As part of yesterday's announcement blitz by Ubisoft for their newest title, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Ubisoft Montreal Narrative Director Darby McDevitt took questions from fans of the series over Twitter.
When asked whether the male or female version of Valhalla's new protagonist Eivor will be canon, McDevitt replied, "Both choices are canon, but we're not going to spoil how we managed that trick until you play the game."
The question's origin seems to stem from how Ubisoft handled the matter of gender in the last installment of the series, Assassin's Creed Odyssey. In that game, there were two different characters, Alexios and Kassandra. Both of them existed, with one being the other's nemesis for most of the main storyline. However, because of a tie-in novel, Kassandra was canonically the Assassin during the Hellenistic Golden Age. Ubisoft appears to be trying to avoid that scenario.
Historically, Norse men and women both served as warriors, whether at home or going out on raids and expeditions. As Thierry Noel, a historian and content advisor for Ubisoft, pointed out in an interview, "Sagas and myths from Norse society are full of tough female characters and warriors. It was part of their idea of the world that women and men are equally formidable in battle, and that's something that Assassin's Creed Valhalla will reflect."
Norse myth has several examples of the gods either impersonating or, in the case of Loki, swapping genders as part of their adventures, usually as part of a plan to deceive their enemies. How Ubisoft plans to accomplish this is undoubtedly one of the selling points.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is currently scheduled to be released during the Holiday 2020 season and can be pre-ordered right now. It is slated to be available for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, and Stadia platforms.