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The real reason Assassin's Creed Valhalla is causing an uproar

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the next installment in the long-running and much-beloved Assassin's Creed franchise. The game is set in 9th century England and casts players as a viking warrior defending their clan from encroaching forces. As cool as this concept sounds, it appears as though Valhalla may have the deck stacked against it before it has even been released.

Some fans were already annoyed with the way in which Ubisoft revealed the game's title and setting. BossLogic created the official Valhalla poster in a real-time livestream for fans. While it was an impressive feat, some fans were frustrated with how long it took.

More than that, however, some fans have a problem with the fact that the game features an optional female protagonist. There are a few reasons for this, but it appears as though Ubisoft has some answers for concerned fans.

It seems as though Ubisoft anticipated more than a bit of pushback when it came to certain aspects of the new game, including the female protagonist. To that end, the company has published an official Q&A regarding the game's historical accuracy and research. One particular area that is covered in the Q&A is whether or not the presence of the female protagonist maintains the series' (admittedly tenuous) grasp on historical accuracy.

"The archaeological sources are highly debated on that specific issue. But the fact is, and I think what's really important, is that it was part of their conception of the world," said historian Thierry Noël in the Q&A. "Sagas and myths from Norse society are full of tough female characters and warriors. It was part of their idea of the world, that women and men are equally formidable in battle, and that's something that Assassin's Creed Valhalla will reflect."

In a rather cool detail, Ubisoft has also taken pains to make sure that the presence of dual protagonists doesn't break the timeline of the series. This came up in a Twitter thread involving Darby McDevitt, who was the lead writer Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and served as narrative director for Assassin's Creed Valhalla. When asked on Twitter which character would be considered canon by the overall story, McDevitt had an interesting response. 

"Both choices are canon, but we're not going to spoil how we managed that trick until you play the game," tweeted McDevitt.

The idea that the Valhalla writing team has figured out how to make the canon of the series work with two optional protagonists is enticing. This was a sticking point for some gamers with the previous game in the series, Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Some have argued that splitting the protagonist into optional paths like this runs the risk of breaking the series' rules and throwing the narrative into disarray. To be fair, though, the plot of the Assassin's Creed series has always existed right on the razor's edge between logic and absurd pseudo-science. It's never been quite the most historically accurate series.

According to a report from ScreenRant, other fans are upset by the new title's apparent focus on action-packed combat. Ubisoft is promising players massive battles and more of a focus on RPG mechanics like building your clan's settlement and maintaining peace in your area. This sounds all well and good, but it's very different from the series that fans know and love. 

The series has been somewhat moving away from its roots for a while now. In a Reddit thread discussing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, one fan wrote, "The new AC games are truly beautifully crafted games. They have great storytelling, great character development, great gameplay, a nice feeling of the open worldness, you can truly get lost in the world, they stay true to the lore, Yet they play like a totally different franchise. The climbing is now different, stealth is less a focus now, more combat focused, combat is totally reworked ... and overall just a completely different feel."

It appears as though Assassin's Creed fans have a very particular idea about what they want from the series and don't like to see it stray too far from that formula. Even the film adaptation of the series (which flopped) received flak from fans for changing too much of the source material. There's even a petition to try to get the movie erased from series canon. 

Fans are always rather hesitant to embrace change, particularly when it involves a series that has been running for a while and has a massive fanbase. Still, it may be too early to tell whether or not this particular round of outrage is warranted. It appears that Ubisoft has some surprises up its sleeve for fans who are willing to make the trip to Valhalla.