As the Assassin’s Creed franchise continues to grow and explore more of the world, so too has its options for players expanded… Sort of. More recent assassin’s creed games have allowed players to choose which gender they want their player character to be; such as choosing between Kassandra and Alexios in Odyssey, or choosing how they want Eivor to present in Valhalla. These characters’ stories, however, are frequently defined by their womanhood and their importance severely limited by production decisions.
For example, Kassandra has a male lover and a child in the ‘canon’ of Odyssey (Legacy of the First Blade), no matter if the player turns down male lovers and plays her as a solely sapphic character. In Valhalla, there are certain times during the game where a female Eivor will be presented as male. In earlier games, the female playable characters received even less recognition; Evie is only playable for ~30% of Syndicate, and Elise was initially designed to be a playable character in Unity, but that was scrapped by Paris Editorial.
Why do the Assassins Creed games have such a hard time allowing the player to play as females, and to then not have their gender be a limitation or a core aspect of their narrative? The company needs to have a linear narrative, thus the character has to do certain things so the desired story can exist. However, particularly when it comes to female characters, this often contradicts the player’s desired narrative choices for their character. This topic would examine the roles of RPG companies vs players in determining the female characters’ narratives and ‘playability’ in Assassin’s Creed. Should players just accept that their character’s decisions are always limited by the company’s desired storylines, or should companies be working harder to have inclusive storylines that honour the players and their choices?
I've never played Assassin's Creed myself, but I think this is an interesting topic, and one I've seen discussed in regards to different games. There are a number that have male and female character options, but the game assumes the player will be male (sometimes leading to dialogue or scenes having funny implications). I do think that a player's character decisions will always be limited to some extent by the framework of the story and gameplay mechanics around them, since you can't have everything. But that doesn't mean that companies shouldn't have more inclusive storylines, especially if you're trying to give players options that are ultimately unsatisfying. – AnnieEM5 months ago