Co-founder and lead writer of We Bleed Pixels. Loves fantasy, RPGs and talking about games. Hates horror, multiplayer and not talking about games.
Warning! Major story spoilers for Legacy of the First Blade ahead! You’ve been warned!
I’m writing this roughly an hour after finishing the Legacy of the First Blade story arc for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. A lot happened in the second and third DLC, respectively Shadow Heritage and Bloodline. Things that I want to take a moment for to talk about. Now the disclaimer at the top of this feature should already be enough, but just to be sure:
Spoilers for Shadow Heritage and Bloodline ahead! If you don’t want any spoilers, play them first and come back.
The story so far
Note: I will mention Kassandra whenever referring to the player character, since I’m playing as her myself
A lot of things happen in Legacy of the First Blade, and we see a side of Kassandra you might not expect after killing Spartans, Athenians and Cultists for 100+ hours. Quick summary for those unaware of the story: in Legacy of the First Blade Kassandra meets Darius and Natakas. They’re father and son, come from Persia, and are being hunted by the so-called Order of the Ancients. After finding out this Order of the Ancients is after herself as well, Kassandra agrees to help them destroy the Order.
The second DLC, Shadow Heritage, was met by a huge backlash on social media when it launched January 15th. Many players, including myself at first, were angry about the forced heterosexual relationship which resulted in a baby, having roleplayed their character as gay throughout the main game. Ubisoft eventually promised to make changes to the DLC, to “more accurately reflect the nature of the relationship”.
Ubisoft changed the dialogue, and the cutscenes depending on your choices. At the end of Shadow Heritage, Darius and Natakas are set to leave the Greek world behind by ship. When saying goodbye, Kassandra can either say ‘Stay’ or ‘Farewell’. A heart-icon next to the Stay-option is meant to more accurately reflect Kassandra’s desire to have a romantic relationship with Natakas. No matter which option you pick though, they stay anyway, and Kassandra has a baby with Natakas; a son named Elpidios. What’s more, they settle down for a quiet life. As Kassandra holds her son during a cutscene, the second dialogue change appears; she can tell Natakas she chose this life either because she loves him, or to secure her bloodline.
After finishing Shadow Heritage, I couldn’t help but feel Ubisoft could’ve done a better job. Both with the changes they made, and with the build-up towards the inevitable relationship. The build-up to the relationship is flawed and rushed, for starters. There’s several moments in Shadow Heritage to indicate a blooming romance between Kassandra and Natakas, but none of it feels really genuine. Now I should add that I roleplayed Kassandra as a lesbian in the main game myself, but I started Legacy of the First Blade planning to romance Natakas anyway. I already knew the relationship and baby would be happening, as I read spoilers in reports about the outrage following the DLC’s release. After spending over 100 hours with Kassandra already, I wanted her to have a happy ending from a romantic point of view. If that couldn’t happen with another woman, I figured I’d have to settle for the next best thing.
And believe me, I tried. I really wanted my Kassandra to have a child with someone she loved. But the build-up is just too fast and poorly executed. There’s plenty of moments in cutscenes where Ubisoft displays the growing connection and affection between the two, but it didn’t feel genuine or real to me. Again, I’m probably biased because my Kassandra is a lesbian, but I still feel I could’ve accepted a heterosexual relationship had the build-up been good.
But it wasn’t. After going with the dialogue options reflecting a romance, I immediately reloaded the save I made before saying goodbye to Darius and Natakas. The second time around, I went with the non-romantic options, which turned out to be less satisfactory than I’d hoped. When picking ‘I chose this life to secure the bloodline’, I expected Kassandra to say just that. Something along the lines of telling Natakas she considers him a good friend, but doesn’t love him (friendzone anyone?). Instead, she comments about how they are a family, and that she’ll always protect them. Which may be true, but it still didn’t feel like an accurate representation of my Kassandra.
Bloodline‘s plot twist
What happens in Bloodline is even more interesting though, and I genuinely wonder if Ubisoft had planned this from the start. If so, they must’ve banged their heads against the wall following the Shadow Heritage outrage. Though if it’s the case, that means the Shadow Heritage ending is even worse.
Because pretty much the first thing happening in Bloodline, is the Order attacking the peaceful village where Kassandra has settled down. They kidnap Elpidios, and kill Natakas. Yes, that’s right. Ubisoft immediately ends the forced heterosexual relationship that sparked so much outrage.
If Ubisoft planned this from the start, then the distinction between love and duty should’ve been even more clear in the previous DLC. If not, then I guess the angry mob can be happy it’s no longer a thing? Even though throughout Bloodline, Kassandra still talks about Natakas as if she really loved him, rather than as a good friend she lost. Which might make complete sense since he’s the pater of her child, but again, it just doesn’t fit the image of Kassandra that I and many others have created over 100+ hours of playtime. It also doesn’t fit the I-don’t-love-you-but-need-to-secure-the-bloodline narrative Ubisoft tried to add with the changes. Unsuccessfully, in my opinion.
In the end, I feel Ubisoft could have -and perhaps should have- done a better job with the Legacy of the First Blade narrative. Especially with the whole baby thing. In hindsight, it makes complete sense that Kassandra needed to have a child. This is Assassin’s Creed after all. We’ve been dealing with long lines of ancestors since day one. Kassandra had to continue her bloodline, pass on her DNA, for Layla to access her memories centuries later.
But even with the changes, I still think the dialogue insufficiently reflects the nature of the relationship. My Kassandra did not love Natakas, at least not as a lover. As a best friend at best, with whom she has a child in order to continue her bloodline. But that narrative is insufficiently represented, in both the end of Shadow Heritage and in the Bloodline DLC.