Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Narrative Director Darby McDevitt recently responded to claims that the protagonist in the upcoming game, Eivor, was originally intended to be exclusively female.
The claims that Eivor, which is a strictly female name in Norse cultures, was originally intended to be female came from Twitter user Memento_Gallery.
Memento_Gallery detailed that he received information from someone claiming to be one of the people who Ashraf Ismail, former Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, cheated on his wife with.
Memento_Gallery explained, “I was approached by one of Ash’s victims who showed me bits of conversations and confirmed something that isn’t quite out, but that won’t surprise anyone. Just like for Syndicate, Origins and Odyssey, it was the devs wish that Valhalla featured a female protagonist. Exclusively.”
He then continued, “Execs blocked them from doing that and forced the team to include a male version of Eivor, because a woman alone wouldn’t have sold, insisting that the marketing campaign should have focused on male Eivor. Which it did, we’ve seen Female Eivor only long after ACV’s reveal.”
Memento_Gallery then claimed he would not out his source, “I will not out my source unless they decide to come out and show their receipts, but I trust them and believe what they told me and showed me. The team really wanted she-Eivor to be the star of this game but they were straight up told no. No. To. Women.”
He concluded his thread stating, “When you want to voice your frustration over gender choices and marketing hiding the female option until the male oriented campaign got the sexists on board, remember who to direct that anger at. Not the devs. Not their social media. You’ve got to aim a lot higher than that.”
While he originally stated he would not detail “receipts” from his source, he would eventually share them indicating he received permission.
He would then share two other screen shots from his source writing, “I’m posting these with the permission of the author.”
I’m posting these with the permission of the author pic.twitter.com/fnqYz6TbPp
— “Seiiki” on repeat 🔂 (@Memento_Gallery) August 4, 2020
You can see those screen shots below.
They added in the second screen shot, “Them being literally insistent on the protagonists to be an ‘alpha male’ lmfao.”
McDevitt would respond to the claims on the Assassin’s Creed subreddit.
He wrote, “I will say this once: this is not wholly accurate.”
“And I will repeat what I have always said. ACVs story was conceived from the beginning with both female and male in mind. When you play the game you will understand that there is no way the male could have been added at the last minute, or whatever version of this story you have heard,” he then added,
McDevitt concluded, “Obviously there is more nuance to all this, but to go deeper would spoil lots of the mysteries at the heart of the game. But understand this, that we started ACV knowing full well that Ubi wanted to give players the ability to select characters, and we worked hard to make sure that it honored our lore.”
Back in July, McDevitt had previously explained how and why you can change Eivor’s gender in the game.
He explained, “You can go into the Animus layer of our game. There’s an option to change the memory stream. To explain why would spoil a long-running secret, but I will say that the whole reason for why you can switch [Eivor’s gender] back and forth fully embraces the often overlooked science fiction nature of our series.”
McDevitt elaborated, “We’ve got this thing that’s called genetic memory, and we’ve got this Animus. What are all the ways you can play with that? And how could we leverage that to make a character that you could choose male or female? We found a way that we think is pretty satisfying.”
McDevitt would later detail that they were also allowing the the player character, Layla, who is exploring the memories of Eivor through the Animus, to actually enter as herself into the past.
He stated, “The story is that there are anomalies inside the simulation. And when you find them as Eivor, Layla and her handlers will pause the simulation, and set up this big thing for her to deal with. It’s a big puzzle, lots of intense puzzle solving and parkour so that you can acquire a bit of interesting data and then close this rift.”
He then elaborated, “And so that the experience is much more comfortable. You’re not just going into a loading menu, going into a small office somewhere in the present day. You still get to be Layla, but you get to be Layla in the past. And so that means that all these interesting skills that she may have learned – the parkour, the epic vistas, and the puzzle solving – you get to float right into that without any kind of hitch.”
Even further back in April, McDevitt detailed on Twitter that both the male and female version of Eivor were canon.
What do you make of McDevitt’s response? Do you believe him? What do you think the story explanation could be for having both male and female Eivors?