I was only a couple of hours into Assassin's Creed Odyssey when a young street urchin friend came and asked for my help. Her family it seemed lived in another town which was in the grips of a terrible disease called "The Blood Fever". I'm not sure what she thought my warrior character could do but the girl looked up to me so I set off. Perhaps I would find the source of the mysterious illness, a polluted well or some such.
I was surprised on arriving at the town to find that it had been burned to the ground and the last few survivors including my friends family were being held captive by a priest and his guards. When I talked to the priest he explained that he had to kill everyone in the village because it was the only way to stop this terrible plague from spreading to the whole island. The remaining villagers begged for their lives and pleaded that they weren't even very sick but just wanted to leave the cursed town.
This left me with a surprisingly distressing dilemma. Do I leave the priest to continue his extermination or do I fight the guards to save my friends family. This was a surprisingly nuanced dilemma not to mention an incredibly timely one to be faced with in December 2020 the year when the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the entire world.
The priest didn't come across as evil he was just an earnest man who knew that this terrible task was necessary for the greater good. Twenty first century me was inclined to agree with him. There were no miracle antibiotics or vaccines in those days and very limited understanding of how to control infection. I realised that those with mild symptoms were carriers who would surely spread the plague and cause countless more deaths if they were let live. On the other hand my in game character was an aspiring hero in classical Greece. I just couldn't see that character being willing to stand back and watch the slaughter of innocent people including her friends family.
In the end I felt I had to make the choice that seemed right for my in game persona so I saved the villagers. They promptly thanked me and left the burned out town to spread the disease far and wide. I am sure I will have cause to regret this later.
PS: I have tried many Assassin's Creed games over the years and none of them has really stuck with me. AC Odyssey however seems to largely ignore the whole Animus concept which I found quite jarring in previous games and also has better combat and better rpg elements. I am enjoying it a lot so far.