Ubisoft acknowledged criticism from the founder of an accessibility-focused games site about ableist language in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The publisher said that it would remove the text in a future update.
However, it’s also come under important criticism too.
Courtney Craven, founder of Can I Play That?, pointed out that a character description in the game contained harmful language. In a tweet, they shared an image of text describing a character as having severe burns on her face that she tries to hide. Craven tweeted:
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
Craven added: “GF, who is a burn victim and spent many years ashamed of her scars, was sitting beside me when I came upon this bit in the game and the look on her face…I was embarrassed that this was her impression of this industry I love so much.”
Ubisoft responded, thanking Craven for her criticism and promised to remove the description.
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
News on when that update could be expected was not shared.
While the initial description being there in the first place isn’t great, it’s good that criticism like this is heard. It’s always important to hear criticism brought to the games we play, especially from those whose experiences we might be blind to. Hopefully, instances like this make the entire medium more welcoming to all.