Last year, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the center of a huge controversy regarding the loot box business model in games. Some were so furious about the game and its “pay to win” loot boxes that publisher EA was forced to yank them from the game just days before its release. EA’s response to the backlash and its attempt to defend the game’s design also led to the most downvoted Reddit comment in history.
The debate was so big and got so many people talking that it has even managed to find its way into one of this year’s biggest releases. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players have discovered a new Easter egg that appears to mock EA over the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy. In order to take on the Minotaur, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey players must collect three tokens from three different token masters. The shade comes during a conversation with the master of the trial of accuracy (at about six minutes into the video below).
After the master of the trial of accuracy asks players to locate his missing sons, the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey protagonist asks, “Aren’t you supposed to ask if I’ll buy the Trial Token from you?” in reference to the fact that other trial masters allow players to just pay Drachmae for the token. To this, the trial master says, “You want to pay to win? That’s uhh…Aren’t you a warrior? Where’s your honor? Where’s your sense of pride and accomplishment?”
Given that the trailer master says “pay to win,” it would be easy to write this one off as a reference to the overall pay to win scandal. The pay to win/loot box debate has even led to new legislation and threats of criminal prosecution in some countries, so it would be a topical reference, even in a game set in Ancient Greece. But it is the mention of “pride and accomplishment” that really set people’s shade sensors off. “Pride and accomplishment” is a direct quote from that now-infamous Reddit post, indicating that this really is Ubisoft throwing a jab at EA’s business practices.
Though, it’s worth noting that Ubisoft itself has come under fire for its loot boxes after it added cosmetic-only loot crates to Ghost Recon: Wildlands, despite saying that it wouldn’t do so. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also includes gameplay-affecting microtransactions, in particular, the permanent XP boost that allows people to level up a lot quicker. So while some say that the shade is well-deserved, others argue that publishers in glass houses should not cast stones.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.