Time for another stupid publisher response to a question about representation in gaming! So Ubisoft showed off Assassin’s Creed: Unity at this year’s E3, and people noticed that despite the arguably most prominent assassin during the French Revolution being a woman, all four of the French Revolution Asscreed centerfold characters are dudes. There will be cooperative multiplayer with customizable characters, but everybody will always play as a dude.
Alex Amancio, the creative director behind the game, explained that they originally intended to have female playable characters, and that the feature got dropped because of production costs.
“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets. Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work. Because of that, the common denominator was Arno [the protagonist]. It’s not like we could cut our main character, so the only logical option, the only option we had, was to cut the female avatar.”
Their priorities are kind of baffling. They make a huge virtual replica of a historical French city with exquisite attention to detail, but female playable characters? Nah, they can’t afford it. They add loads of customization options for the male characters. But female playable characters? Nah, not worth the costs. Women are an extra feature that they’ll work in if they have the time and money after everything else. If not, oh well, right?
I say that’s bullshit, and plenty of other people are saying the same. I propose that rather than including women being an extra feature, leaving women out is an omission. Ubisoft should be held accountable for this, and it’s very heartening to see tons of people call them out on that.