Medieval fighting game For Honor is no-holds-barred gore and grime. So yesterday when the game replaced one of its racier emotes with a more tempered one, fans were a little peeved.
For Honor’s Valkyrie hero is a beefy lady who fights with a spear and shield. Last month, she received a new execution, an emote for finishing enemies off in style, called “No Touching.” The Valkyrie pulls her spear from the enemy’s belly, and as that enemy collapses onto her, their hands land on her breasts. The enemy furiously shakes their head and puts their hands up in an apparent bid not to be killed. The Valkyrie knees them in the groin and decks them in the face:
Lots of Valkyrie players loved “No Touching,” a sassy depiction of a brutal lady who took no shit. Fuck with me and you die, is what it seemed to say.
Then, hours later, the execution disappeared. Fans were confused, with some speculating that it was due to bugs. When the execution returned yesterday, Ubisoft indeed called it a “bug fix.” But it was different. Instead of touching the Valkyrie’s breasts, the enemy’s hands are blocked by her shield. He still looks apologetic as she knees him in the nads and clocks him.
“There’s literally no reason to spend 7k steel on this crap anymore,” read one comment. Another read, “You can hang her in the air and break her fucking neck like a twig as Lawbringer. You can kick her to the ground and rip her arm out of her socket as Conqueror. You can crush her head like a watermelon as Shugoki. But oh no, having someone accidentally grab her boobs and then get executed for it is too brutal for people playing our M rated game.”
[Update—12:35 p.m.]: Reached for comment, Ubisoft said that the original execution “included an inappropriate gesture between the Valkyrie and her opponent. We felt it was insensitive content and thus changed the execution.” The execution was, “incorrectly made available in-game and removed within an hour of release,” a spokesperson said, adding that the For Honor team now has additional stop gaps to “ensure insensitive content is not incorporated into For Honor.”
For Honor’s women appear deadly and impassive, armored well enough to believably protect them from opponents’ blows. There’s basically no suggestive content in the game, so the execution felt inconsistent in light of the game’s totally asexual depiction of women. The trope of falling onto a woman’s breasts is very tired; it looks like the execution’s purpose is for the Valkyrie to demonstrate she will kill you if you mess with her. The new one certainly gets that across, too.