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Assassin's Creed Valhalla's default setup has you play as both male and female Eivor at various points

UPDATE: "This is integral to the story we're telling."

Assassin's Creed Valhalla narrative director Darby McDevitt has shed more light on the game's unusual decision to have you play as both male and female versions of main character Eivor different points.

Responding to me via Twitter this afternoon, McDevitt said the game's default option which included both male and female Eivor was "integral to the story we're telling" but that it "spoil the story" to say more.

"It enhances the story, IMO, and it doesn't happen frequently," McDevitt later added. "It always makes sense when the switch occurs."

Of course, you can choose to play permanently as female or male Eivor at any point in the game, and doing so won't skip any story content connected to this mystery - but McDevitt teased you would get "fewer clues" as to why the switch might be happening.

Ubisoft's default option for Assassin's Creed Valhalla will see you play as both male and female versions of main character Eivor at different points in the story.

Narrative director Darby McDevitt previously said the game supported both male and female versions as canon, with a full explanation to follow. Well, this is the explanation.

When Valhalla begins, you'll be able to choose to play entirely as female Eivor, entirely as male Eivor, or by default via a "Let the Animus decide" option, as revealed last night in a video clip from IGN. You can then repick from any of these options at any time.

Image credit: IGN.

"It means 'Let the Animus decide' is canon," McDevitt later elaborated on Twitter. "And both characters will appear at various points when you choose this option. So both are canon."

How and when the male and female versions will appear was not fully elaborated on, other than in the game's own mysterious UI description:

"The Animus will represent the stronger FEMALE or MALE memory-stream, depending on its current strength. You may choose another option at any time."

Assassin's Creed has been repeatedly criticised for its lack of playable female characters, and was rocked over the summer by a report that several past female characters had been sidelined and diminished.

In other news, Ubisoft has now shared a first look at Valhalla's mythical realms, Asgard and Jotunheim.

As Eurogamer revealed earlier this week in our in-depth Assassin's Creed Valhalla settlement preview, these areas will be accessed via a seer who lives in Eivor's village of Ravensthorpe.