Projects per year
Assassins’ Creed Odyssey follows in the footsteps of Mass Effect, a genre-defining sci-fi series that allowed players to choose whether to explore the gameworld through the eyes of a man or woman. Unlike Mass Effect, Assassins’ Creed Odyssey takes the more radical step of seemingly reinserting female experience back into the annals of historiography by offering players the choice to play as Kassandra. This choice is established outside the game in its extensive marketing materials, and so I begin this chapter by exploring the way and the frequency that Kassandra appears in publicity screenshots. I look at advance releases that announced her character, as well as paratexts such as the game’s opening credits, which references the fact it was developed by those with ‘various beliefs, sexual orientations, and gender identities,’ thus directing an appreciation of the way the female figure might by interpreted in the game’s mashed-up receptions of antiquity.
From frame to centre, I draw on scholarship on the female figure in historical fiction – as well as my own playthrough of the game – to consider how Assassin's Creed Odyssey depicts Kassandra, looking at what video games do similarly in terms of representation, but also what they can do differently, for example by focalising history tours through Kassandra. I ask whether the game advances debates about female representation, or whether it undermines them by facilitating a highly sexualised experience regardless of character choice, with both Alexios and Kassandra able to ‘do all the Non-Playable-Characters,’ as the Honest Game Trailer wryly notes.
With roughly two thirds of players choosing Alexios, I turn finally to reviews to determine what playing Kassandra means in a globalised gaming world, juxtaposing the above with receptions of Kassandra that range from disdain to gratitude for her ‘compelling character.’
|Title of host publication||Women in Classical Video Games|
|Editors||Jane Draycott, Kate Cook|
|Number of pages||23|
|ISBN (Electronic)||978-1-3502-4195-4, 978-1-3502-4193-0|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Sept 2022|
- Centre for Material Texts
- Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition
- Video Games
- Classical Reception
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
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1/06/20 → 31/05/23
- 2 Participation in conference
Richard A Cole (Keynote/plenary speaker)5 May 2023
Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference