Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will let you change the gender of protagonist Eivor at any time.
“You can decide to play male or female, [but] you are allowed to change, at any time, your skill tree or the gender of your character—you can swap at any time.” game director Eric Baptizat says in an interview with GamesRadar. “It was important to make this option available for the player. It’s something that the player can decide for the way they want to play, because it has some impact on the narrative—but it’s not two different stories. It’s the same story of the character—whatever options your character decides.”
That last part of the quote is worth expanding upon. You may recall that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also featured playable male and female protagonists. However, those two protagonists were different characters. In fact, they were siblings. Considering that each offered slightly different narrative experiences, swapping between the two on the fly would have been difficult to justify within the story structure of the game.
The situation in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a little different. Regardless of whether you choose the male or female protagonist at the start of the game, you’re still playing as Eivor. As such, swapping genders mid-game will not affect the story progress you’ve made thus far. It also means that there’s in-game logic to retaining all of the abilities you’ve earned thus far.
Baptizat also notes that the team wants players to be able to “experience all the possibilities of the game” with the help of this swap function and that they generally wanted to “let you have the freedom to experiment.”
While we imagine that there will be some fans who will be disappointed to learn that Valhalla will not feature somewhat unique narratives for each of the game’s protagonists, this new method does feel like the best overall option. Not only will this potentially allow the Valhalla team to construct a tighter plot now that they only need to tell one story for both versions of the protagonist, but it allows for the kind of character choice freedom that players have been asking for ever since Assassin’s Creed Unity caused a stir after that game’s technical director suggested that creating a female protagonist as well as a male protagonist would require too much work.