Last year, when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla launched, Ubisoft tried to get me to swap my trusty horse for a massive wolf. I firmly declined. Now Ubisoft is back to its old tricks, trying to once again tempt me into riding another ahistorically large version of an otherwise undomesticated animal. This time it’s a lynx. And just like before, no, Ubisoft. I won’t do it.
Today, the first big expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was released, letting players explore Ireland and build up a large trade empire. I liked the DLC a lot, even if I missed the fun side-quests from the original game. But after completing the first mission I unlocked a new mount. And what do you know, Ubisoft added a very big cat to the game.
I’m not arrogant enough to believe that someone at Ubisoft saw my post about how I will never ride the large wolf and went “Oh yeah, what about a giant cat!?” I mean, that would be very funny, but I doubt it’s true. It’s also very unlikely that this was done out of spite. However, it does seem more believable than my previous theory, though I can’t explain why…
As for why I choose to not ride the big cat or wolf, I’ll let past Zack explain:
“This might seem like a weird line in the sand, but hear me out. The thing is, even as the franchise has added more mystical and fantastical bits and bobs, I’ve always been able to figure out a way to make it work in my head. Sure, in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey you can fight a minotaur. But maybe that was just a story that was told so much it became a memory. Remember, the way these games work is through the Animus, itself a bizarre piece of science that is more magical than logical. The Animus uses DNA from past people to present users with their DNA memories. (It doesn’t really make sense.) Memories aren’t perfect. In fact, in this latest game, you can choose between a male or female Eivor because the Animus doesn’t actually know the historical Eivor’s sex. So a myth someone heard their whole lives, something that might have appeared in their dreams even, could contaminate their DNA memory.
But a big wolf that someone rode for years, using it to help fight wars and save people, something thousands of other people saw, seems too much of a stretch. The Animus might not be perfect, but it’s not that bad at getting the facts right.”
Well put, past me. And just like before, I feel this unnaturally large animal crosses some sort of line I can’t condone. I actually gave the cat a chance. I did. I summoned the feline and rode it around for a few minutes. I hated it. Even if the new DLC gets a bit more mystical, it still feels mostly grounded, relying on hallucinogenic plants and the like to justify its stranger segments. Not the cat, though. The cat actually exists.
I’ll admit that I’m being a bit more of an unreasonable asshole this time though, considering that at this point my character is running around Ireland wielding Thor’s hammer as their main weapon. But within the lore of the game it’s a piece of Issu technology that was once wielded by an ancient civilization. That’s not as wild as a giant cat. I can buy ancient super aliens. But giant cats and wolves? No way. I’ll stick with my trusty horse and continue to shake my head at folks who share screenshots from atop their unusually huge steed.