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News + Ubisoft: Assasin's Creed Valhalla accused of skill


Supplementary Note: Within this article I have decided to use the schwa (or 'scevà'), the neutral vowel sound transcribed with the symbol IPA / ə /, whenever I refer to Courtney Craven because, on her personal Twitter profile, she indicates as pronouns from use "They / Them" about his persona. Not having such an option in another language, the use of schwa seemed to me a good compromise.

In a tweet, the fan Courtney Craven accusation Ubisoft that you have entered in Assassin's Creed Valhalla a description that uses abusive terms, and the developer immediately responds by apologizing and assuring that the description will be changed. Put it this way, everything seems splendid: a development company makes a mistake, a fan politely points it out and immediately receives apologies and guarantees for improvement. The problem is that Ubisoft made no mistakes. Or, at least, did not commit the error that this story has begun to impute to her: skill.



This is the description of the character entered by Ubisoft in Assassin's Creed Valhalla to which the tweet refers:

“Horribly burned in a childhood accident, Eorforwine is terrified that anyone will see her disfigured face. Unleash its fury with violence. "

Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed Valhalla

This, however, writes Courtney Craven in the tweet:

“This is a description of the character in the game. It is absolutely unacceptable to talk about facial differences in this way. Writers for games and other parts have to do better. "



Courtney Craven - Twitter

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

We are faced with one linguistic criticism. Yes, because the accent of the accusation against the writers of Assassin's Creed Valhalla seems to lie on that initial “horribly burned”, which shapes the burn scar in the reader's mind as something disgusting, frightening, obscene; something to have pity and compassion for. The whole independently by the feelings the character has about it.

Skill is something else.

Ability is any form of discrimination, prejudice or bias aimed at people due to their disability. It presupposes conceiving reality from a temporarily normal point of view (yes, because each of us, for one reason or another, sooner or later will have a form of disability), treating people with disabilities differently. Skillfulness manifests itself in a thousand ways: from the assumption that everyone has the same physical, sensorial and / or intellectual abilities, to "I do not see your disability", also passing through the attitudes that raise the person with disability to hero because "bear this life with courage".

This is skill. This is the attitude that must be recognized and fought.

It is not skillfulness to show disability and how a person lives with it. Indeed, perhaps we would definitely need characters like this more.




Incorrect video game:
Don't Be So Serious - Death Stranding Special (Spoiler!)

Reading the description of the Ubisoft character, I immediately thought of Fragile, from Death Stranding. To save an entire city, Fragile agrees to expose her body to the rain chronograph. His skin ages suddenly. Fragile is proud of her gesture, she knows she did the right thing, but what his body sees feels pain. He wishes he hadn't done it, he wishes he hadn't sacrificed his own skin because he no longer recognizes it.

And then he is sick, he regrets how he was and he would like not to have made that gesture, but that means regretting not having let millions of people die, and then disgust takes over. Fragile suffers, accept his appearance, but at the same time he repudiates him and also hides him from his own eyes, hiding it under a suit that covers every inch of himself. But Fragile is learning to live with this body and with its actions. Fragile is not fragile.

Likewise, Eorforwine has suffered violence and bears the marks of it. He would like to hide this scar, and probably would like to forget or undo what has been done to her, but it can't. Eorforwine cannot hide it and is unable and / or does not want to accept it. She doesn't want others to see her, she doesn't want others to see the sign of a trauma she has experienced, and maybe even judge her for it. That is why he is angry. A violence that leaves a mark both physically and mentally, and that generates more violence.



How does the gaming industry relate to disability?


To learn more:
Video games and disability: it's not just an accessibility problem

By definition, disability is a biopsychosocial factor that emerges when the person's physical, sensory, intellectual or cognitive functions meet with the environment and with society. If the company is built in such a way as to being able to accommodate the different characteristics of each onethus being inclusive, then the disability will not be disadvantageous for the individual.

Disability is therefore something that emerges when the environment and society have a lack. And the videogame environment has definitely a lack.

From the point of view of the characters I struggle to remember with disabilities. The first that comes to mind is Senua, from Hellblade. Senua's cognitive disability is integrated into every aspect of the gameplay, forcing the player to fully immerse themselves in the woman's psychosis. A videogame experiment with many good intentions but decidedly unsuccessful is The Quiet Man, in which the protagonist's deafness has been so poorly integrated into the gameplay that it is only a deficit disconnected from reality.


To learn more:
Video games for everyone, disability in Microsoft's time

From the point of view ofaccessibility to video games to people with disabilities, on the other hand, there would be a lot to say. The gaming industry seems to struggle to make those improvements that could eliminate this disability, thus becoming more inclusive.

Of course, over the years many development houses have created video games made especially for people with disabilities, but it would be nice if these weren't games in their own right.

Settings that allow you to play God of war with one hand, or with just eye movement; a sound corpus that allows you to perfectly perceive every environmental element of The last of us, without the need to see the infected approaching. They would be different experiences, but experiences nonetheless! And then, each of us already experiences a video game in our own way. A story lived by a thousand people becomes a thousand different stories.

It would take little. It would be enough not to ignore the others, and to remove that veil that we put on realities that do not belong to us, or that we simply do not know and want to ignore.

All utopian ideas you will say. Maybe, but actually not too much I think.

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