Yes All Men: Assassin’s Creed Bro-op Controversy Escalates

By Alec Meer on June 12th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

I’m afraid this is going to be a long one, because the debate around Assassin’s Creed Unity not inculding any female avatar options in its co-op mode didn’t half snowball overnight. Ubisoft are now backtracking on their initial defence that this was a workload issue, and instead claim it’s a deliberate narrative-based decision – however, this only opens up more questions.

In the meantime, a former Assassin’s Creed animation lead has called foul on the original claims that animating a female character results in an unbearable workload increase, while elsewhere at E3, a Far Cry 4 dev claimed that excessive animation needs are why there are no playable women in that game. Who to believe, eh?

I’d like to make it clear before we head back into the lion’s den that I most certainly am not accusing anyone at Ubisoft of misogyny or any other kind of prejudice – indeed, let’s not forget that the Assassin’s Creed Liberation handheld spin-off does have a woman protagonist – but simply pointing out that not including any women as optional player-characters in a multiplayer mode is not truly because it’s ‘too much work’, but because someone, somewhere specifically decided they didn’t want a portion of the game’s resources spent in that way.

This debate, as I see it at least, is about whether the publicly given development reasons for that hold water or not, because similar claims have been made about other games from other companies in the past (Brink and GTA V, for example), and it’s highly likely to come up again – as such, this isn’t really about Assassin’s Creed or Ubisoft. We can conjecture about whether the given reasons in this and other instances are the real reasons or not, but we can’t know until someone fully breaks cover on the matter.

I’m not convinced fully breaking cover is what’s going on in Ubisoft’s rather robotic official statement on the Unity controversy, which essentially refutes the earlier claim that it was down to workload limitations. The new comment centres on the fact that Unity stars one particular character, male French Assassin Arno, and claim that, even in four-player co-op mode, everyone is playing as Arno. He’ll have various outfitting and skill options, but ultimately it’s attack of the clones. Even aside from anything else, I’d say that adds a distracting element of cognitive dissonance to rooftop co-op adventures. I appreciate there’s more work involved, but it’d simply make more sense to have every player be a different character – and in that instance, not including options beyond white guy is indefensible.

Here’s the official statement in not-quite-getting-it full:

“We recognize the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative,” Ubisoft said in a statement issued to GameSpot. “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.”

Meanwhile, compare and contrast these statements from Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio.

To Polygon yesterday:

“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. 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.”

To Eurogamer after the storm hit:

“I understand the issue, but it’s not relevant in Assassin’s Creed Unity… There was this thing that started with animations – but they have nothing to do with it. They’re one drop in the ocean, they’re one part of it. If we’re creating all these different suits that can interchange, that’s a lot. It’s not only that, but it’s nothing to do with production. Again, we’re telling the story of Arno – it’s that character’s story. The reason we’re just changing the face and keeping the bodies is we want people to show off the gear that they pick up in the game through exploration.”

So the face can change, but it doesn’t count as being a different character? Is Arno secretly the latest guise for Jaqen H’ghar? Everyone absolutely has to be Arno in co-op for important plot reasons, even though they won’t necessarily look like Arno? And the suspension of disbelief required for the character to have a different face can’t extend to them appearing to be a different gender? It still doesn’t wash, and it’s never going to, no matter how many statements or backtracks arise.

Historical setting or no, Assassin’s Creed games remain fantastical science-fiction, concerning psychic holodecks, ancestor races, murderous gods and centuries-long cosmic conspiracies. The rules are that there are no rules. Just one line of technomagical dialogue would excuse anyone being anyone, or looking like anything. The only, only unbreakable defence for not including a woman or any other kind of playable character option can be “we did not want to,” and from there one has every right to question why someone would not want to – which is what is happening in this case anyway.

Amancio also referred to his earlier comments about this being a production issue as “a slip-up”, which may or may not mean “everyone’s been shouting at each other behind the scenes about how to put this fire out and now this is our new party line, please please leave me alone now.”

I am fairly confident that, had the original party line been “this is a game about Arno, pure and simple” this controversy wouldn’t have happened, or at least on nothing like this level. The problem is that they initially went with something that came across as “women are too much work”, which inevitably leads to questioning the budgetary priorities for a game being developed by ten different studios, and to investigate the veracity of such a claim.

Case in point, former Ubisoft lead animator (including on Assassin’s Creed III) Jonathan Cooper chiming in to observe thatIn my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two’s work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations.” Even more damning if rather less specific isMan, if I had a dollar for every time someone at Ubisoft tried to bullshit me on animation tech“. Cooper, now at Naughty Dog, has said a few more fascinating obesrvations on the matter, and the general issue of male vs female animation, over here. I do wonder, with my cute little tinfoil hat on, if that’s got something to do with the abrupt change of tune coming out of Ubisoft overnight.

Other industry voices offered commentary on the realities on adding playable women to games in this GamesIndustry round-up. There are many different angles on the issue there, but the general sentiment seems to be that yes, inevitably it’s more work, but it’s not too much work, and that commercial decisions rather than developmental ones often lie behind the decision to make a game guysclusive.

Just before the second round of AssCreedity statements arrived, Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson perhaps unknowingly stoked the fire by telling Polygon that the open-world shooter came this close to having a playable female co-op character, but she was cut because hey, guess what, production workload issues.

Hutchinson does at least sound pretty damned disappointed that his game wound up being another chapathon, claiming that:

“It’s really depressing because we almost… we were inches away from having you be able to select a girl or a guy as your co-op buddy when you invite someone in…. We had very strong voices on the team pushing for that and I really wanted to do it, we just couldn’t squeeze it in in time. But on the other hand we managed to get more of the other story characters to be women.We did our best. It’s frustrating for us as it is for everybody else, so it’s not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done.”

The fact that this is the case for a game that’s still around four months from release says much about how slowly the big budget game ship turns these days. I would guess that Far Cry 4 is essentially a finished game now, and they’ll spend the months between now and October focused primarily on console certification and QA – for a project that size, introducing an additional player character probably is impossible, at least in time for release. It’s very sad that it has to be that way, and we can only hope that all this stuff has caused enough sweaty corporate brows that some of these games will at least see post-release female avatars of some form.

Hutchinson also told Polygon that “I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away. As we get better technology and we plan for it in advance and we don’t have a history on one rig and all this sort of stuff”, while Anna Megill, game writer at Ubisoft Quebec told GamesIndustry that “The entire narrative team on my Ubi project wants more female characters. I’d love to see more female characters in all games.”

I hope they get their way. Again, as well as the social issue underpinning all of this, it would simply be lovely to see more variety from big franchise games, in so many of which the lead character tends to be a variation upon the same familiar theme. I’d truly like to play as different people more often. But however unconvincing some of the excuses for that not happening in this instance may be, it is extremely heartening to know that internal voices as well as external ones (both reasoned and excessively vituperative) are pushing for change. Perhaps next year’s round of big sequels really will look a little different.

Inevitably this particular controversy will largely die down in a day or two, presuming no-one else says anything unwise, but it’s extremely important for those of us who play and discuss games to make it clear that enough of us really do want that choice to be there. This is not really about Assassin’s Creed or Ubisoft, but about what some of us want more games to be.

We must make this known, even though there are many, extremely aggressive voices who loudly and angrily claim that they do not want it, that expanding character options dilutes the artistic vision of massive steamroller action franchises designed to hoover up as much cash as possible, or that even having the option to play as a women oppresses their right to be a big butch gunman if they want to. Those voices are scared that their games are being taken away from them. They are not. They are simply, I hope, going to be more welcoming to more people, and they will do this by offering choice. The games and the game-players will be better for it.

Incidentally, Kudos to all the sites – particularly Videogamer, Polygon and Eurogamer – who’ve been pursuing show-floor comment on this issue, keeping this a talking point to the extent that perhaps some change really is plausible down the road. I am acutely aware that all I’m doing is commenting on the fruits of their labour. I’m not at E3 myself, but I suspect I’d have been camped out by the Ubisoft stage with a microphone if I were. That said, I do have enormous sympathy for the developers who find themselves and their games the target of extreme venom despite, in many cases, their wanting to move things forward as much as anyone else does. Fingers crossed for the future.

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431 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    *sigh*

    Indeed it’s a pity that Ubisoft chose not to make one of the 4 players a woman, but the fact that they didn’t is essentially their choice. This smacks me of making a Mountain out of a molehill.

    • Caesar says:

      Yes, it’s the companies choice no matter what the reason is. Did people NOT buy earlier Asscreeds because of this? Does other games have female leads?

      I hate it when media feeds us this kind of stories like it should matter to us. Most of the buying customers are white males or accept that this particular story involves one.

      • khomotso says:

        Yes, and because I’m a white male, playing yet another white male in an imaginative setting just seems boring. This is the character equivalent of corridor shooter level design.

        Of course it’s their choice. As it is my choice to call them out for making the dullest choice.

        • Enterprise2448 says:

          If you are a white male you should be ashamed of yourself, especially if you also happen to be heterosexual.

          • noodlecake says:

            I assume this is some kind of poor man’s attempt at irony.

            I’m a white hetero male and I don’t feel like I’m being discriminated against in any way. Most video game protagonists in video games are white hetero males, so clearly I’m NOT being discriminated against, and neither are you.

            Now shut the f*ck up.

          • Urthman says:

            It’s pretty discouraging how many people there are whose reading comprehension is so low that you post articles on these issues and their brains somehow manage to turn it into “(… blah blah blah … ) you’re a bad person.”

        • Humanji says:

          In fairness, there’s 6 main AC games. In 4 of them you play white males and 3 of those you play the same character. So it’s not like they’re being overly repetitive.

          • Shodex says:

            Arabic, Italian, Native American, Welsh, two African Americans (one a female), and now a Frenchman.
            I’m only counting two white people, unless you think Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad’s pale complexion made him white.

            EDIT: Actually, I guess Desmond is a white guy. But… hehehehehe.

          • Bluestormzion says:

            Gotta disagree with you there. Altair Ibn La’ahad was half European, half Arabic. Ezio Auditore de Firenze was mediterranean, but also a descendant of Altair, since we’re exploring genetic memory. Then we find Connor Kenway, who since we follow the same line of descent we know must be now English, Italian, and Arabic, as well as of Mohawk heritage and descent. Then we jump to Connor’s swarthy grandfather, Edward Kenway, where we lose the Mohawk genetics, as that happens in the future, but we get an open minded non-racist who has no problems raising a son who will one day become romantically entangled with a Native American woman and producing a son of blood so mixed he’s almost as big a mutt as I am (English, Italian, Polish, African, German, Irish, Scottish, and that’s just what I could trace.)

            It’s easy to fall back on “White guy” as a race, but what people love to generalize as “white” is made up of many smaller groups and cultures, all of whom have as little in common historically as African Tribesmen would have had in common with Mongol Raiders. We’re all of different bloodlines, until you go back far enough and find out we’re all just of one line.

        • Potem says:

          Assassin’s creed’s problem, and indeed the problem of most of the industry, in video games and general creative media, is bad characters, and bad stories. These people reason in terms of checklists rather than ambitious storytelling, inspiration and creativity, and all you are doing is demanding that they add more shit on the checklist. There are millions of good stories out there involving white cis males that are worth telling, but after tens of millions of dollars’ worth of development, they only seem to come up with the shit stories involving white cis males.
          But heh, the problem is the white cis male part amirite.
          This is so sad, we’ve got a shitty, bland, boring cake, and all you care about is the color of the frosting.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Not everyone cares as much about story as you do. The majority of players of the game (don’t come back and brand me with this because I don’t play Ass Creed and think it’s shit) just want to run around stabbing things, they don’t care about their character, they don’t care about story, only the stabby stabby. It’s more than pretty much any game franchise out there barring 2 or 3 exceptions, you can hardly blame them for doing the same thing again.

          • Itkovian says:

            Logged in to say, this is a good comment.

      • iainl says:

        Other AssCreeds (apart from the one that started on the Sony Handheld before getting ported over to more static devices) had a male single-player protagonist, yes.

        But bar the first one, other AssCreeds had a multiplayer component that has always included female character options. Since this co-op mode apparently replaces the now-traditional versus multiplayer, rather than supplements it, it seems rather a step back to remove the female characters, surely?

      • Neith says:

        I didn’t play ANY AC’s until Liberation. And it looks like I will be passing this one up because of “ultimately their decision”, as well.

        My guess? Liberation did ok on the Vita and not so well on PC, so they dropped it entirely.

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      RedViv says:

      They made that mountain themselves by not acknowledging that it might be a tiny misstep to not allow for a WOMAN to be an ASSASSIN during the FRENCH REVOLUTION when the MOST WELL-KNOWN AND EXPLORED ASSASSINATION of that time was carried out by A WOMAN. And only going on shovelling themselves further onto a pile of dung by flip-flopping on why this is such a problem and so hard with their millions of dollars and 900 people in ten teams all over the world.

      • shadowmarth says:

        It wasn’t a misstep, it’s a story-driven game, not an open world game with a character creator, and you don’t get to tell them who the main character is. The workload thing was an obvious flub by some PR person somewhere likely only vaguely associated with the development process at all, and that’s been obvious from the start. They didn’t say anything offensive, or intolerant, they just said something marginally incorrect and got piled on by people who want to make controversy. Get over it and find a real issue to be mad about. There’s plenty around.

        • Noviere says:

          It was the Creative Director of the game that said it…. Not some hapless PR person.

          • Barchester says:

            Still, I’m with shadowmarth on this. It’s basically a story being told, who cares who the main protagonist is. Did people complain way back when when the female lead in The Lord of the Rings was also a male Hobbit? Nonsense.

          • Valkyr says:

            @Barchester: So if we never did something before, we should never do it ever?

            Indeed I agree that a storyteller has the right to choose his main characters; however it would be nice to have more diversified main characters on the whole, wouldn’t it? After all we have so many different types of human beings on our planet, it’d be a shame not to explore such a diversity.

          • CutieKnucklePie says:

            Funny how the “story being told” angle always ends up justifying making games that can’t have anything other than white males and adding on to the lack of representation of women in games. Funny about that.

          • cHeal says:

            Maybe if more people were out there writing and making games with female protagonists, instead of whinging and ranting on the internet, there would indeed be more games with female protagonists.

          • noodlecake says:

            I’m currently working on a game that has a male lead and a male supporting role… I’m not sure if I could actually write a compelling female character! Not because women aren’t compelling, but because I don’t know if I could write a woman that didn’t just feel like a man with a woman skin.

            Maybe I’ll try though! It’s early days yet!

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            equatorian says:

            @noodlecake

            Logged in just to say this—-I wouldn’t worry about that very much if I were you! Bioware did just that—-writing a man and switching genders—and I don’t think anybody would complain about Commander Shepard not being a fantastic lady. /winks

            The problem with a lot of female representation in media IMO is that it treats ‘men’ as ‘default’ or ‘neutral’ and women as ‘special’ or ‘an exception’ that needs to be handled differently. You know, the thing that causes people to think a room full of people consists of 50% women when there’s actually 30%, or a couple of women in an entire cast is a lot, or females—characters and real—-being judged as a female first instead of a person first.

            So don’t worry about it. Write your character as a person——man, woman, agender/genderqueer (I would like people to acknowledge my existence more thank you very much)—–we are all human at heart. The primary things that move us and make us cry and make us tick and give us joy are the same things. If you can write a human and you truly want to write something different, you’ll be able to.

            Unless you go looking around for landmines, i.e. trying to explore touchy issues that need a lot of research and have hurt actual people, and just make characters in a story, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t step on one.

          • noodlecake says:

            @equatorian

            I don’t know. I don’t agree with you. I’ve read some books with really terrible writing for women. Terry Pratchett is a great example, where all his women are obviously men because he’s a man and has just written characters that come naturally to him, which are definitely male characters. There are behavioural and ways of dealing with things that tend to be gender exclusive that he either hasn’t picked up on or can’t really write very well.

            I’ve met a fair number of M2F transgender people, for example, and they all show lots of typically male traits and are missing lots of typically female traits, in terms of behaviour. I’m saying this as someone who would genuinely prefer to be a woman but I’m not and the glaring male personality traits that I have would get in the way… Not to mention huge hands and a big fuck off head. I do look pretty darn good as a woman though.

            That’s not to say I think there is anything wrong with transgenderism AT ALL. People can be whoever they want to be, and I think a lot about gender is enforced by society, but some is biological too.

          • Afred says:

            You could probably just ask a feminine gendered (I have no idea if that’s the right term, probably not) friend to help you get the tone right.

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            equatorian says:

            @noodlecake

            Yes, some gender differences are wired. Exactly *what*, however, is difficult to pin down. Women in my area don’t exhibit the same behavioural traits as women from Japan, or women from the UK, or the US, or Saudi Arabia, and the same goes for males. Society clearly plays a large role in how femininity *and* masculinity is defined. I will NOT go on to say it’s due to patriarchy or whatever, but sometimes the road to hell is paved with very nice intentions.

            Also, I don’t really see anything wrong with Terry Pratchett’s ladies, as someone who once considered myself female when I read them for the first time. They aren’t very ladylike, but that’s the point. But then again, I’m just about as allergic to female characters with femininity up front and center as much as I am allergic to male characters with masculinity up front and center, so maybe I’m not the best judge of these things.

            All in all, I just wanted to say that ladies aren’t as different from men as things make it out to be. If you aren’t comfortable with it, though, then you aren’t comfortable with it. Go on and write your game, friend! And if you really REALLY want to write a lady still and JUST need to make sure you get it right, have a lady friend read the script over or co-author it with you!

            EDIT : Also, on the subject of MtF/FtM. My country has a REALLY HIGH RATE of MtF transgenders and we think it’s completely peachy. They can use ladies’ restrooms and get married with dudes and stuff. I have had several friends who are such. (A couple are now married.) Some of the MtF ladies I know are SO MUCH MORE traditionally feminine than my True lady friends in almost all ways possible, some of which may be walking tanks of destruction for all I know. So you know, anecdotal evidence really depends on where you take your samples. Yours is completely valid, of course, but that’s not ALL that it has to be. :)

          • Zyrusticae says:

            @noodlecake

            “There are behavioural and ways of dealing with things that tend to be gender exclusive”
            “…they all show lots of typically male traits and are missing lots of typically female traits, in terms of behaviour.”

            Somehow, this part of your post really, really, really bothers me. Care to elaborate on what these traits and behaviors are, exactly?

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            ffordesoon says:

            @Noodlecake:

            If you’re worried about writing dudes with tits, then do some research into what it’s like for women. Don’t be part of the problem because you’re too scared to be part of the solution.

        • GenBanks says:

          I agree with you… If Alexandre Dumas wrote a story for an upcoming co-op game called ‘Three Musketeers’ we wouldn’t think of complaining that the three musketeers were men. But because this going to be a lower quality story made by a less famous writer we feel entitled to have a say in who the characters are, which I don’t think is right.

          I agree it would be more interesting if there were more variety in the four characters… Left 4 Dead is a great example, and it works from a gameplay perspective too since it makes it easier to tell who’s who. But I don’t think this is a battle worth fighting in the name of equality.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            But perhaps worth calling out a megalithic company because they tried to bullshit us?

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            ffordesoon says:

            I absolutely would complain about that, because Dumas would be writing the game in 2014 for a global audience, and the game is not called The Three Straight White Male Musketeers. And it’s interesting that you chose Dumas, because he was a dark-skinned biracial man who was considered “black” by the standards of white Europe. Not only that, but he refused to be ashamed of his ancestry, and an early novel of his is explicitly about colonialism and race relations. Criticism of his work was often presented through a racial lens, and he was denied a burial in the Panthéon, the national mausoleum where many less influential lights of French culture are interred, because of his race.

            So yeah, I would think Alexandre Dumas, were he alive today, would be more sensitive to the representation of marginalized people in media than some clueless tit who thinks making half the human race feel welcome ranks lower on the priority list than throwing in seven period-appropriate parlor games that nobody will play for longer than fifteen minutes. And I would be pretty disappointed if this resurrected Dumas cast a bunch of gormless white dudes in his video game.

          • TomA says:

            He never said anything about straight and white, he just said men, stop finger pointing and putting words in peoples mouth.

      • Meneldil says:

        While I see your point, Charlotte Corday wasn’t really your wall-jumping, backstabbity-stabbing assassin. More like a kinda dumb/naive girl who could do what she did because she looked naive.

        Meanwhile, the french revolution was probably one of the most succesful period in history for real, movie-like assassins. They just never achieved the fame of Corday, who was still an infant and killed an important character.

        Doesn’t mean though that they couldn’t have added a woman. Not that I care about it either, but nowadays, it seems the kind of thing to do. They include a woman in Valiant Heart: the Great War even though very few of them made it to the battlefields.

        • stonetoes says:

          To whatever degree those assassins were “real movie-like assassins” I guarantee that they were still nothing like the protagonists from AC games who are, after all, essentially super-heroes. No one is that good, so making them female shouldn’t be the thing triggering our suspension of disbelief. It would be like dismissing a skinny actor playing Superman because his biceps aren’t big enough to really throw a car into space.

    • Wodge says:

      This kind of thing is going to push developers to only include emotionless, genderless robot beings in all games from now on.

      This will probably trigger the robotkin on tumblr into fits of spontaneous crying (watch the rust!) but they shall have to bear the burden of modern, inclusive, game development.

      • MrThingy says:

        In the future, you’ll only be able to play as a gouraud-shaded cube.

        You’ll get to choose the colour, obviously…

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        But right now all games have gritty-sounding robots already.

      • Humanji says:

        Companion Cube for the win!

    • laiwm says:

      It was Rockstar’s choice to have Niko be pestered by constant phone calls in GTA4. Doesn’t mean we can’t criticise the decision.

      • laiwm says:

        Or, to put it another way: you may consider it a pity that Alec posted this article, but it was essentially his choice.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        These seems to be one of those topics where you have to pick a side, and if you remain neutral on the matter, that picks it for you. I hate it that I can’t remain indifferent about this without being made to feel like some bigoted wife-beater. Perhaps it the Sarkeasian effect, where if you’re shown to be disagreeing with her, you automatically get classified as one of the neckbeards threatening to rape her.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t’ care if none of them are women. I’m more bothered by the DLC practices, and the Restrictive DRM issues, and weak nonsensical future storyline. I’m more concerned about the volume of exclusive retailer content and the number of versions of the “final” game will have. Those are my concerns, and I don’t expect anyone else to share them. I hope I don;t make you feel like shit if you don’t though.

        • Alec Meer says:

          I think the truly neutral stance is to either avoid reading coverage clearly flagged up as being on an issue you don’t care about, or at the very least is declining to comment on it – because the fact of declaring something like ‘I don’t care’ necessarily makes those who do care feel attacked for it.

          Especially, for instance, when it’s the very first comment on a post, made after a time period which perhaps implies (but not proves – you may well be a very fast reader) you’d not read the post before chiming in about how you don’t think it’s an issue yourself.

          The bonus for not getting involved is you won’t feel criticised for not caring.

          I completely agree there are other issues surrounding this and other games, and some (but not all, I’m sure) of them do come up. Hey, whenever we report on something going awry with Uplay someone pops up to angrily demand that we stop going on about it. Something’s always an issue to someone, and always not an issue to someone else.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I think the truly neutral stance is to either avoid reading coverage clearly flagged up as being on an issue you don’t care about, or at the very least declining to comment on it….

            This and absolutely this. If you don’t have anything to say than don’t say it.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            So my options are to agree, and comment. Or disagree, and comment. But to mildly agree in passing, but think there are larger issues means I should reserve comment? Are my opinions less valuable because they’re not extreme enough to each side of the debate? Must I vote 0 or 10 on Metacritic?

            If Ubi has made the decision to make 1 or 2 of these assassins a women, I very much doubt there would be any anger, wailing or rending of garments about it.Just as there was none (that I’m aware of anyway) to AScred Liberty. And if there was an article on some (backward) website lamenting the fact, I’d state in those comments, that the fact that there IS a woman does not bother me.

          • Alec Meer says:

            “I wish people wouldn’t talk about this because I’m not interested” is very different from “I acknowledge that others care about this and hope this debate proves useful to them. I would also like to discuss issue x,y or z at another juncture please.”

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            dahauns says:

            Regarding your second paragraph – I wonder if a “cooldown” period (say, 15-30min between the moment when an article is posted and comments are allowed) could help.

          • Hahaha says:

            “I think the truly neutral stance is to either avoid reading coverage clearly flagged up as being on an issue you don’t care about, or at the very least is declining to comment on it ”

            That would be indifferent.

          • chargen says:

            Yes but I’m more Chaotic Neutral than True Neutral.

        • laiwm says:

          My point is that every argument I’ve seen on here that boils down to “Alec shouldn’t have posted this” can also be turned around to say “I shouldn’t have commented”.
          If you don’t care, that’s fine, but by publicly saying so it looks like you’re telling people they should shut up about it – which is picking a side. Better representation for women in games won’t be won by people not talking about it, and by discouraging others from discussing you are fighting for the status quo.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            I supposed, but I’m pretty sure most commentators hear realize this is a blog, not a journalistic site. Hence the information contained is acceptably biased by the opinions of the person writing it. I accept that this is an issue Alec cares about, I don’t post here with the intention of silencing him, but rather stating my own opinion. And My opinion is that the game appears to have bigger issues than wholey representing the target market it’s aiming for.

            These articles stimulate a great deal of debate and I fear that most on the side of indifference (and perhaps even opposition) are not nearly as articulate as Alec and come across harshly.

          • laiwm says:

            OK, but if your opinion is “I don’t have an opinion on this”, what are you trying to achieve by stating it? Put it this way: if you were having a conversation about something that matters to you in a public place, and people nearby kept coming over to say “excuse me, but I don’t care about what you’re talking about”, would you feel that they were actually being neutral, or that they were trying to shut you up?

            Edit: sorry, didn’t read your comment properly before replying, but replace “excuse me I don’t care” with “excuse me, aren’t there other things you could be talking about?” and the point still stands.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            In your example, you’re missing one thing.
            If these people came to me and said. “I hear you, but I don’t really think your concern is that much on an issue, and I feel these are the real issue…” We’d have a debate going.

          • laiwm says:

            You didn’t do that though in your initial comment, which is why it came off as “I don’t care”. I see that you did raise a number of other issues in a later comment – all of which RPS frequently post about. Also, people would still be perfectly within their rights to tell you to go away if you did that in real life.

        • Kamalen says:

          What if I told “I think there are bigger issues in the world than DLC practices, and the Restrictive DRM issues, so please stop talking about them.”

          See, there will always be more important issues to discuss and solve. Using this reasonning, we will never talk about anything because worse exists.

        • db1331 says:

          “Sexism is sexism. Penis, vagina, both…makes no difference. The chromosome is arbitrary. The definition is blurred. If I’m to choose between one gender and another, I’d rather not choose at all.”

          “Wha…what are you doing?”

          “…Remaining indifferent.”

    • omicron1 says:

      So, if token minority representation is now a requirement, not just a plus on the back of the box, we should have one of each major one in every game.
      Black, white, Indian, Chinese, (etc.), male, female, gay, lesbian, bi, straight.. Each combination of the above.
      This sets a worrying standard, TBH – it’s essentially demanding that games feature a wide array of separate coop characters to meet the whims of the player, and can be taken that mass Effect style customization is a necessity – not just a great idea for some games. The characters featured in a game are not a moral requirement. They’re a design option, and it’s not fair to demand every game incorporate them just for inclusivity’s sake. Especially when they’re obviously going for a Dark Souls/Watch_Dogs style ‘immersive’ multiplayer.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        Women are a minority? That’s news to me.

        Also, this slippery slope argument is very tired and still tremendously stupid. Try harder next time.

        • omicron1 says:

          Bullshit. The slippery slope is perfectly valid, as us Yanks are now experiencing firsthand.

          On that note, I’d like a transgender character to represent myself (Hey look – I have minority privilege x2! 3 if you count my politics!) – but I also know it’s not a reasonable expectation in a historical-period game not set after 1900. Nor is a female character a reasonable expectation – just a nicety – in this time period, type of game, and theme. If you have two Animus targets to select, each needs it’s own story and VoiceOver. Which is hardly reasonable.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            For the last time, and my apologies for being blunt: Charlotte! Motherfucking! Corday!

          • CutieKnucklePie says:

            Genderqueer people (those who eschew gender, since trans people overwhelmingly identify with one gender) are probably less than 0.5% of the world’s population. Big difference. Women are over half and make 45% of the people that play games (at least). You think representation doesn’t matter because you have had games with aspirational characters catered to your image since the inception of computer entertainment. It’s ok not to just “get it”, but not to be wilfully ignorant about it.
            Even if you nevertheless believe that history was all made by bare-chested sweaty men (it wasn’t) and that women were purely passive agents in the era depicted (they weren’t), I have some news for you: AC is not historically accurate and doesn’t try to be . Funny that “historical accuracy” just refers to the subjugation of women and not to parkour steampunk magical assassins.

          • Muzman says:

            What slippery slope are you talking about? To where?
            You kid-bros don’t even remember the late 80s yet talk about now like the sky is falling. Believe me, if anything the world is more sexist now than it was after those battles. Feminism is at a relatively low ebb. I suspect that’s why the uptick in recent years. There is the feeling of losing ground.
            Somehow you’ll manage if every game feels it should include female options.

          • Philomelle says:

            Whoever told you that the reason female characters in fighting roles are historically inaccurate should honestly punch themselves in the mouth until they stop moving. There were thousands of female soldiers, generals, assassins, mercenaries and more over the centuries of human culture. Hell, the greatest general in Chinese history was a woman, she simply lived long before the Three Kingdoms and thus never had a fancypants book written about her.

            The only reason why female warriors aren’t prominent in literature is because our culture, having been severely shaped by Christanity’s push toward patriarchy, lionized its male heroes to the point where female ones became eclipsed. Jeanne d’Arc and Charlotte Corday are not exceptions to the rule, they were simply among the few who did something so extraordinary that it was impossible to downplay them.

          • omicron1 says:

            Is! A motherfucking! Exception!
            Notable historical figures aside, during most time periods contemporary to the AssCreed series 90+% of anything but housewives and fishwives/merchants were men.

            Also I love how you are all so quick to dismiss my opinion based on an incorrect assumption of gender.
            So let me spell it out for you. I’m a trans woman. I just got a brand new vagina yesterday. I have privilege here. (Privilege is, incidentally, a ridiculous excuse to ignore opinions).
            And as a woman (and a 0.5% minority on top of that) The AssCreed brotherhood issue does not bother me. What does is your “represent us or else” approach.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            “Assassin” is not exactly a standard occupation either, is it? Assassins are exceptions pretty much by definition.

            Your argument was, and I quote, “Nor is a female character a reasonable expectation – just a nicety – in this time period, type of game, and theme”, which the existence of Mlle Corday in this exact time period, type of activity and theme completely shoots to pieces.

            Also, congratulations on your successful surgery, but I don’t see how that’s relevant. The fact that you are transgendered does not mean you are automatically right in discussions about gender.

          • Philomelle says:

            @omicron1:

            Nobody in this thread gives a bloody damn about your gender. The reason people dismiss your arguments is because multiple statements you made so far have been wrong. In fact, your historical education comes off as so poor that most of us would have better luck discussing the role of women in French Revolution with our household pets.

          • Premium User Badge

            FriendlyFire says:

            @basilisk: Assassins are exceptions. Women back then didn’t have the broad variety of skillsets and professions that they do now.

            If we accept those two statements as true, I’m afraid that concluding that because the two elements (a person being an assassin and a woman having a job other than housewife or similiar) are exceptions, they somehow cancel out, is absolutely wrong. It means it’s even less likely, statistically speaking, that a woman would be an assassin, not more.

          • Premium User Badge

            basilisk says:

            FriendlyFire, I do not dispute that. I am merely showing by way of example that it isn’t historically impossible, or even all that fanciful (compared, for example, to the frankly ridiculous furore over a lack of non-white player characters in Deliverance: Kingdom Come, which is historically absurd).

            I’m not questioning Ubisoft’s decision to go with a white male protagonist, which is perfectly valid, but pointing out that in this particular case, a female assassin wouldn’t have been entirely out of place. Which is the crux of the debate, I think; the opportunity was there and some people, myself included, are sad that it was ultimately rejected. Then gender politics happened and this comment section is what we get.

          • nearly says:

            am American, can confirm slippery slope. first Obama wanted us to have healthcare, then he took away our guns and made us marry men. my husband and I very much hate the current scheme of things.

          • Globragzu says:

            It’s kind of tiring to see that, but… but “Charlotte Corday!” thing in every fucking article and comment section. It’s grasping at straws and actually proves the exact opposite, since apparently nobody else is able to find even a second example.

            I’d also hardly call her an “assassin”, it was more of a politically motivated murder, and on top of that with a kitchen knife against a sick man… in his bathtub.

            Merely days later she was then caught and beheaded.

            Hardly the type of “Assassin” Assassin’s Creed is portraying.

      • InternetBatman says:

        First they’ll stop representing minorities*, then they’ll stop representing women, then they’ll stop representing men. We’ll end up playing games with faceless, voiceless robots as the main character. That’s why the slippery slope is a stupid argument style regardless of what you support.

        *may or may not actually be statistical minorities.

        • pepperfez says:

          If only this could be true, I’d be a lot less concerned about under-representation in gaming.

      • noodlecake says:

        Women are a minority now? So what you’d prefer is the gaming to continue excluding women indefinitely?

    • cunningmunki says:

      Chop your dick off, grow some tits, and then say that.

    • Eater Of Cheese says:

      As a game developer, they’re talking shit. It’s not that much work.

      It’s not.

      Repeat: it’s not. Get that into your skulls. They’re being dickheads.

      • Neo says:

        I have a feeling that a lot of artists and animators would be pretty annoyed that you think creating new models, textures, a multitude of outfit pieces and animation sets is an insignificant amount of work seeing as it’s literally their entire job to do those things.

        • nearly says:

          Watch a video on Youtube of Dragon Age 2′s Hawke with swapped gender animations. Seeing a man animated as a woman shows how truly asinine and completely fabricated those gender animations are in the first place. Look up that gif of Samus’ animation “fix” for Smash Bros. which dislocated her arm to show her breasts better. Aveline shares more animations with Connor than Hatham, and Mass Effect’s Shepherd is animated the same either way. You don’t see people running through the streets clamoring about how unnatural these women are.

      • noodlecake says:

        I agree with the article, but I don’t agree with your comment. The amount of animations in the Assassin’s creed games is staggering, and to have to make female versions of all of them would add an insane amount of time to development.

        I would definitely have preferred this game if it did have female characters. I felt the same about GTA V.

        We shouldn’t really be having this conversation. It should just be happening.

        • Premium User Badge

          ffordesoon says:

          When in the history of the world has meaningful social change been kickstarted by not having a conversation?

    • WALLS says:

      I often enjoy the reviews on this site, but the constant air of politically correct white male guilt is nauseating at times.

      the decision not to include a female parkour assassin is a suspension of disbelief issue. women are physically weaker and smaller than men. to have a female character that has the upper body strength to leap about like the boys would need to be as muscly as the men, and then it would just look like a short man, and then when the artists added cleavage, or something to signify that its a woman, then the next rant would be “oh the disgraceful sexism” its exhausting cyclical shite arguing

      • Valkyr says:

        Let’s all throw Mirror’s Edge in the bin!

      • noodlecake says:

        And Tomb Raider, and The Last of Us… etc.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        Also, jumping from a height of 100 metres into a small pile of hay is something your typical fragile woman cannot survive, unlike most manly athletic men. A very peculiar consequence of the physics of breast tissue in freefall.

        Seriously, AssCreed protagonists are pulling off physically impossible feats every five seconds without breaking a sweat. It’s a decidedly non-realistic videogame, you know.

        • WALLS says:

          so why make it even more unrealistic for the sake of pc tokenism? either have a good reason for having a woman, make a good character, or dont bother.

          • noodlecake says:

            Exactly… Which is something more people should be doing in the first place! It’s not hard to do!

            Also what is the good reason for specifically choosing white males? To bore the crap out of the player?

          • noodlecake says:

            “so why make it even more unrealistic for the sake of pc tokenism?”

            So many things wrong with that statement.

            “PC Tokenism” appears to be douchebag for “Fairly representing the largest social demographic in the world”

            Why make it even more unrealistic? Well a simple answer is that the games are completely absurd, and it’s pretty similar to the uncanny valley with visuals. If you make a game that is clearly attempting to be realistic but completely fails in that respect it doesn’t really work…. But that’s irrelevant really. A female protagonist wouldn’t be remotely jarring at all, unless you’re a douchebag who is annoyed by equality.

          • WALLS says:

            you say ‘exactly’ there, as though this ingratiating article will somehow make women better protagonists in fiction. it wont, the best thing stuff like this hopes for is that guilty white men assuage their guilt by appealing to tokenism, and that is actually considered a good thing.

            ezio auditore was italian, altair was an arab, and whoever the guy was in 3, was a native american. what point are you trying to make there. they also had a black guy and a woman as dlc in 4, but maybe the reason they havent had a black guy (im guessing thats the race you are feeling most guilt for) is because blacks werent allowed to be freemasons for centuries, and that makes it kinda hard to crowbar one in, to fit with the templar conspiracy shit at the core of the game.

            well kiddo, if i had to watch a slight female avatar have a swordfight with 3 warhammer wielding captain simcoes soley because you feel it would assuage your guilt at having a beige 5″1/2″, well thats fine. but you are actually saying that such a token gesture would be more representative of social demographics. the game is based around an assassin cult in the middle east hundreds of years ago. i dont think it had an equal opportunity policy.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            WALLS, Because you wrote “will somehow make women better protagonists in fiction. it wont” despite the existence of:

            Lizzie Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
            Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
            Sabriel, Sabriel
            Matilda, Matilda
            Melba Beals, Warriors don’t Cry
            Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables
            Jo March, Little Women
            Elphaba, Wicked: The life and times of the wicked witch of the west
            Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
            Hellen Keller, The Story of My Life
            Sara Crewe, A Little Princess
            Kristy Thomas, The Babysitters Club Series
            Laura Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie
            Princess Cimorene, Dealing with Dragons Series
            Karen Blixen, Out of Africa
            Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time
            Madeline, Madeline
            Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia Series
            Ramona Quimby, Ramona Quimby Series
            Hemione Granger, Harry Potter Series
            Egwene al’Vere, The Wheel of Time Series
            Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web
            Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
            The Wife of Bath, The Canterbury Tales
            Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games trilogy
            Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter
            Lyra Silvertongue, His Dark Materials trilogy
            Janie Crawford, Their Eyes Were Watching God
            Hua Mulan, The Ballad of Mulan
            Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series

            No-one cares what your opinion on this issue is.

          • WALLS says:

            ah good, that small list really proves me wrong, and yeah, i was only going to rubbish your limp point by just saying your need to provide a small list shows you see my point, but i just read the examples you just gave (copy and pasted), and HOLY SHIT! little house on the prairie? hermione from harry potter? wow, oh and you copy and pasted “Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” twice in your list. you fucking suck.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            So just because I remembered one twice (no copy and pasting here I’m afraid, this was all from memory) you still insist that fiction starring women, can, by design because they star a woman never be good, never be as compelling?

            To be fair, I only needed one to prove you demonstrably wrong. I bet you haven’t read any little house on the prairie (read, not watched). I could have written a list 10000 long, but I had to make a judgement on how widely read you are, after all, what use is there in talking about Ma, the room because based on your vocabulary and world outlook, I don’t think you’re the most well read of individuals. Turns out, even with a list this short, I was over estimating your ability.

          • WALLS says:

            your comprehension stinks, i NEVER said that women can NEVER be good protagonists did i dickhead. you are arguing about a point you failed to understand, and words in your head

            oh and hey mr fancy intellectual, was nancy drew the next book on your reading list after war an peace? go jump in a lake you fucking pillock

          • Globragzu says:

            ““PC Tokenism” appears to be douchebag for “Fairly representing the largest social demographic in the world””

            There aren’t very many Chinese people in this game: http://io9.com/more-than-half-of-the-worlds-population-lives-inside-t-493103044

            It’s probably because it plays in France during the revolution and is also mainly targeted towards a US/European market instead of an African or Chinese/Asiatic one.

            All of this “Twitter activism” comes from decidedly specific areas of this world though and is mainly Anglo-American: http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/GlobalWarYesAllWomen1-998×587.jpg

            One could assume that the rest either don’t care as much or have actual problems to contend with.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            @WALLS, oh dear, oh dear, we are upset aren’t we! I like the way you call me a “Fancy Pants Intellectual” right after trying to out intellectalise me with “Nancy Drew Right after War and Peace” which proves what exactly? Was I supposed to theme my list, maybe you feel Nancy Drew should never be mentioned in the same breath as the classics. Either way, I’m sure you feel smug and superior with that one in your own fancy pants ivory tower where childrens literature is frowned upon.

            I personally believe children’s literature is the most important, more important than the classics. I would rather leave war and peace off the list.

            Anyway, it’s funny that you’re now insisting that I misunderstood, and with your exemplary grasp of English language, spelling and grammar, that would obviously be my failing, when you initially responded with “ah good, that small list really proves me wrong”, which would seem to indicate that my point is indeed in juxtaposition with your beliefs.

            By the way, I joined in with your war and peace bit, but I’m wondering, did you think War and Peace is the same as Pride and Prejudice? I’m curious, as me with my inferior intellect may have failed to notice that they were the same, I personally thought War and Peace was a Russian novel by Tolstoy published in 1869 about the French invasion of Russia and how Napoleons rule affected the Russian political system but Pride and Prejudice was a novel by Jane Austin about growing up in 19th centuary British gentry. I’m probably wrong and you’re probably right though, based on your remarkable prose, you are clearly a gifted and talented author whose wordcraft is amongst the finest in the world and I’m sure you know your craft better than humble little I.

          • WALLS says:

            you stated that i said that women could never be good protagonists in fiction. i didnt. you materially misunderstood me, either by your own stupidity, or so as you could make another of your droning diatribes, you peevish div.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Oh the pleasure of your poetry! Riddle me this then, retard, why did you not say that straight away instead of stating that my list did not prove you wrong due to it’s dour length and content? I was quite clear about what I was saying you were saying. The credible response would have been “I agree those are wonderful female characters, beloved the world over but that was not my point. My point was….” – imagine that in your own sparkling lilt.

            Could it be that you are in a fleeting, fighting retreat after the shock realisation that you are in fact, wrong? (Rhetorical)

      • Volcanu says:

        Being good at parkour or climbing doesn’t require massive upper body strength. Seriously look at some real life climbers. They have very lean, toned physiques with very strong wrists – not colossal biceps and shoulders, which would actually be a hinderance In fact its your strength to body weight ratio that is more important (and good climbers let their legs do most of the work whenever possible- rather than brute forcing it with upper body strength).

        I cant imagine the Klitschko brothers would be particularly good climbers or parkour-ers for example.

        • Hahaha says:

          And yet the british free running winner had a chest like a log

          • Volcanu says:

            Ummm…what? We must have VERY different definitions as that guy, whilst clearly strong, is hardly built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse.

            Try searching on youtube for women doing parkour and I think you will find numerous examples. A lot of what goes on in Ass Creed is more ‘climbing’ in any event so are you REALLY taking issue with me claiming that women are capable of being excellent climbers too. Here’s a link:

            http://www.dogonews.com/2013/2/17/worlds-best-female-rock-climber-is-just-20-years-old

            She’s hardly built like Mike Tyson is she?

          • Hahaha says:

            Yes that is it, not “Being good at parkour or climbing doesn’t require massive upper body strength.”

            look at this http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRNvg2ELRoqR3XRzbTkwD8A5o6DKtwg4uScbc4p08hBb-W4zNvieA that is for size and build built like a log

            5’9″ tim
            5’2″ sasha

          • Volcanu says:

            Well thanks for proving my point ENTIRELY.

            As I stated, in climbing ABSOLUTE strength isn’t all that important. RELATIVE strength is much more so i.e. your strength in relation to your body mass etc. This is why very strong people – like the people who enter the World’s strongest man competition or Heavyweight boxers do not make good climbers, or good free runners.

            WALLS stated that “women are physically weaker and smaller than men. to have a female character that has the upper body strength to leap about like the boys would need to be as muscly as the men, and then it would just look like a short man”

            So his argument was basically that women cannot do parkour or be good at climbing because they will never have the same strength in ABSOLUTE terms as a man. I refuted this on the basis outlined above.

            You then posted a video of a British parkour champion claiming that this somehow proved you needed to be the pinnacle of human strength to be good at parkour…to which I pointed out that he was nowhere near as muscular or big as male professional athletes requiring raw strength alone are. I then also posted an example of a very good female climber, doing things that WALLS seems to believe are impossible for a woman to do without having the exact same arm size as a man.

            So thanks for proving my point.

            P.S compare that woman you just posted with a female hammer thrower or shot putter for just a minute if you think that’s an example of a woman with maximum possible muscular development…

          • WALLS says:

            I didnt say impossible to do some of it, but to do all the parkour, then running in for close mele combat, then running off again, id say that pre 1960s, most women werent really up to it, so to add one in, just to placate the political “we demand an apology” correctness brigade strikes me as stupid tokenism

    • waltC says:

      Indeed…this is what in the news business is called “filler material”…;) It’s what you “report” when you have nothing better. Most folks have burgeoning filler files that can be pulled out when real news is slow.

      Besides, men are born knowing that it’s a man’s world. It isn’t until we get married that we find out the truth of the situation…;)

  2. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    I like how in the second picture, the third assassin from the left looks rather feminine.

  3. P.Funk says:

    Of course the reason was bullshit. This never would have been an issue if they’d just had their party line ready.

    Lesson learned: if you’re going to parry an accusation about inclusiveness have a better answer ready than “the budget won’t bear inclusion”, especially if its not even true.

    • Muzman says:

      This is probably the sanest point.
      If you’re doing something that isn’t strictly a multiplayer game so standards of playable characters are different, then say so. Don’t faff about with evasive lies and excuses.
      Or, a lot of the time, say nothing.

    • cpmartins says:

      All PR talk is bullshit, it matters not the issue. What they should’ve done is say nothing. Let the little waves splash away unhindered.

      • The Random One says:

        There is big bullshit, and there’s small bullshit.

        What happened here was that they had a Dukematch coop but didn’t want to admit that all four players would be the same guy because that wouldn’t mesh with what they were going for. They essentially turned the small bullshit (no, you totally get to play a totally unique character!) into the big bullshit (uh, we wanted to have women but didn’t have monies). It was a full scale PR meltdown.

  4. forfrosne says:

    I don’t think this would have been such a problem if they’d just had a male protagonist like in previous games. But I think it really pushes the boundaries of reasonableness when they have four white male protagonists from the co-op. And they even describe female protagonists as a “feature.” It boggles the mind, it really does.

    And in previous AC games there were many playable female characters in the competitive multiplayer side of the game; that side of the game is not in unity, but if they’ve had the resources to make that many playable female characters in the past just on the multiplayer, can we really be expected to believe that they’ve now lost them to create even one playable female character out of the four? I don’t buy it.

    And from everything they’ve said, it honestly just sounds like a case where they’ve decided they can’t be bothered to spend any time or effort into actually increasing representation of women in their games, particularly when women are a significant consumer of the AC series. They have at least nine separate studios working on this game, and they are saying they didn’t have the resources to create one playable female character in the game? Yeah right.

    I mean really, four white male protagonists in a single game? And no one at Ubisoft thought that maybe this was going to be an issue? Actually if you read this PCGamer article, it actually sounds like this wasn’t something that everyone was okay with at Ubisoft, but they went with it anyway.

    • Caesar says:

      Why would it be an issue? I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me. Their choice not yours.

      • Alec Meer says:

        ” I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.”

        ” I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.”

        ” I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.”

        ” I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.

        ” I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.”

        This is the issue.

        • Caesar says:

          Indulge me, why I should be ashamed of being a white male? Of being part of majority?

          You seriously think that every game should have a character editor?
          The customer has the option to NOT buy the product.

          • the_fanciest_of_pants says:

            I think it was the part where you blow off the issue because it doesn’t affect you personally.

            In fact, that was definitely it.

          • Premium User Badge

            cpt_freakout says:

            That you think it’s about shaming others shows how little empathy you have.

          • Premium User Badge

            Stense says:

            It’s not that you’re a white male. No one is saying that. The issue is that you seem to be saying that it’s not an issue to you, so therefore shouldn’t be an issue to anyone.

            A game presentation made a big deal about the customisable characters for its multi-player portion, but then tells us that a large portion of the fan base is going to be excluded from customising their preferred gender to play as. For such a big game with such a big budget and audience, this is a problem. It comes across as the game saying “Nope, this its for dudes only” (I know that isn’t what its actually saying, just how it appears). Then for the game’s creators to come out with such lame excuses (and they do come across as excuses) just serves to highlight the very real issue of under representation of women in games. If that isn’t an issue for you, then wonderful. But it is for many people, so please don’t just hand wave it away.

          • karthink says:

            > I’m a white male and this is not an issue for me.

            Okay. But it is an issue for many others.

            > why I should be ashamed of being a white male? Of being part of majority?

            Of course that’s not what Alec’s implying. All you have to do is respect that the lack of representation in games is an issue for others. And in this context, women are not even a minority.

          • Eproxus says:

            If you live in the “western world” you’re most likely NOT a majority: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sex_ratio

          • 0positivo says:

            Do you really believe that white male are a majority in the world?

          • Premium User Badge

            ProctorEldritch says:

            Don’t be obtuse Eproxus, statistical minorities are not being discussed but rather how power is distributed.

          • cpmartins says:

            Oh, so you mean rich people versus poor people. Got it. More variance on wealth levels next time Ubi you hear that?

          • Nenjin says:

            @the_fanciest_of_pants

            I wasn’t going to comment on this article since apparently that’s the best way to not be pulled into the argument.

            But let’s state one thing here before we throw forward both sticks on the hyperbole train:

            This is a video game. “personally affecting their life” makes it sound like someone can’t get a job, went to jail, was physically assaulted or something equally, you know, REAL. While I’m not downplaying that this is an issue women and men have every right to care about…..it’s not “personally affecting their lives” unless their lives are 100% based around video games and which pair of genitalia characters do or don’t have. And I’m pretty sure that describes no one.

        • Audiocide says:

          Out of the four previous games, only two of them had a European main character. What exactly is wrong with being white and male?

          • noodlecake says:

            Nothing, and nobody said there was.

            What’s your point?

        • Premium User Badge

          Cinek says:

          Alec, when do we get a topic asking for asian, middle-eastern, or black african assassins?

          For that thing they wouldn’t even have to bother animators or pretty much anyone with exception of graphic artist and a modeller to make new faces.

          Why suddenly only gender is a problem and not a skin color? Sticking to your safe zone?

          Pathetic.

          • Noviere says:

            Alec Meer didn’t start this conversation… He’s reporting on it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Oh is he now, cause somehow I see exceptionally rant-alike tone in all of his posts on this matter, as if he’d be outraged only by the fact that females are not represented in the game while a real problem he should be ranting about is the fact that vast majority of Earth population is not represented in this game, not only females.

          • karthink says:

            All of those would be great too. But accusing someone of selective advocacy is just silly. It also, of course, derails the conversation.

            That other aspects of diversity are worth exhorting for implies Alec can’t write about gender options in a game that offers customization?

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            And Alec can’t write about racial background options in a game that offers customization? Apparently he can’t.

          • Simes says:

            Well, for one thing, the protagonist of the first AC game was Syrian, and the protagonist of AC3 was of Native American descent.

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            Yes, Skin colour is a problem. Yes, lack of diversity of any kind is a problem. You will never hear anything different.

            It’s like someone was raising money for curing cancer, and you said “Well? What about world hunger, huh? Don’t you think about that?”.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            None of which were females and somehow – whole cycle of outrage posts never appeared. Now we have a game that allows higher degree of customization but in no way you can choose anyone but whites – and yet everyone droll over the fact that there are no females instead of ensuring proper equality, not just white-equality.

          • Simes says:

            I think it’s much more reasonable to have the protagonist represent the native ethnicity of the place in which the game is set than it is to ignore roughly 50% of that place’s population.

          • karthink says:

            Oh, jeez. You seem more interested in criticizing Alec than in saying anything about the issue.

            But fine: This debate is focused on offering the option to play as women because the Ubi director said there are specific reasons you can’t play as one in co-op. I’m sorry, I can’t see how Alec’s commentary on this specific matter loses value because he wasn’t universal enough.

            EDIT:
            > None of which were females and somehow – whole cycle of outrage posts never appeared.

            Those games were about those particular protagonists. In the multiplayer sections of the game, where you could customize or pick a character to play, you could always play as a female character. No one from Ubisoft said “We could let you play as a woman, but ehh, it’s too low a priority to take seriously”.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Simes – If you’re so concerned about the place you should also be concerned about point in a history where the action took place. And back in these days people from middle Asia and Africa could be found in southern and western Europe just fine. On the other hand though – females making their living out of killing people is a total BS – this game isn’t located in 21st century Europe, it’s 18th century Europe.

            karthink – Debate is focused about females because people like Alec choose to stick to their safe zones instead of touching a topics of racism.

            “Those games were about those particular protagonists.” – so is this one, only that protagonist is a male and somehow that’s causing outrage in some people. Arno Dorian is a MALE name.

          • Simes says:

            Our parkour steampunk assassins don’t kill for money, it’s for a cause. And as has already been pointed out numerous times, one of the most famous people who killed for a cause during the French Revolution was a woman.

          • Premium User Badge

            FriendlyFire says:

            … And like in just about every AC games, you don’t play as a historical figure. She was an exception. There’s an extremely high chance she’ll be in the game in some form, just like how every AC game before it took every opportunity it could to pepper historical figures into the narratives.

            Protagonists in all AC games thus far have been pretty “average” for their time periods. Altair, Ezio, even Connor, were, at least in appearances (ie. ignoring their assassin training), not out of the ordinary. An average person for 18th century France is… a white male. It’s not something new to this series, and yet only now is it suddenly an issue.

          • Premium User Badge

            ffordesoon says:

            I would like for all of those ethnicities to be in more games, and I’m sure Alec Meer would too. But the Ubisoft people didn’t say, “Oh, gosh, we wanted to include black people, but we just didn’t have the resources!” They said they didn’t include women because of that, and people like Alec Meer are pointing out why that’s fucking bullshit. If you’re annoyed that this came up, blame Ubisoft for being so tone-deaf that this is an issue. Blame the game industry for shitting out these despicable fucking lies so often, and blame the vast swathes of games media types who have regurgitated that shit for decades with a shrug of their shoulders. Blame the people who caused the problem in the first place, not someone who’s trying to fix that problem.

            Unless, of course, you don’t actually think it’s a problem at all, and just want to derail this conversation, in which case you’re part of the problem.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Quick, Alec, just delete the entire thread!

        • Einhaender says:

          That’s actually worth discussing.

          When does a game exactly reach the point of having to expand it’s audiences? And does it even have an obligation to do so?

          Is it because the audience of a game as successful as AC is mixed and the game should relfect that?
          Or because there are not enough games that have non white/female leads and thus games should first create a solid foundation for those audiences before going “all male” in games again?

          Have we reached a point where games need to conciously work towards the latter?

          Is it because games like AC or FC, which have new protgonists with every title, would have no problems with other than white male leads and thus need to do it?

          There’s nothing wrong with having no issue with this as white male. But there’s something wrong with forcing that to be an issue. There’s an issue here but “white guilt” is not it.

          It’s the people who are representing that should face it, not the people represented unless you are of the opinion that everyone should works towards a foundation for non white/male players.

        • PFunk says:

          I think you read my ironic comment as if I was on their side and not yours Alec. If you read any of my comments in the last article about this on RPS you’d see that I”m firmly on your side of this issue. I would have thought that you’d have appreciated the pun. Alas.

          Oh, nice one deleting my entire account on the strength of that. Bravo.

          I might be on your side of the issue, but you I am most certainly not a fan of you anymore.

          • Alec Meer says:

            Honestly – I’m sorry if I missed a joke, and sadly there are too many commenters to keep track of past behaviour, but I hope you can see how your deleted comment read just like something from the extremely aggressive MRA brigade we have to prune a lot of around here. Your old account can be reactivated if you like.

          • PFunk says:

            I would appreciate it.

            I thought that when I wrote “The only thing THEY hear” would have made it clear I was mocking their blindness to what you actually have to say rather than mocking you yourself.

            All is well that ends well though. Good luck with the rest of the rabble.

        • Yoma says:

          Well if RPS is so upset about this issue, why don’t you guys do anything about it? “There are too few women in games / in games industry” – it is true. You guys could do something about it, but of course it’s easier to be offended.
          Let’s take a look at the RPS staff:
          Jim Rossignol – male
          Alec Meer – male
          John Walker – male
          Adam Smith – male
          Nathan Grayson – male

          Yeah, 100% good old white male. If you are for equality, why not hire at least 1 woman? You probably have your excuses, don’t you? Just like Ubi. But the bad guys at Ubi..
          “I’m just a white male game journalist, who works with 4 other white male game journalists, but that’s not an issue for me”
          This is the issue.
          Lead by example.

          • Hahaha says:

            Jim Rossignol – male – made a game about robots hunting you and only included a token option to change your char to a femal model…… not very progressive

          • BarryAllen says:

            Hey they have that girl who writes those terrible S.EXE articles and the one who does the weekend deals. There’s your token females.

          • Hahaha says:

            They do now XD

          • Targaff says:

            You might want to take a closer look at the “About” page.

          • Hahaha says:

            The token female who (looking at the whole time the site has been up) has only recelntly been added?

            http://web.archive.org/web/20080815000000*/http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/about/
            enjoy

            edit – It’s nice the site is getting new readers but for years it was only males writing and this is ignored for this new progressive movment. You can ignore but you can’t hide your past.

          • Volcanu says:

            Are they trying to hide this fact though? Or trying to claim that they’ve always had female writers/contributors? In fairness I dont think they have claimed that.

            And having added Alice to the staff, who let’s be honest seems to write a pretty hefty chunk of the content these days, aswell as having Cassandra and Cara as regular contributors, does mean that they could legitimately claim to have taken a step in the ‘right’ direction or ‘Leading by example’ to quote Yoma.

            I’m sure they could do more to represent more diverse viewpoints in games journalism- perhaps have some contributions from non-white or non-Western contributors but I do feel like they are making an effort, at least in recent years.

            With regards to whether or not they have the right to call people out for not being inclusive in view of the fact that they were once an all-male bastion,I’d say they can, on the basis that they have recognised the need for more diverse viewpoints on their own site and taken steps to address it. To use an analogy – just because Britain used to be a major player in the Atlantic slave trade does that mean that the British government shouldnt decry slavery today?

            In any case a lot of the hoo-ha over Ubisoft has been the rather comical excuses they have offered up, probably almost as much as the issue itself.

          • Hahaha says:

            It’s never been acknowledged and it’s pushed that the site has always been like it is now, true it’s by commentors but the writers don’t do anything to get the true history out.

            For a long time they never even touched on females in gaming and if they have only come to the view they hold now recently then I have to say were fucking blind.

          • Targaff says:

            It doesn’t matter in the slightest that it was relatively recent – Yoma asked why RPS doesn’t hire “at least” 1 woman, and they have. Arguing about the timeframe is just shifting the goalposts to get around the fact that the original assertion was wholly incorrect.

          • Hahaha says:

            Why can someone not correct misconceptions with out some idiot jumping in about goalposts?

        • Dworgi says:

          Has this site really sunk so low as to start using Tumblr debate tactics of copy-pasting the same sentence five times and thinking that counts as an argument?

          The SJW thread running through the past year of RPS’ output has really soured me on this site. It used to be about games and humour, now it seems to be mainly about games and feminism.

          Is there a Google Trends for individual sites? Because I’d love to see the stats on the use of words like “patriarchy”, “misogyny” and “gender roles” over the years.

          Rock, Paper, Social Justice.

      • khomotso says:

        That nonsense cuts both ways. It’s also RPS’s choice to call them like they see them, because their business is commentary on the industry. You don’t have to read, you certainly don’t have to get worked up enough to comment. Why are you making it an issue? It’s RPS’s choice to write what they want.

        I don’t see why you can’t just agree and stop making your disagreement an issue.

      • Premium User Badge

        Goodtwist says:

        Plot twist: Ceaser is a transgender imp communist pussytomcat presiding chair of the Tea Party.

    • DigitalEccentric says:

      “I mean really, four white male protagonists in a single game?”

      But… it’s not though, is it? It’s one white male-protagonist. I can’t help but feel that the fact that *everyone* plays as Arno is being dismissed/ignored a little bit too readily here.

      Everyone’s POV is that of Arno’s, and the other three are just misc. dudes who follow you and assist you, like the assassins you could call on in previous games like Brotherhood, only they stick around longer. You’re all playing out a singular narrative about a single-person, and that person is a dude called Arno.

      Sure, they could make one or two of the misc. assassins look female, but only you would see it and appreciate it, the player who that avatar represents wouldn’t, because they’re also playing as Arno from their POV, and Arno is a dude.

      So, really, I think we’re objecting to the fact that ‘Arno’ isn’t a genderless character like Shepard or the DA protagonists. Which is fine – that’s a very valid argument and it probably would have been a bit wiser to implement that design choice here, given certain realities of the game. But they chose to create a fixed-gendered character. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it misogynistic.

      At a stretch it’s a bit non-inclusive, but then you have to start questioning every fixed-gendered character ever. Should the lass from Bayonetta have the option of being a dude instead? I’d say no, because the protagonist in that is a fixed-gendered character named Bayonetta, and she’s a girl. And that’s ok.

      But yeah – it’s one protagonist. Not four. I wish people would stop saying that.

      • Alexrd says:

        It’s useless. They’ll continually ignore it and turn this into a non-existent social-exclusion issue. God forbid that you’re allowed to make the game you want. It’s not like people are allowed to vote with their wallets, right?

        • pepperfez says:

          And the sooner they realize that they’re only allowed to vote with the wallets and stop pretending that public speech is acceptable too, the sooner we’ll be able to get along with the important business of silently consuming gameproduct.

  5. Einhaender says:

    They just didn’t do it because no one raised the question when the game was designed. End of story.

    That’s what you get for being a huge company with a huge IP. If this was an indie game people would probably think that there’s a reason for that, or don’t see an issue at all and move on, because it’s just one of many and it has no obligations to have one female character. But a game this big? WIth so many female fans around the world? And even if they kept the MC male, they didn’t even think about having a co-op character female?

    Now, I don’t know what’s going on during the developement of a game this big but I can only assume that everyone was practically braindead during the whole process.

    Also, you don’t need to write a character that’s unmistakenly “male” or “female”. It’s people who are different, not gender.

    SRIII for example showed how it’s done perfectly.

    Also: “thanks to[...]Polygon”. Oh god, their article, like many was horrible to read. And they have been known to jump at any controverial topic for relevance, no matter how ridiculous the article.

    • Globragzu says:

      I’d rather they make a well-thought out and in-depth specific character with a full scale of characterization and relationships to other people like Ezio than a genderless placeholder without any personality who needs to be designed as if anyone ever regardless of ethnicity or sex could have played the role.

      The same goes for other games like Beyond Good & Evil, No One Lives Forever, Dreamfall, Beyond: Two Souls etc.

      I’m honestly thankful that in other mediums there’s always a specific actor playing a role with a specific characterization and there’s no possibility to ever demand something as retarded as having the protagonist of something like Breaking Bad, True Detective, Fargo and similar be replaced (and the shows written in such a manner that this was possible) with “self-insert” because they’re “straight white males” and someone, somewhere could possibly not identify with that character…

      What is being asked is basically like asking a director to shoot a movie again with an actor of a different gender or they’ll stomp their feet.

  6. Ecto says:

    I find their argument about workload utterly confusing. They have *loads* of animations of female assassins ready and waiting from earlier games that could be appropriated into the game easily.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Not to mention all of the female NPCs they’ve already created for this game.

    • CutieKnucklePie says:

      In that case they’d move to the “BUT STORY” excuse, the “story” always has to revolve around a white male. Yep, they already did.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Worth noting that they have completely redone their animation system in AC3, so anything before it is pretty much unusable. Looking at the significant fidelity jump in Unity, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to redo the animations again. Reusing old animations would most likely make the female assassins stick out like a sore thumb, and then they’d be called out on it for being lazy.

  7. Audiocide says:

    Misogyny? That’s a strong word to throw around, just because somebody didn’t make the main character of THEIR story a female.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Go back and read the sentence that word appears in.

      • Audiocide says:

        I’m not specifically blaming the author, but whoever claimed that. Once a word like that has been used, people start thinking about it, as you well know.

    • Cockie says:

      Paraphrased: “I’m not accusing them of misogyny”
      Reading comprehension?

      • trjp says:

        My neighbour’s car has England flags on it. They also have one in their front-room-window.

        It’s not racism, but…

        Do you see what I did there?

        • Muzman says:

          This is seriously the dumbest crap you’ve come up with.
          The anti-feminist brigade always say ‘someone somewhere’ is accusing people of misogyny, by implication or otherwise, whether the word is said or not (and it’s not that feminists don’t use it too liberally some times). It’s their favourite butthurt word because it’s so mean sounding.
          Now someone heads it off clearly in the context and credits the organisation with previous diversity and this gets pulled.

          You’d stab youself in the eye and lie on the ground calling for the ref when the bloke you’re accusing isn’t even on the field. Then you’d say the accused’s implied avoidance of public spaces drove you to self harm in anticipation of the drive home in the dark.
          Utterly craven pathetic arguing.

        • trjp says:

          To be clear – I’m not weighing-in on the topic at-hand, I’m simply noting that you cannot invoke something as powerful as ‘misogyny’ or ‘racism’ without bringing all that baggage along – even if you invoke it in a negative sense (whether or not you really mean that)

          I know my neighbours are racists so I’ve little to deduce from their flag waving but someone who didn’t know them would think me mad for assuming the flags were anything but signs of being football fans.

          Alec bringing up misogyny brings it into the argument – that was my point

          • Muzman says:

            Ok, I’ll relax.
            However if we want honest arguing it behooves folks to actually assume it to some degree, not worry too much about second guessing the worst selective spin someone might take.
            Yes, oblique tarring and innuendo takes place. It doesn’t really look like that’s what he’s doing, so that’s that.

      • Seraphithan says:

        Saying that is a like saying “I’m not accusing you of being a witch.”, it colors everything that comes afterwards.

        • Lemming says:

          True. It goes right alongside “I’m not saying he’s a paedophile…”

        • trjp says:

          Who are you who is so wise in the ways of science?

          Man, I’ve wanted to type that for years…

      • Cockie says:

        Yes ok, but it’s possible to use such a phrase and actually mean it, you know?

        • Simes says:

          Particularly as not including that line would have inevitably led to “OMG STOP ACCUSING THEM OF MISOGYNY” anyway.

          • trjp says:

            Believing someone else will say something stupid does not mean you have to beat them to it.

          • Simes says:

            So, between the choices of “don’t say you’re not accusing someone of misogyny, but be accused of doing so anyway” or “say you’re not accusing someone of misogyny, but be accused of doing so anyway” which is the better option?

          • pepperfez says:

            I believe the preferred option is c) “Never ever write about women in gaming.”

  8. shadowmarth says:

    So they said exactly what anyone with two braincells to smack together could see the actual issue was, and another wall of text about it? And you deny it’s about sexism, then in the comments continue to be a completely reductive forum sniper about it? Guess RPS needs a hide article feature.

    • PsychoWedge says:

      Well, they’ll probably make a one-week-after-release-dlc for a woman-avatar for coop and demand 20 bucks for it.

  9. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    I don’t really care about “choice”. As a white straight male, I don’t at all mind playing as characters unlike myself (indeed, I almost prefer it). The issue is variety across the medium as a whole, not within individual games. AssUnity being a brofest is a problem because it is the fifth (depending on how you count) game in a hugely successful series that has yet to have a female protagonist in a primary title (not forgetting Liberation – I’m planning on getting it – but it is a spinoff game). It is true that the games has featured at least a shade of ethnic diversity, so that’s something, but it really is about time for a woman to take the lead in an AC game.

    • pepperfez says:

      And, it bears repeating, this is the game with close to the best possible setting for playing a lady assassin.

  10. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    As to the technical limitations: need a new set of animations or not. The answer is a great big satisfying “It depends on the engine/project”.

    Some engines are built to have scalable rigs, some aren’t. Can it be changed? Sure, but the later you leave it the more work you’ve wasted. So the idea that a female character might be extra work CAN be true, but it’s not a great excuse.

    Games devs in general vastly exaggerate the time and effort required in building a character (model, textures, rig, animations, etc etc). Just look at the painfully slow reveals of new models for Warlords of Draenor. It’s a PR decision to drip-feed that stuff, these actual characters do NOT by any means take months to build.

    Source: This is what I do.

    • domogrue says:

      Exactly this. I feel like this is a PR fellow who is saying something with no actual awareness of the game-making process coming up with a technical limitation excuse, followed by an actual anonymous employee calling bullshit on it (and maybe being a little upset about the whole thing because she might be in a position where she’d like to see a female AssCreed character but has no leverage to do so), so PR backs up again and says “oh the Designers made a narrative decision”. I hope some designer steps up and says “hey now…” Anyways, every time I see it it feels like childish excuse making, like “my dog ate my homework” except you left your homework by the doggie bowl.

      So at the technical bit. Most engines I’ve worked with it’s actually not “that” much work: since everything is set up to be extensible and easily editable. Animations are built off of skeletons that depending on the engine can be reused on many models and adjusted easily so you can create male, female, alien, bruiser, etc. variations without too much overhead. Note how something like Mass Effect or Dark Souls there are minor differences in the walking animations but most things are copy-pasted off the same skeleton, and it is the character model that changes dramatically. Making a bro model vs a gal model takes the same amount of work as well, so that’s not an excuse either (although you may need to change some of the spacing of the skeleton, depending on the engine).

      Source: I do this kind of stuff too

      • the_fanciest_of_pants says:

        It’s also DEFINITELY not an issue for these insanely rich developers. It’s an excuse I would buy from a basement indie, where days of work are crucial and artists are few, but in Ubisoft? With what.. NINE studios working on it? It’s a garbage excuse.

  11. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    I still want dramatic readings of these completely refuted excuses, all the while playing a video of a cockney-voiced gruff mountain of meat male Saints boss doing the table dance scene from SRIV.

  12. Shadowcat says:

    Erm, surely a quantum workload increase would be the smallest workload increase possible.

    • RedWurm says:

      Or it means it’s either an insignificant amount of work or ALL OF THE WORK, and there’s no way to tell until you start trying to do it.

      • pepperfez says:

        They’re concerned a female character would kill their cats, but have no way of knowing in advance.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two’s work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations.” – And in my educated opinion I would estimate it’s zero hours of work from animators – just replace the face, leave body alone.

    What a pile of bullshit.

    • Babaorum says:

      Sure, so let’s add some half-assed made textures just for the sake of adding women as playable characters, that the player will never see as its own character since he/she always see himself/herself as Arno no matter what.

      If you’re going that route, you’re better off just considering that the character you’re playing is a woman, but disguised as a man (with a false beard and all these things), this would induce zero-second of work from animators.

      If they are to add more diversity in the game, I would prefer them to put a bit of work on it, instead of just putting some random half-assed textures just to fill-up a quota some people want them to reach.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        If you’re going that route, you’re better off just considering that the character you’re playing is a woman, but disguised as a man (with a false beard and all these things), this would induce zero-second of work from animators. – oh man, I would laugh so hard if Ubisoft would choose to do that. But from purely historical point of view it’d actually make sense. More than a lone female freely moving around the city in a monk costume.

    • Convolvulus says:

      Bethesda sort of did that with some female followers in Skyrim, and it looks terrible to me. For instance, the male animations account for huge latissimus dorsi muscles that the female models don’t have, so Lydia stands around like she’s constantly airing out her armpits. There’s a mod that applies the standard female animations to her, but those look equally wrong because they’re made for the dainty women in dresses who serve drinks or sit on thrones. Of course, stinky Lydia is better than no Lydia at all.

    • Geebs says:

      The guy from Naughty Dog should seriously button his lip. How many games with female protagonists, or even non-brown-haired-thirty-something white male protagonists, have Naughty Dog made?

      NOT F*ING MANY.

      (it’s a wonder there are any jobs for modellers and animators in the games in the games industry, because you would have thought he would have had time to animate All Of The Things by now).

      • pepperfez says:

        No, I’m in favor of devs talking trash at each other if it gets them to make better games. I’m utterly uninterested in their moral integrity, so if this beef gets both sides paying more attention to their characters it’s a win.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Well, in fairness he did work on Mass Effect 1 & 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3 before so he’s not exactly uninformed on either count, though I would question the “one or two days” statement. It both assumes that retargeted animation was considered acceptable in this case (which maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t…. though I’d be inclined to take the word of guy currently working on the game over that of guy who worked on previous game) and doesn’t take into account non-animation costs like modeling, rigging, voice, UI, QA etc.

  14. Random Integer says:

    This seems like a really disingenuous article. I did not read the two quotes referenced as contradicting one another. The first says that creating female characters is double the workload and mentions animations as one of the pieces of that workload. It doesn’t say that animations are the only reason female characters aren’t created. The second quote, presumably in response to people saying ‘animations aren’t a big deal’, further clarifies that its not just animations but things like visual assets (also mentioned in the first quote) and that also its not just a decision about production costs alone.

    Calling someone two-faced in this instance seems, well, pretty two-faced.

  15. purpleaardvark says:

    I mean, It’s not as if they’ve already done this for multiplayer modes or in something like, oh, I don’t know, a paid DLC. Possibly one called ‘Liberation’? Seriously they should just cave in and do it. Oh how I wish for the day when they’d just Bioshock it out and have Femsheps as well as malesheps as characters. It’s something which should matter.

    • Opellulo says:

      A FREE DLC would be the best way to come out of this mess… But Ubisoft marketing department is not that smart; I’m sure there will be a load of other paid expansions all relying on items and small narratives

  16. kraken says:

    Funnily enough, if the main protagonist was actually a woman you bet your ass they would have pulled the budget to make a male version for multiplayer.

    • Asrahn says:

      +1

      Very, very true. Also very, very sad.

    • faelnor says:

      And that’s the problem. The only problem, maybe. The day a studio creates a game with only female characters as co-op avatars and says “fuck you” to anyone complaining about that is a day I’m eager to see, that way we can finally put those overblown battles to rest.

      I was saddened to see that in the trailer video of Splatoon, the first and great-looking fast multiplayer shooter by Nintendo, many YouTube comments were along the lines “I like it but why are there only girls in this game” / “I don’t want to play as a girl” / etc. (although the characters are androgynous or whatever). I wish someone had the guts to openly, unmistakably flip the bird to those people, at the risk of losing ten or so sales.

      Gender equality / diversity representation in videogames won’t come through endless bickering and arguments between so-called feminists, so-called bros, so-called MRAs, so-called journalists, etc. It will come because people who want to make games that aren’t sausage-fests will remain uncompromising in their approach and will be backed by studios and publishers.

      • pepperfez says:

        It surely helps any such devs stand up to their corporate overlords if there’s a robust discussion calling for exactly what the devs want. I think everyone realizes that we’re not doing activism here, we’re just talking about what we want from our hobby, but it’s surely a good thing if the people making it know what we want from our hobby.

      • Globragzu says:

        See Skullgirls, Rumble Roses, Scarlet Blade etc.

        Nobody would complain because there is no equivalent for a whiny feminist person with no bigger problems than a character in a video game they might like to buy not resembling them. They might just ignore it at best and move on with their lives.

        • pepperfez says:

          In fact, a common criticism of Skullgirls was that it had no male characters, and Rumble Roses is just smut, so of course men weren’t complaining about the gender distribution.. Also of note are that both those games are extremely low-budget, niche titles, not one of the biggest series in all of gaming.

  17. Asrahn says:

    The entire huge debate comes not from those that originally criticized Ubisoft for their choices, nor is it Ubisoft themselves that has spurred the debate; it all originates in the bandwagon-jumping, anti-feminist, keyboard warriors that feel the need to boo and be as obnoxious as possible whenever someone brings up women in regards to anything – particularly when it comes to their precious videogames.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibRdZKTgmmI

    The briefest look into the comment section of Gamespot’s video on this is more telling than any debate piece that can be written, no matter how excellent.

    • shadowmarth says:

      I haven’t seen any anti-feminist coverage of this at all. Because this is not a feminism issue at all. It’s a mild misunderstanding turned into a trumped-up controversy. It’s a fucking farce, and it shouldn’t be news on a reasonably fact-checked feminist site, much less on a site ostensibly about the video games themselves. If such a site wanted to talk about having more female protagonists, I’m all for it. But this case is a minor PR mixup and in no way a fucking thing to flip your shit about no matter what side you’re on.

      • Asrahn says:

        “I haven’t seen any anti-feminist coverage of this at all.”

        Primarily because they have, to my knowledge, no official magazine to express themselves through. The anti-feministic side of the gaming culture is not so much present in its journalism as it is in the community itself; just take a look at the video I sent you. Legitimate questions is all that is being asked, originating indeed, as you say, from a PR slipup, and it’s being met with incredible vitrol that in turn only escalates the discussion into nasty territories. As Alec writes in this article, the slipup itself warrants a discussion as it begs the question of how resources are spent in regards to videogame development, but the discussion in turn does not call for plainly misogynistic shit to be thrown around in neckbeard ragefits. I guess what I’m saying is that people need to grow the hell up.

      • CutieKnucklePie says:

        Uh women’s representation in media is definitely a feminist issue. Quite big nowadays actually. Just because it doesn’t touch you personally it doesn’t mean it’s not important to a whole lot of people. Like pretty much the entirety of women who play games, watch movies, etc. (and many men too).

    • Einhaender says:

      I wouldn’t say that the comments on youtube reflect anything, because people there are usually trolling whenever they can.

      Gamespot in particular has a following of folks that only look out for topics like that, thanks to GS’ history of hilariously bad writing and jumping at everything they can to ride the relevance train.

      Most recent example would be their “excellent” article about Rainbow Six Siege’s “disturbing represantation of women” in their demo. And yes, it’s because the hostage was a woman.

      • pepperfez says:

        On the one hand, it’s correct to call people who primarily appear to shit up comment sections “trolls”. On the other hand, the fact that they’re most actively shitting up and derailing discussions about the representation of women in gaming suggests that they’re not exclusively in it for the lulz, that they actually do care about this particular issue, and that their actual feelings are closer to what they write than to indifferent.

  18. solowd says:

    Even if Ubisoft is bullshitting about the workload associated with female animations, their basic reasoning is obvious: with the time they have left, they would rather work on features other than additional avatars. You can disagree with that decision, but pretending there are evil forces at work is ridiculous.

    And really, whatever problems there are with sexism in video games have nothing to do with the availability of female avatars.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Not just sexism alone – racism too.

      Look at the Watch Dogs, why the hell people don’t roll over this game for being racist as shit – I don’t know. Obviously it’s easier to keep in a safe zone of feminism.

  19. Tyrian says:

    Quantum: “a large quantity; bulk.”

    So you don’t know whether to believe the former animation lead who says it’ll be a large increase to the workload or the Far Cry 4 dev who says it’ll be a large increase to the workload?

    The only controversy I see here is rockpapershotgun becoming /r/TumblrInAction/

    • Shadowcat says:

      It’s funny because you’ve started with an incorrect definition, but one which would have made the article make sense (in its original wording); and then you completely mis-read the article in order to ensure that it still didn’t make sense for you :)

      (The paragraph in question actually was misleading, but for almost the complete opposite reasons to the ones you’ve stated :)

  20. kaloth says:

    The take-away from all this is that clearly the Assassins love the D. Look at their membership; total sausage-fest.
    Nothing wrong with that, but I think there’d be a whole lot less flack thrown Ubi’s way if they’d finally just out the Assassins as a gay-oriented organisation.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      That’s barely a secret. Few women involved in this group mostly about a bunch of guys running around getting really close to each other and pushing long hard things into other mens? Really.

      • Jannn says:

        Can’t wait for the giant dildo DLC. You know we want it Ubi, you know we all do want it really bad.

  21. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    Somebody from Valve management should tell us (and them) how they managed to have player & zombies of both genders in Left 4 Dead

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Most gamers I know of weren’t bothered about that then.
      Most gamers I know of don’t care about this now.

      • Xocrates says:

      • trjp says:

        When I played my first every video game (Prinztronic Pong) neither I, nor anyone else who played it, realised it could be Halo

        When I first read Enid Blyton, I had no idea it could have been Bukowski, Thompson, Dostoevsky

        Asking people what they want will never make anything interesting – will never change anything either.

        Ford once asked people what they wanted – and made the Mk4 Escort which is probably the worst car they ever made

        The key to making things successfully is making things no-one asked for but which everyone really wants ;0

    • HadToLogin says:

      Maybe because Valve made much better skeleton-work, where they can morph them with better effects?

      Or maybe because each survivor has their own anim set anyway, so they had to make 4 different sets of them anyway, or it didn’t took time to make one female?
      And maybe because they had to make female infected because it would look rather silly if there were none. But then Ubi made female NPCs too?

      Also, notice how there’s no female Hunters, Smokers, Jockeys, Chargers nor Tanks and there’s only ONE special infected that comes in both flavors (and looks exactly the same). I wonder why Valve didn’t made rest of them female.
      And, in versus, ” if you are the female [boomer], the hands will remain the same as the male even though the female’s hands are dark, black and don’t have boils” – so, Valve didn’t really took care about that stuff.

  22. Jannn says:

    Wrong, all wrong Ubi. You should have just pointed out the amount of hats, and you’d have come away even with including female characters.

    Like poll results have shown, as long as you include at least 10 extra hats for every playable female character, the money is safely going to your pockets.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      WAIT HOLD IT at least one of them must be ICONIC otherwise it does not work. Science.

  23. Premium User Badge

    9of9 says:

    I have the feeling that this isn’t so much making a mountain out of a molehill as just a lot of pent-up frustration at Ubisoft’s protagonists in general, finally erupting into this thing. To give them credit, they do generally do an okay job at ethnic diversity in comparison to most other developers, but the protagonists have all the same been awfully generically blokey in every game except for the Vita-tastic Liberation and I think that does spoil the experience for a lot of people. This is a good outlet for that. I agree that maybe if they just went with the Watch_Dogs stance of “You’re always playing Arno but unlike Watch_Dogs you can show off your stuff to other players,” that would’ve been a bit more understandable.

    But now that we’ve got an excuse to press the issue, I think it lets people tackle the fact that their new direction of ‘You’re always playing the whitebread protagonist’ is actually kinda really dull. Aiden Pierce was by every account an incredibly dull character and it makes the decision that you have to be playing Aiden all the time, no matter what, kinda mystifying, especially since the randomly assigned avatars you did get assigned in multiplayer were usually a lot more non-standard and fun.

    Amidst all the cries of “I’m a straight white male and I don’t have an issue with this!” I sometimes feel like I’m in a weirdly small minority, being a straight white guy who is profoundly bored with playing straight white guys and really fucking wishes they’d spice things up, or at least decide – as a company policy – to provide standardised character creation, Saint’s Row 3 style, across all their open-world games. They standardise way lousier mechanics across all their franchises, so maybe it’s about time they tackled something worthwhile.

    If they did, maybe I’d have actually given a shit about the protagonists and finished AC3, AC4 and Watch_Dogs rather than getting fed up of all the growly voices and square jaws.

    • Silenus says:

      Yeah, because the solution to badly written, generic white males, is generic, badly written black females.

      If their writers can’t write for shit, then they can’t write for shit. Changing the characters ethnicity, sex, or sexual preference isn’t going to do any good, and won’t suddenly make the protagonist a paragon of psychological complexity.

      The issue of boring, unimaginative characters is an issue of boring, unimaginative characters – not ‘diversity’, ‘representation’, ‘oppression’ or whatever banalities are passing for political discourse at the (sheltered, white, middle-class) SJW bingo.

      • Premium User Badge

        9of9 says:

        That’s a reasonably fair call – lack of diversity and bad writing are two separate, though linked, issues. Badly written female characters certainly don’t help and we’ve had our fair share of those too, they can’t all be Aveline.

        I guess my point is more from a personal and subjective point of view – it takes a lot more for me to find a straight male lead interesting because I’ve played so many, approached from so many directions, that there’s just a general fatigue come into play there. That doesn’t mean there’s not room for well-written male leads, but just for me personally, I find that it’s simply easier for a protagonist who’s outside the norm to catch my interest and attention and to hold it.

        Especially when it comes to player-generated characters, I feel like you get a lot more engagement out of those even with bad writing – they become much more malleable and you can project personality onto them that the game wouldn’t otherwise provide.

      • pepperfez says:

        But game characters don’t have to be paragons of psychological complexity, they just have to be interesting or fun to play. A lot of people (like the commenter you’re replying to, or me) have seen so much of the “gruff stubbled white dude” character that he isn’t interesting or fun anymore and we want to see something different. This isn’t a case of feminist politics getting in the way of better games, it’s a case of a desire for better games leading to the same demands as feminist politics.

  24. Gothnak says:

    We made a conscious decision to add a female choice of main character to a second game in a major franchise and it was a HUGE amount of work, primarily due to the morphing system which required completely different rigs, but any studio worth their reputation WILL redo all the animations for a character of a different sex. This amount of work was exactly why you can only play a man in the first iteration. A man does not walk, move or talk like a woman, so it being ‘a couple of days work’ on a game with as many detailed animations as Ass Creed is rather unlikely imo (Having not worked on their project i obviously have to make an educated guess, but after 19 years in the industry, it is educated). Also, put a woman in a story situation and she will get different reactions from NPCs and potentially has different options for progressing past different challenges within it, all which needs designing and implementing.

    As a designer however, my bigger concern is that a company wants to make a game about some male characters and a bunch of people are outraged that they can’t play a woman. Well, maybe, for them, the story just works better when playing as a man. Much like Tomb Raider works better as a woman.

    if it’s just the multiplayer, then sure, the story argument goes out the window, but the work argument becomes even more valid, as it is only for a much smaller section of the game, why make a bunch of new anims just for a feature played by a small % of the customer base? (I refer to multiplayer players here, not women!)

    This comment is from someone who has worked on one of the most female/gay/animal friendly franchises in history not an angry internet troll.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      +1. To everything he says.

    • Simes says:

      As someone who’s worked in games, is it possible to re-use rigs from one title to the next or do they constantly need to be rebuilt?

      • Gothnak says:

        Yes, it is certainly possible. However, you need to bear a number of things in mind:

        Firstly, do you want this character to do MORE than the last character, are there new things that the old rig is just not good enough for, in which case, throw it away, start again.

        Also, perhaps you ‘have’ used the same rig for 2 games now, and Players will start to notice the same animations in a third game. Throw it away, start again.

        Finally, perhaps you are on a new platform, or so many years have past that you are now using a new engine, which requires a new animation pipeline which invariably requires a new rig.. Guess what, throw it away, and start again.

        Be aware that in games development any of these can also happen mid-project, which is always fun.

        • Simes says:

          Thanks. I did think this would probably be the case. I think in this instance they might have been able to get away with re-using the rigs from Liberation, as that was only one title and it is only for the co-op (which are side missions, apparently, rather than the entire story) but obviously an engine change might have made that difficult/impossible.

          • GameCat says:

            I didn’t played AC4 and AC3 (only a few minutes at friend’s PC), but Unity clearly have new set of animations, so adding animations from that Vita (that’s also thing worth noticing – these animations was probably less detailed than in other ACs) game would be bad idea. You would need make many changes to them and probably you would end at doing everything from scratch.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Would that second game, by any chance, involve gangsters, made by a studio which is best known in some parts of the world for being involved with spaceships?

      (Just asking).

    • Shooop says:

      Nobody seemed to mind the repeated things in other AssCreed games to effect their sales in any meaningful way.

  25. Deano2099 says:

    I find it vaguely interesting that the two main god characters in the Assassin’s Creed mythology, Juno and Minerva, are both women. The other member of the Capitoline Triad (the mythology from which it’s taken) is Jupiter, the only male member of the triad, and who is very much down-played in the AC story-line, despite being ‘king of the gods’ – there was a conscious decision made there to focus instead of the other two members of the triad.

    Doesn’t forgive all the rest but worth noting isn’t it?

  26. Stromko says:

    I’m glad there’s issues like this during E3 to distract from the disgustingly mercenary marketing blitz being rammed down our throats on every gaming site. This is a perfect counterpoint to all the meatless interviews and teasers getting posted here and elsewhere.

    Gender issues are actually important in our society. AssBro 7 or whatever they’re at now, is not important. Oh wow 4-player co-op, did they have to get high on peyote and take a spirit journey to come down from the mountain with that pearl of originality?

  27. jalf says:

    I haven’t really followed this, but what’s so special about Unity? An awful lot of games have no playable female characters. Why is this particular game causing such an outrage over it? Is it just Ubisoft’s waffling over how to “defend” it?

    Also, diversity is important, and yes, I am getting sick of the “white male by default in every game ever” approach that AAA games seem to have. But I really don’t follow this argument at all:

    I appreciate there’s more work involved, but it’d simply make more sense to have every player be a different character – and in that instance, not including options beyond white guy is indefensible.

    As I understand it, they chose not to have different character models *at all*. Yes, *if* they had been willing to go the extra mile of having multiple character models in the first place, *then* I would certainly have expected some diversity in the available characters, and if they’d all been white males, that would have been disappointing. But they didn’t. They have only one model; the main character.

    Having a group of characters with no diversity would be grounds for an outcry.
    But having one character, and just duplicating that as necessary has little to do with diversity or lack thereof.

    It sounds like you’re wishing for a feature they didn’t implement (multiple different characters), *and* then preemptively attacking them for the assumption that “*if* you had implemented this feature, you would probably have done it wrong”

    What am I missing here?

    • Simes says:

      Consider this game a proxy for the entire game industry, if you like.

      • jalf says:

        That doesn’t really help me.

        As I said, I am puzzled as to why this particular game is being chosen as a proxy for the industry. I recognize the industry’s problems, but I am wondering what happened with this game to spur this outrage against *it* specifically. (And no, I’m not saying that it’s unfair to pick on this game, I’m just wondering what I missed, that triggered it)

        My other, mostly unrelated point, is that it seems weird to take a game which has *one* playable character model, and complain that it doesn’t have an appropriate amount of diversity. A game which had multiple characters, and no diversity between them, would deserve criticism. If they were willing to create multiple models, but not willing to let some of them be anything other than white males, that would have been pretty bad.

        But a game where they made the simple decision that “we’ll make the one character we absolutely need for the singleplayer game, and then reuse it for co-op, even if it means having every player run around with the exact same character model” has little to do with excluding women, and little to do with diversity.

        When you make the decision to create just one single character, you can’t have diversity, and criticism that one single person is not “diverse enough” is just nonsense. Diversity is a property of gruops, not individuals. And this game doesn’t have a group of character models.

        Not wanting to create new assets for co-op just means that they don’t think co-op is important enough to spend resources on. It doesn’t mean they hate women.

        There are so many other games which, unless I’m missing something, seem far more worthy of all this criticism. There are so many games which make the decision that “we’re going to create lots of character models for the player to choose between. But they’re all going to be white men — except for the one token black guy”.

        Compared to that, Unity’s crime of “we can’t be arsed to create new models for co-op, so we’ll reuse what we already had” seems to miss the mark.

        • Premium User Badge

          9of9 says:

          I think I can explain. The timeline of events is important here.

          The first gameplay that Ubisoft showed off during the Microsoft conference of Assassin’s Creed 5: Unity featured the main character (presumed to be Arno) cooperating with three other very similar-looking but slightly distinct dudes who joined in with him for the coop multiplayer.

          Assassin’s Creed multiplayer has always, always had a wide variety of character appearances to choose from, including a plethora of female assassins.

          Then, I guess someone asked the question and one of the Ubisoft guys replied that no, the coop doesn’t have any female characters because that would have been too much work. At this point the shitstorm broke out. The shitstorm was not about why is there a male protagonist, but simply about why does the multiplayer mode not have female playable characters, when multiplayer modes for Assassin’s Creed have always had female characters.

          Now, since then, they’ve clarified a little and explained that the reason that there are no female characters is because that everyone locally sees themselves playing as Arno, the male protagonist, in the same way that Watch_Dogs multiplayer works. However, unlike Watch_Dogs, where people see the other players as completely random NPCs, in Assassin’s Creed they wanted you to be able to show off your character’s customisation in clothes, armour etc. so all the multiplayer assassins look just like the protagonist, but with different faces.

          This is, arguably, a bit more reasonable and while it still sucks, it’s likely that it would not have provoked as much of a reaction if that was their original answer. However, at this point the cat is out of the bag and likely won’t go back in again easily.

          The reason it’s going to be hard to quell, I think, is because there’s a general fatigue over the overabundance of male characters in games and in Ubisoft games in particular, which a lot of people would like to see changed. The original wording of basically saying that it would be too much work is inflammatory and regardless of the other design decisions, people see that as being the fundamental truth at the core. It’s a case of a poor choice of response to a relatively small design decision triggering a pent-up wave of industry-wide dissatisfaction. Hope that helps clear things up a bit.

          • Globragzu says:

            “The reason it’s going to be hard to quell, I think, is because there’s a general fatigue over the overabundance of male characters in games and in Ubisoft games in particular, which a lot of people would like to see changed.”

            I think you’re presuming too much there from a few “outraged” writers and a dozen of comments building your own narrative, Assassin’s Creed IV, which was released 10 months ago sold over 10 million copies, that’s hardly a sign of “fatigue”. Most people have absolutely no problem with the main character.

            If anything I’m feeling kind of fatigued with the Assassin’s Creed series in its entirety, but the French revolution and the CoOp Mode might make me reconsider yet.

            In contrary by the way, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD was released merely 5 months ago on all major platforms (including Steam) and costs only $20.

            It has a black female main character and nobody gave a shit about the game, including me selling under a million copies.

            So they are doing something right.

            I also find it funny that they tried the same thing with GTA V not too long ago, but RockStar and Take Two likely couldn’t stop laughing over the billions they pulled in: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2014/05/13/grand-theft-auto-5-has-sold-nearly-2-billion-at-retail/

            It’s very telling (and hilarious) that people compare games like GTA V and Assassin’s Creed: Unity with Saint’s Row IV as a “positive example” when Assassin’s Creed will likely sell 10 times the numbers going by the previous one and GTA V sold over 33 times as much and hasn’t even released on PC and Next Gen yet: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/gta-5-ships-33-million-copies-as-take-two-posts-record-annual-profit/1100-6419609/

            I’ll Pre-Order it and Assassin’s Creed: Unity too btw. since I don’t give much of a shit about this “issue” and for the companies I’m inclined to believe that actual money changing hands will tell them more about what I like to see than whining on Twitter and a few articles on a Blog.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Robbobin says:

    I’d be really upset if everyone called me a misogynist for choosing to write a story with only male protagonists. By all means be critique the narrative they’re presenting but it hardly constitutes misogyny… And anyway, I’d personally respond a lot more positively to “hey guy, we’re actually a little bored of all of the white male leads in all your stories, could you try mixing it up?” than “YOUR GAMES ARE SEXIST. IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND DESIST IN REPRESSING A GENDER.”

    As for them fucking up their initial statement does anyone actually give a shit about what the press team for a huge dev actually says? It’d be great if people could stop pretending that those sorts of people have any sort of connection with the actual development of the game and were anything besides spin-doctors.

    Just let the artists art (then give them scathing critiques if/when they keep producing boring characters) :(

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      “I’d be really upset if everyone called me a misogynist for choosing to write a story with only male protagonists.”

      Well, good thing Alec didn’t call anyone misogynist?

      • Premium User Badge

        Robbobin says:

        Good thing I wasn’t responding specifically to Alec, but rather those who react that way.

        Everyone’s really quick to deride people in these comments, jeez.

    • theanorak says:

      Unfortunately it wasn’t the press team who said the initial “too much work” response that got everyone vexed. It was the creative director, with some detail from a level designer on the game.

      In many ways, it would have been easier if it *was* a member of the press team. As either they would have said “er, I’ll have to check” and ran away to organise the party line, or could have mea culpa’d it with a “sorry, it is extra work but I misunderstood; my bad”.

  29. Drake32x says:

    There is no ‘controversy’.

    Feminists want you to be up in arms about the ‘less women’ in video games.

    Guys only want female protagonists for 1 of 3 reasons:

    Reason 1: You want to customize a slutty chick to stare at her breasts and butt all day long.
    Reason 2: You wish you were the girl you are trying to make.
    Reason 3: You are trying to pretend to be a girl to hit on guys.

    Most girls don’t care whether or not the main character is a guy. (MOST)

    2 more points.

    The writer makes a story.. do you think they care whether or not you want their protagonist to be a male or female? No they do not. They want to make a great story, flesh it out and release it so you to can enjoy it.

    There are thousands of games with faceless, emotionless, pointless protagonists who if they switched out no one would notice it… examples: (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls etc etc)

    Why can’t any of you just look at the new games they come out with and be all, “wow, that’s a great step up from the previous game!”

    or

    “I should send them letters or emails telling them what kind of game I’d like to see!”

    Why do any of you care whether or not the character is male, female, black, white, pink, blue.. has four eyes, 10 eyes or sixty arms?

    They could just cancel the game and say, “Screw it, what’s the point?”

    There are a handful of you who are childish enough to get a game canceled just because it wasn’t made ‘your way.’

    I for one, am happy to see that these companies are still making games that are pushing gameplay and visual quality instead of repeating bad clones and faceless characters in favor of ‘public opinion.’

    Don’t get me wrong, I think an opinion should count.

    However, when that opinion is over gender or skin color instead of what features should be added or new elements you want.. this shows what direction our mindset is going.

    Both of their arguments are valid. They wouldn’t ‘just be adding a female avatar.’
    They would be re-modeling and re-animating the character along with re-skinning it as well. This takes time and effort.. it is 100 times easier to just change the face of the other 3 to make production time faster.

    If you want a female avatar.. flood them with emails telling them you don’t mind waiting another year to play this game. Tell them you want 3 other characters, one black, one white and 2 of them female to make it into this game. Insist you’d be willing to wait to play this game until it is done instead of whining on forums about ‘how unfair it is.’

    While your at it.. tell them to add modding support. That would be more useful… then people can just mod in Angeline Jolie or Chuck Norris as a companion.

    • karthink says:

      Guys only want female protagonists for 1 of 3 reasons:

      Reason 1: You want to customize a slutty chick to stare at her breasts and butt all day long.
      Reason 2: You wish you were the girl you are trying to make.
      Reason 3: You are trying to pretend to be a girl to hit on guys.

      That appears to say a lot more about you than “guys”.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        AFAIK there were studies made on a topic and what he said pretty much sums up the results.

      • Globragzu says:

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/05/13/world_of_warcraft_gender_switching_why_men_choose_female_avatars.html

        “It gets stranger. The lead author of the paper, Rosa Martey at Colorado State University, told me via email that “it’s not necessarily the case that men are trying to appear female when they use a female avatar. Our interviews did not suggest that those who switched were trying to ‘pretend’ to be women players.

        In fact, it’s all about the butts. Because players see their avatars from a third-person perspective from behind, men are confronted with whether they want to stare at a guy’s butt or a girl’s butt for 20 hours a week. Or as the study authors put it in more academic prose, gender-switching men “prefer the esthetics of watching a female avatar form.” This means that gender-switching men somehow end up adopting a few female speech patterns even though they had no intention of pretending to be a woman.

        For most men it is indeed about T&A.

        • pepperfez says:

          Obviously they choose their avatar based on aesthetic preferences? That’s, first, not at all the same as “Guys only care about T&A,” and, second, almost trivially true. What else but aesthetic preference is at work in choosing an avatar? And, in fact, it’s exactly the point in the AssCreed discussion: I’m sick of always looking like this guy in games, give me something else.

    • Gothnak says:

      I like the idea of them releasing the tools to allow the community to make their own female character. Then they’d be able to see the huge amount of work involved and the whole argument would disappear in an instant.

      The rest of your post, not so much.. ;)

    • noodlecake says:

      I think you’re trivializing a serious issue. The media shapes all of our values whether we like to think so or not, so children growing up who play video games will be wondering why their gender never gets to be the hero and why they can’t play as a girl, and the natural deduuction is that “women aren’t heroes, men are.”

      Also, y’know, you can do a lot of interesting stuff with a female character that you can’t really do with a typical male character in terms of how they think and problems solve and react to situations.

      And then yeah, it’d just be cool to be a woman in a game more. I loved being Ellie in the Last of Us. I enjoyed being Jodie in Beyond Two Souls (despite it being pretty flawed).

      It shouldn’t be the big deal that it is when a gamer happens to have a female lead character, but it’s situations like this that make it such a big deal. If women even represented 25% of video game protagonists I think we wouldn’t be having this conversation any more.

  30. Evil Pancakes says:

    I have no doubt in the sincerity of the words from the developers, at least the part about wanting to add female characters.
    However, I’m pretty sure some manager type at some level has these statistics that say female characters do not improve sales, or may even decrease sales. Therefore, best not to spend any resources for something that does not improve the bottom line.
    That is all it boils down to. If they had the statistics to prove that including playable female characters improved sales, you bet your ass they would be all over that. Which is a rather sad reality.

    • Gothnak says:

      Both you and the next commentator both guess at the same thing, and are both wrong.

      Female characters DO increase sales, certainly not by 50% but yes, they do help. However, games have a budget and the costs of adding a female character are significant dependent on the game and I can’t think of a game where animation would be more costly than Ass Creed.

      So, a businessman (or woman) probably tots up the cost and time (remember games have to hit schedules) vs potential profit and the axe falls on the female character.

      Do a female character in a game with terrible animation such as WoW, cheap as chips.

      • derbefrier says:

        “Female characters DO increase sale”

        source please. I think you just made that up

        also just increasing sales isn’t enough. they have to increase enough o make up for the overhead and still result in a profit.

        • Gothnak says:

          We made a game with a male protagonist, we made a sequel with a choice of male and female protagonist, the % of female players raised significantly.

          Obviously that isn’t cast iron scientific proof, but it is as close as you can get in real life situations.

          • derbefrier says:

            so percent of female players rose but did over all sales increase?

            meh i guess i’ll let it go its obvious you are just guessing.

          • Gothnak says:

            Well, i didn’t mention it, but yes, the number of total sales increased too, but that could have also been because of the platform, more advertising, a larger number of gamers etc… But I believe the significant % rise in female gamers playing our franchise was partly due to the ability to play as a female character.

            I’m sure you personally might say it wasn’t, that is your prerogative.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            Well, that’s great then.
            But then again, that is just one example for one particular game. Regardless of whether having a female protagonist, or just female player characters, really do increase sales, some manager type at Ubi may still have “solid” statistics that claim otherwise. Probably something stupid like: here we have two similar games, Tomb Raider (2013) and Uncharted 3. Tomb Raider has a female protagonist, Uncharted a male. Uncharted sold better, even when exclusive to PS3. Therefore, female protagonists sell worse. (as you may infer, I do not have a high opinion of manager types.)
            All I am saying is that it all comes down to money, whether the cost is worth the gain, regardless whether including female characters makes it a better game. (and I think including the option to play as whatever gender you please makes it better, in co-op MP at least)

          • Gothnak says:

            Mr (Or Mrs) Evil pancakes, i believe we are talking at slightly cross purposes. I have NOT said switching a male character to a female character would increase sales, far from it, it would likely drop sales. I said that allowing the player to also choose a female character has increased sales for us.

            That said, i have also mentioned in the threads that creating a female version of a character in AC would be a significant cost and that the manager (whoever they may be) has likely balanced cost (and time) of an alternate character outweighing the benefits of said character.

            I was arguing with the original poster who said ‘adding the option of a female character does NOT increase sales’ when i have worked on a franchise which the opposite is true.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            I’m not really disagreeing with you here, and I am that original poster.
            What I said was that some manager type at Ubi most likely has statistics which suggest no significant increase in sales by allowing players to choose between playing male or female. My point is that, most likely, because this difference is too low they do no bother with investing the time and money required to add this feature. Even though they have a massive budget and adding a couple hundred thousand to add female player characters would be a relatively minor investment for them, and it would please a significant portion of their audience.
            Which is entirely within their rights as a developer/publisher, but I can still criticise them for that position.

  31. kwyjibo says:

    What Ubisoft would like to do, is just say, “fuck it, we know no one really cares, we’re going to rake in the money nonetheless.” I think Ubisoft will try the silent treatment next, just not comment on it at all.

    If they included female protagonists, will they sell any more games? Probably not. By the time the games come out, this will all be forgotten in a pile of marketing, and the games press will be back to the cheerful 9/10 GOTY demeanour.

  32. Jason Moyer says:

    I don’t understand why devs don’t use more female protagonists in games. I don’t think I’ve ever cared at all about the gender of whomever I’m playing in a videogame. I’ve certainly never bought a game because it had a male lead or hated a game because it had a female lead. No One Lives Forever 1/2, Mirror’s Edge, and Remember Me are 4 of the 40-ish games I keep perma-installed on my PC because I love them so much. In games that offer a choice, I often choose a female avatar if there’s a gameplay reason for it (such as the rogue in Torchlight). Is there a segment of the gaming market, male or otherwise, who are actually turned away from a game because the main character is a woman? I’m not a feminist or a white knight or whatever, I just don’t see why women get the, er, shaft in games.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s a piece of received wisdom that’s become self-proving: None of the most profitable games have female protagonists! We’d better not have a female protagonist or we won’t be profitable. [repeat]

  33. Scrooge McDuck says:

    So the face can change, but it doesn’t count as being a different character? Is Arno secretly the latest guise for Jaqen H’ghar? Everyone absolutely has to be Arno in co-op for important plot reasons, even though they won’t necessarily look like Arno? And the suspension of disbelief required for the character to have a different face can’t extend to them appearing to be a different gender?

    I’m not sure you’re understanding him correctly. You play as Arno. You always play as Arno. His face is Arno’s face. When you play co-op, you are still the same Arno, helped by three other assassins with different, not-Arno faces. However, you would actually appear as a not-Arno to other players.

    There is no narrative dissonance here. As far as everybody is concerned, the co-op missions are always about Arno and his three companions.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the issue here is the lack of playable representation, right? Is there any point, then, in having a female representation you would never see yourself?

  34. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    Umm, there’s like only one protagonist in this. The other three are just faceless avatars of the same character in co-op. I think people don’t realize this. Its not like they added 3 new characters with backstories.

    Overreaction as usual.

  35. PopeRatzo says:

    Did you realize you could make a blog post hipper by adding at least one word with the suffix “bro-”?

    #NotAllGamers

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      That’s a prefix.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        For you maybe, with your cis-normal lexical construction.

        This is what I’m talking about. How come none of the Assassin’s Creed co-op characters are dyslexic? And before you start agreeing with me, I just want you to know that becoming my ally will only make me hate you more.

        I can’t stand your kind of performative linguistic chauvinism.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I’m not done with you. Do you realize that putting prefixes on the beginning of a word and suffixes on the end is an artifact of patriarchal colonialism? It is dehumanizing trigger to correct me because I choose otherwise.

        • Raiyan 1.0 says:

          Are you usually this tedious?

          • PopeRatzo says:

            I notice none of the Assassin’s Creed Unity co-op characters are tedious.

            Oh wait…

  36. ZaD says:

    I see that there is only one woman in the RPS staff’, and she joined less than 3 months ago while the blog is 7 years old.
    Are you sexist as well ?

    • InternetBatman says:

      Cara Ellison, Alice O’Connor, Cassandra Khaw, occasionally Leigh Alexander (who I honestly doubt anyone could lure away from her current job), and Porpentine.

    • karthink says:

      What do you mean, “as well”?

  37. Bull0 says:

    It’s just a frustrating missed opportunity. As has been said elsewhere when you’re at the point that there are 4 white male player characters you’re sort of taking the piss. But that’s the extent of my problem with it, and I do still hold out hope that it’ll get better with time. It’s not like there are no games with female leads. It’s just a shame when they had 4 slots they opted for this bizarre “Let’s all be interchangeable white guys” approach.

    I guess my only “I don’t care” bit about this is deconstructing the developer PR gaffes, because it’s frankly more interesting at this point when developers handle this kind of thing well than when they fuck it up. They can be relied upon to say something stupid – they’re developers. Maybe it’s just because I work with programmers but yeah, I’m more interested in the product than the he-said-she-said that goes with it. Just my 2p

    • fish99 says:

      There aren’t 4 white male characters though, they’re all the same character. As far as I understand it, on your screen you are always Arno, you cannot play as anyone else. Then in co-op it changes the faces of the other 3 Arnos because obviously it would look silly if they were all clones. Now sure they could have made some of the co-op models female, but that wouldn’t have let you play as a female character.

      Also if you were playing this co-op with someone you knew, and they told you that your character was female on their screen, that would seem odd to you since your character on your screen was the default male Arno.

      • Bull0 says:

        I understand that perfectly, because I read the article and I know that they’re not all distinct “characters” to use the term in your narrow, prescriptive way. So, OK, sub out “Character” for “Avatar” and read my post again. Making some of them appear female wouldn’t change anything except for the better. I reject this idea of it “being weird” if your friend tells you you’re a girl on their screen, when you’re Arno on your screen, as no more “weird” than being told you’re Pierre or Jean-Luc or whatever on their screen when you’re Arno on your screen. They could’ve, and should’ve, made at least one of them female, and they couldn’t be arsed. No justification exists. End of story.

        • fish99 says:

          ..but Alec is complaining that you should be able to *play* a female character. And the problem there is (again, as I understand it, I may be wrong) the co-op is blended seamlessly into the single player campaign, so you would have to go from playing male Arno in the story missions to suddenly playing a female character who is still supposed to be Arno, and then back to male Arno when the co-op mission ends.

          Also does it really matter what gender your character appear to be on someone else’s screen, if it’s always male on your screen?

  38. Eukatheude says:

    The real issue here is people spending time and effort on a meaningless avatar, proudly believing they are actually doing something to help fix gender disparity.

    Meanwhile horrible stuff happens daily in India (just the first to came to mind, not a specific attack on them) and I doubt you really give a shit.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      Where does a writer for a games blog wield even the slightest power to actually apply pressure to change something? Where does he not? Ohhhhh, oh wow!

      • Simes says:

        Don’t worry, there will always be concern trolls coming along to tell us that what we’re currently talking about isn’t as important as something we’re not currently talking about.

      • Eukatheude says:

        You make a fair point. But this is still ridiculous nonetheless. I’m sure all those women will feel better when inevitably a female character is added.

        Also, why the hell did my avatar just change.

        EDIT: Simes, has it crossed your mind that the argument “but real women are being oppressed in the real world” has been used several times, even by the site’s staff, to justify loudly protesting about the genitalia of virtual characters?
        If you do care about women, do something concrete about it. Ranting on a games site’s comment section is not.
        I frankly don’t give a shit if an european woman feels offended by not being able to play as her sex.
        I do give a shit however about women who are raped and killed in perfect legality around the world.

        Very well, continue talking about what you are talking about, but may I call you an hypocrite and a buffoon. Enjoy your day.

        • Simes says:

          Did it ever cross *your* mind that it’s possible to care about, and even act upon, multiple things without dragging them into every discussion that’s about something else? I care about representation. I also care about people being raped and murdered, and I care about the ever-widening gap between rich and poor across the globe. What I don’t do is attempt to derail or minimise a discussion about one topic by pointing out that someone else is having a worse time. Keep on trolling, though.

          • Eukatheude says:

            Right. So if it is my opinion that this discussion is pointless, I have no right to express it?

            If I were trolling you, like you accused me of twice, you couldn’t tell. If you could tell, you wouldn’t be answering seriously like you are. So you either are a tool, or need to look up the definitions of the words you use.

            By the way, what you’re saying is that talking about misrepresentation of women, or objectification of women in this particular medium, has nothing to do with actual abuse taking place? I though the topic here was gender disparity.

            You know, whatever. I’ve wasted enough time already.

          • Simes says:

            “This isn’t important because someone else is having a worse time” is blatant derailment. You’re right, though, it’s not concern trolling, so I apologise for mischaracterising the nature of your attempt to derail the argument.

            By the way, what you’re saying is that talking about misrepresentation of women, or objectification of women in this particular medium, has nothing to do with actual abuse taking place? I though the topic here was gender disparity.

            Nah, that’s not what I said. Good thing what I actually said is right there on the screen.

        • noodlecake says:

          So what you’re basically saying is:

          “Sexism in the west should be completely ignored because there is worse sexism in other places”

          Yes, but the fact that men have more rights and are better represented by a huge proportion in almost every aspect of the media, especially video games is something we should do something about, right?

          “No! Sexism in other countries is worse!!”

          • djtim says:

            “but the fact that men have more rights and are better represented by a huge proportion in almost every aspect of the media, especially video games”

            Emotion aside, is that actually true though? Western laws, particularly in the country I live in, are almost perfectly equal and in cases where they are not, tend to cede more rights to women. Representation in media is also harder to prove, for example outside of what you probably percieve as mainstream gaming, there’s a whole other world of casual gaming that has more of femine representation (just judging by player numbers), that dwarfs the sold copies of console games.

            So what you’re basically saying is:
            “Sexism in the west should be completely ignored because there is worse sexism in other places”

            I think the more pertinent point is while working towards equality of the sexes is a noble goal, people have to better pick their battles. Focusing on an issue that appears to be divisive seems to do little but harm the progress for equality as it seems to force a vast number of people to take a side against ‘the argument for equality’ and that isn’t the desired outcome.

          • Eukatheude says:

            Thank you, djtim.

          • pepperfez says:

            We have facially neutral laws reinforcing sexist norms: Women are payed much less than men on average, have tragicomically poor representation in political office, and in the US at least are being demonized for receiving comprehensive healthcare. To claim that sexism is dead is absurd.

  39. GameQB11 says:

    And then they get to make a BIG deal about adding a female character, complete with its own trailer and be touted as an awesome new feature !!!!

    Its a win/win for them really.

  40. Premium User Badge

    Hypocee says:

    The Brink team got nailed on this and in their case it came down to voices, of all things. MP barks have to be instantly accessible so they all float around in RAM uncompressed, which turns out to take up space the consoleboxes can’t remotely provide. In the end they had I think eight voices to play with and had to choose between women soldiers and the presence of nonwhite people in their melting pot of refugees from around the world.

    If ACU’s MP avatars all use the same voice, and the barks system is at least as extensive as Brink’s attempt at a revolutionary communication mechanism, then maybe they can jump to that reason next. Though of course if it were true they’d be saying it now.

  41. altum videtur says:

    I dream of a world wherein everything is white males.
    Everything.
    The roads are paved with the bones of White Mens. The buildings raised from the spines of White Mens past. The clothing the White Mens (who are legion, for they are many) wear are also White Mens.The air is tinted White Male. The water is water. But it tastes like White Mens.
    In the heavens are suspended the eyes of the Ur-Him, The Man Himself. They never blink. They are the measure of all Mens; of the Mens that Are, that they are his, of the Mens that Are Not, that they too shall be. Forever.

    … I have absolutely no idea what I was trying to convey there. I think I may have slipped into a trance or something. I’m scared now :I

  42. leandrombraz says:

    The coop doesn’t offer any customization option aside from what you bring from SP. Why people think that Ubisoft isn’t allowed to do something generic based on the protagonist if they want to is beyond me. I would love to see a major AC with a woman as protagonist (AC Ember’s Chinese assassin would be awesome =D), but I feel sorry for people doing all this noise over this coop mode. It’s purposely generic, nobody will have any kind of custom avatar, why in the name of god they should add a gender option if they want to keep it as a representation of Arno? Give me a break…

    We need more good female characters, we need more female protagonist, we don’t need to force developers to add customization options in a mode that doesn’t have customization option, merely to add a generic female avatar to the damn thing.

  43. Psymon says:

    Side stepping the male/female aspect for a moment, what really grinds my gears is the whole ‘extra work load’ for the studio employing thousands with astronomical budgets, when the single man team working on overgrowth have made procedural animations that allow for any shape of character to be instantly added to the game and work fine.
    The big budget studios have got a huge problem with how they work and need to be re evaluated from the ground up.
    However, I know it won’t change as long as the mass general public pay up without question.

    • GameCat says:

      ” when the single man team working on overgrowth have made procedural animations that allow for any shape of character to be instantly added to the game and work fine.”
      No, magical animation systems like that doesn’t exist. Even proffesional animation apps like Cinema 4D doesn’t have automatic RIGGING the bones to a model that would work fine just after one click.
      And Overgrowth is in development since when? 2008? And it’s still not released. That’s 6 fucking years and counting. Overkill for game with AAA budget.

      • Psymon says:

        I welcome you to peruse their blog.
        http://www.wolfire.com/
        There are many videos of them explaining their work.

      • Gothnak says:

        This conversation is like me going to an F1 forum and explaining why McLaren are in the doldrums and what they should do to make their car better.

        If you don’t work in the industry, then you don’t know the huge number of reasons why things are why they are, and why for the games that are being made, they are in general the correct decisions. If you want a female character you design it in from the ground up, not complete the male character and convert over to a female rig, that would be rubbish!

        The example you give is an indie game with anthropomorphised animals with a small number of base animations and with low animation fidelity and completely unrealistic behaviours and abilities. Compare this to a multi million dollar project with super high realism in their animations and a huge number of interactions, gameplay and behaviours and you’ll understand the requirements of the animation quality are completely different and therefore the same solution is just not viable.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Wolfire does have some pretty great ideas on procedural animation:

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/216973/Video_An_indie_approach_to_procedural_animation.php

      … but those concepts don’t exactly transfer over to any game just like that, especially not one as dependent on huge amounts of custom animation as Assassin’s Creed, even if they’ve gone heavier on the procedural elements in recent iterations.

  44. cunningmunki says:

    Hang on, how do we know they’re not all girls? They’re all wearing skirts, for a start, and I swear one of them has some lippy on.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      The one second to the left is transgendered, and in the calculus of hipster political correctness, that counts for double.

  45. P-Dazzle says:

    I bet Jade Raymond (Ubisofts managing director) and Lesley Phord-Toy (Producer on Assassins Creed Unity) are laughing their heads off at this article and the ones like it.
    Oh they are both women you know :D

  46. Tei says:

    They already explained in detail that it was a production issue.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  47. Phantom_Renegade says:

    As long as they don’t fix their mission design, they can put all the women characters they want into the game, I still won’t buy it. I’ve never been so frustrated after playing a game then by playing Watch Dogs. Let alone the lackluster, sexist story, where women seem to only exist to be kidnapped or murdered or victimized in some other way, the crappy mission design where deviating a tiny milimeter from what the devs want is grounds for a mission fail, where you get forced into gun fights even though you die after taking three bullets, where you have to parkour even though Aiden sucks at parkour, where you have to be stealthy even though Aiden sucks at stealth, there are no hiding places like in AC and there are no silent distanced takedowns like ac had with the blowdarts, I found out that no matter how many studio’s you put on a game (10 or so?) If the lead is a derivative lazy hack, the game will be shit regardless.

    Unity might look pretty, might be huge, but if the mission structure is still the same copy paste mess it’s been for the last 5-6 years, I just don’t care. Ubisofts crappy attitude towards women is only eclipsed by their ineptitude in actually making a fun game.

  48. Laurentius says:

    I think RPS did the right thing reporting this and standing strongly on “more diviersity” in games side, yet I can’t help but feel a bit strange knowing that when UBIsoft made a game with female lead – AC:Liberation, and it’s not handheld game (it’s avaliable on PC !!! ), noone on RPS was interested enough to play it and write WIT…

    • Aleenik says:

      Maybe no one wanted to play it cuz it’s a port of a Vita game? Yes, a Vita game.

      • Laurentius says:

        So what ?
        RPS reports and reviews tons of ported games of different quality from consoles to mobiles.

        • Aleenik says:

          I said nothing about RPS not reviewing, though obviously they don’t review even close to anything as that is impossible. So I’m not exactly sure what your point is there. As for my post, I was specifically talking about why not many people played it. It isn’t exactly a popular game on PC.

      • Lex says:

        And we all know, Vita games are no real games because … reasons.

  49. MkMax says:

    just put boobs on one and be done with it, both sides are getting on my nerves

    who cares anyway, they might as well being armed drones or aliens, the story during coop will only be on the enemy’s side since taking control of the players for the sake of exposition would be extra annoying during multiplayer

    can you even choose a character ? they all look like generic hooded guy to me

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Don’t you realize that the type of genitals you have means absolutely EVERYTHING?

  50. Enterprise2448 says:

    Oh god, they did it again.

    The Assassins are male because assassins were historically male.
    And still are. Predominantly. So are soldiers and the like. This dumb feminism just keeps going dumber and dumber.

    • Aleenik says:

      What? You are completely ignorant of the topic. One of the most well known assassins from the era was a woman. Men have not always dominated everything like you seem to think.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Corday

      • Piecewise says:

        And she’ll probably show up as an NPC like the female pirates in Black Flag. You don’t play as historical characters in AC, you play as blank faced angry men who all look similar. They tried a female lead already and that game undersold. You honestly expect the lumbering giant that is Ubisoft to take a risk?

        • Lex says:

          Liberation undersold because the Vita was not the main demographic for AssCreed games and not because of the female lead… That’S WIT at least.

      • P-Dazzle says:

        Uhhh, she was caught and executed.

        • Lex says:

          It would not surprise me if one of the missions in game would let you change that part of history … or that this woman is actually your mentor or trainer of sorts…

        • Aleenik says:

          Ok? Many assassins or would-be assassins are caught. She was a real life person, not an invincible video game character.

          • P-Dazzle says:

            They can’t base a game on a women that did 1 assassination before being caught and executed.

    • Lanfranc says:

      That is absolutely true. The secret order of assassins that use alien technology to recreate the experiences of dead people have predominantly been male. That’s just an historical fact. Because history. :-|