Ubisoft says they are sorry for the discriminatory description in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla that describes a character who was badly burned as a child to have a “disfigured face”. Courtney Craven, founder of gaming accessibility site Can I Play That? discovered the ableist text in the game.
Courtney said on Twitter that she did not include the original issue in her review of the game. Instead, she decided to post it on Twitter to address the problem publically. She claims the game has no right to talk about facial differences this way.
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
The issue seems to stem from Courtney’s girlfriend who apparently is a burn victim. Courtney claims she “was embarrassed” for the gaming industry when her girlfriend saw the text.
Ubisoft reached out to Courtney and apologized for the issue. In addition, the developer claims it will remove the wording in a future update for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. However, Courtney’s public statement was met with some rather harsh backlash. Many users with disabilities both mental and physical claimed she was making a big deal about nothing. One user claims they too have facial burns with surgical scars due to an accident. They don’t see any issue with the description of the character at all.
It is quite a divided debate whether or not the ableist text in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a problem. Remember, just because it does not affect you does not mean it is okay.