Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s third DLC chapter Bloodline wraps up its Legacy of the First Blade arc with barely a nod to the controversy surrounding January’s episode, and a final conclusion that does nothing to correct the clanger Ubisoft dropped. It’s perhaps unsurprising – this expansion was planned out and worked on before the main Odyssey released, long before the eruption of fan fury at the start of this year, and leaving promised tweaks to January’s episode minor at best – and yet I continue to be amazed Ubisoft never sense-checked its script before signing it off.
Bloodline begins with a few short scenes showing the quiet life Kassandra/Alexios settled down to at the end of January’s episode. The hero has a new family now – a young baby to protect, a partner (romantic or not), and Grampa Darius to lend a hand. And it’s during these quiet moments I expected some explanation for the previous episode’s baby plot twist. Why did your hero feel the need to settle down now? Why did they feel the pressure to continue their magic bloodline, if not romantically interested? How did they feel about doing so? None of these are explored.
The story Ubisoft has tried to tell here – that, like their mother, the hero has had a baby for a pragmatic yet mystical reason – is an uncomfortable one, especially so in a game which boasts of its ability to role-play heroes of different genders and sexualities. I had hoped Ubisoft, having opened the door to all this, would venture at least a toe over the threshold to engage with the questions it brings. But no, unfortunately not. Your partner continues to be poorly written, and the closeness of your relationship whether you’re romantically involved or not seems pre-programmed as the default. (It’s worth noting how many fans role-playing straight heroes hate this relationship option too, for simply being so monumentally lacklustre compared to others in the game, like the brilliant Kyra.)