We’ve watched the Assassin’s Creed Unity saga unfold after the unveiling of the game at E3.
To recap, Ubisoft technical director James Therien told Videogamer at E3 that the absence of playable female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity is an unfortunate side-effect of the, “reality of game development.”
Therien claimed that playable female models in Unity would have “doubled the work.” This was met with staunch opposition, probably due to the push for fem characters in games, in the recent years. Surprisingly though, game developers came out in numbers to lash out Ubisoft’s statements.
GamesIndustry has posted a bunch of developers’ comments which you can read here, calling out Ubisoft’s comments about creating female characters.
GamesIndustry report that Ansh Patel of Narcissist Reality got in touch to debunk Ubisoft’s excuses, claiming that marketing could be the real reason.
“Animation and modelling a playable character doesn’t require as much commitment and costs as Ubisoft says,” Patel explained.
“In fact, a trend among many indie developers looking to cut on time and costs is to use the same rig (skeleton) for the model to create a common set of animations for both the male and female characters.”
“Just wanted to call out Ubisoft because their ridiculous excuse doesn’t make any sense even from the developer perspective. It clearly seems driven by a marketing decision, which is extremely unfortunate.”
Ubisoft then issued the following statement to Kotaku, but it is doesn’t actually address the previous statements that caused the whole saga.
“We recognise the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative. Assassin’s Creed is developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs and we hope this attention to diversity is reflected in the settings of our games and our characters.
“Assassin’s Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op Shared Experiences, you the gamer will always be playing as Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique. With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we’ve featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in Assassin’s Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity,” a spokesperson said.
Alex Amancio, director of Assassin’s Creed Unity has now also responded to Eurogamer, and more directly to the issue that caused all the commotion.
“I understand the issue, I understand the cause, and it is a noble one, but I don’t think it’s relevant in the case of Unity,” he said.
“In Unity you play this character called Arno, and when you’re playing co-op you’re also playing Arno – everybody is. It’s like Aiden Pierce in Watch Dogs.
“On the brand we’ve had multiple diverse characters. Altair is Arabic, Connor is Native, we’ve had a female lead. This game is set in the French Revolution, so you’re playing a Frenchman.”
If you haven’t noticed, in the recent years games have included more and more female protagonists. The videogame world was considered a bit of a boys club, and many developers sought out to change that.
I do hope Zombiegamer readers are in the know, and not under the notion that only boys play games and our protagonists should be men. Because that is a stupid ideology, to be blunt.
So developers and publishers, do what you need to, we want girls and boys in our games, yes!