Femmeless faux pas?


So everyone is talking about how Ubisoft mentioned the lack of female characters in the new game, Assassin’s Creed Unity.  This has, of course, stirred up a lot of uproar in the community because female gamers also want to don the robes, customize, accessorize, etc.  Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Creative Director,  Alex Amancio spoke with Polygon and said that “they originally planned to include female assassins, the “reality of production” made adding the additional characters too costly.”
Let us flash back to previous titles: Ezio had Catarina Sforza, his sister Claudia, his mother. Even Connor’s mother could hold her own.  Desmond had Lucy. Then of course, there was Aveline, the only female assassin to lead her own game. Oh yeah, and the models for the various women in the multiplayers of each game as well.  Aside from Aveline, there may not have been a full scale of movement that they have been capable of, but nothing a few minor tweaks couldn’t fix. (right?)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a by all means a female, but I can’t help but see it from the fence on this one.  On one hand: I am a very huge advocate for equality on all fronts.  Gaming has actually come a very long way from where I started.  While Metroid was a mindblowing surprise to all when we were shown that Samus was indeed a woman, and of course Tomb Raider — those are only two out of a ton of games I grew up with leading males: Mario, Zelda, Pac-Man, Duke Nukem, Silent Hill 1, 2, 4, Half-Life, Hitman, Metal Gear Solid, Max Payne, Bioshock… hell, even Grand Theft Auto III was led by a voiceless man from Liberty City. Would I have preferred to play a girl? Yeah. Considering the titles of now, like The Sims, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout (just to name a few) opened the doors to not only women, but men who play as women in games.  But as I’ve seen in some heated responses and defenses about Ubi’s announcement — “you’re asking for an entirely different experience”.  If the backlash is about changing Arno completely, then I agree. Things would be different.  But, if it’s just as simple as adding a female into the multiplayer…then what is the big fuss? Why ignore this demand/necessity at all? It’s the multiplayer. This game is about Unity. Not only can you play with “your homies” essentially, you should be able to be that character.

Aveline de Grandpre, of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
Former Ubisoft designer, Naughty Dog’s Jonathan Cooper tweeted: “In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two’s work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations.”

Well, should we really be bashing Ubisoft this hard for making this mistake? No.

Should they have handled it a little more straightforward with a dash less of bs? Perhaps.  I’m no designer, but in my opinion it feels like a really weak argument to make about female models being time consuming, taxing, costly or difficult.  In a time where women were ever present during the French revolution, it would only make sense to infuse the game with some feminine flair. If it takes time, money or any more intricate detail — then take that time, invest that money and stop pumping these games out every year. Work a little longer on it to cater to the demographic of today instead of cutting off corners and hoping for the best.

–But that’s kind of an opinionated, argumentative monologue I have for another day. -_-
So, for now I remain on the fence.
Does it upset me? Disappoints me, really. I expected a lot from the game. I mean, it looks fantastic as a whole, not just graphically but it seems like Ubi actually smoothed out a lot of the bumps from games prior.
Will I still buy it? Yes. I’m just going to have to deal with it because unless they manage to u-turn and overhaul it to add a woman or two, it’s coming out whether I like it or not. There’s still time between now and November, we’re sure to see improvements, if any, on the game.
-IC Krys
Source: Polygon, Kotaku


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