The upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is taking players to a Viking setting to play as protagonist Eivor, and the female version of the character has now been revealed by developer Ubisoft while promoting a statue that comes with the game’s collector’s edition. The game’s recent announcement trailer exclusively featured the male version of Eivor, so players have been left wondering what his female counterpart looked like – until now.
Anyone familiar with the Assassin’s Creed series knows that a gameplay and tonal shift occurred between Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Accordingly, one would assume that the brunt of any controversy stirred up by an announcement in the vein of the latter game would be about the series’s continual pivot away from stealthy action-adventure towards the open-world action RPG genre. Because this is the gaming community, though, they’d be wrong. The actual topic with which many have taken issue is the fact that players can choose to play as a man or woman, who are going through the motions while selectively falling back on the popular “historical inaccuracy” argument despite Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s focal inclusion of Scandinavian mythological characters and creatures.
Ubisoft seemed to have anticipated the ire of this unfortunate segment of the playerbase, opting to only show the male Eivor (played by Magnuss Bruun) in the announcement trailer and on the game’s cover art. Fans wondering about the alleged female flavor of Eivor (Cecilie Stenspil) need look no further than Ubisoft’s official listing for the $200 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Collector’s Edition, which comes with an “Ultimate Edition” of the game, a lot of the usual collector’s edition fluff, and an Eivor statuette depicting the female variant of the character standing on a Viking longship base. Unsurprisingly, she looks much like the male Eivor, sporting the same undercut and switching the braided beard for a braided ponytail.
It’s a strange way to unveil one of only two variants of a main character, for sure, but it doesn’t reek too strongly of any malice on Ubisoft’s part. The company has stated elsewhere that it already had plans to show off the in-game version of female Eivor in post-announcement trailers, so the focus thus far on male Eivor is probably mostly a bid to drip-feed information and seems motivated by only a splash of cowardice. Ubisoft’s aware of its male-dominated audience and was certainly taking notes from the sidelines when a vocal minority within the gaming community frothed at the mouth over women and people of color fighting alongside white men in EA’s Battlefield V, causing an image problem that helped to kill the expensive venture less than two years after launch.
Luckily, that eye roll-inducing group of players doesn’t define the massive audience that AAA launches draw, so it’s unlikely that the internet will tear its hair out and fling vitriol through gritted, tear-strewn teeth when Ubisoft chooses to properly reveal female Eivor. Considering there were already a male and female protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with nowhere near the current levels of outrage that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has attracted, this bump in the road will pass and players will be engaging in insult-rich flyting bouts as whichever gender they choose this holiday season.
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