Ubisoft made headlines at E3 earlier this week not so much for what they had in their upcoming games, but for what they didn’t have.
Ubisoft developers in charge of the company’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity, the latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, said that there would be no female playable characters in the four-play coop game because that would be too much for the hundreds of workers employed at the nine development studios that are currently working on the game.
“Again, it’s not a question of philosophy or choice in this case at all I don’t really [inaudible] it was a question of focus and a question of production,” said technical director, James Therien, speaking to VideoGamer.
“Yes, we have tonnes of resources, but we’re putting them into this game, and we have huge teams, nine studios working on this game and we need all of these people to make what we are doing here.”
Isn’t choosing to cut out female characters instead of anything else to keep “focus” a kind of philosophy, though?
Assassin’s Creed: Unity will take players to the French Revolution where a group of up to four people can enjoy stabbing rich and pompous political and economic elites before leaving their bodies to be mangled by the violent revolutionary mobs.
The game will star Arno, and three other variations of Arno with different clothing.
But the lack of any female playable characters is odd given the fact that women played hugely influential roles in the French Revolution. And the fact that it’s been established in the game’s fictional history that women were allowed to be assassins since the 12th century.
Take Charlotte Corday for example, who gained infamy after assassinating journalist, political and one of the leaders of the Reign of Terror, Jean-Paul Marat with a kitchen knife.
Since then, Corday has been immortalized by two master painters of the era, with one later French revolutionary and poet nicknaming her l’ange de l’assassinat. Her death was one of the most Romanticized deaths in the French Revolution.
During her trial, Corday’s explanation for the assassination was “I killed one man to save 100,000”, which is the most Assassin’s Creed thing ever.
Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio, however, doesn’t think so. After all, they really wanted to add a playable female character but that means “double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets.”
Arno is “the common denominator,” he added. “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.”
In Ubisoft’s mind, the main character obviously has to be male, and any female characters are just extra and “the only logical option” is to cut them out because they are unnecessary. But remember, this does not constitute as a philosophy, it is simply a “reality of production”.
Below, you can see the very individualized, customizable and original looking main characters that Ubisoft came up with for the game.
And one other thing, what makes a female character’s movements and style of dress so different that you would allegedly need to spend enormous amounts of time and resources developing them?
Oh, wait. I forgot that this was the video game industry for a second. Making a female character is just as hard as making characters with different skin tones.