absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences this way. Writers for games and otherwise need to do better. pic.twitter.com/jOLpPzD6Oe— Courtney Craven (@CyclopediaBrain) November 9, 2020
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
Earlier this year, Ubisoft apologized for an Assassin's Creed retrospective trailer that featured no women. The company also came under scrutiny after numerous allegations of assault and abuse were made against various employees. One of the employees who was fired from Ubisoft in the wake of these allegations was Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail. He had taken a leave of absence prior to his firing.
"Despite its strong connection to past games, Assassin's Creed Valhalla is more than capable of standing on its own," Jordan Ramée wrote in GameSpot's Assassin's Creed Valhalla review. "It takes a little while to build momentum, but when it hits its stride, Valhalla is a confident Assassin's Creed title that takes a few narrative risks which, as a whole, pay off. Eivor is a good hero with an identity that drives the mystery behind the main narrative, and she shines in the self-contained arc structure of Valhalla's story. The supporting cast may not shine as brightly, but it's easy to forgive that when exploring England and discovering new nuggets of worldbuilding is so rewarding."
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