Anyone who followed the events of E3 (and its aftermath) will be well aware of the controversy surrounding Ubisoft's decision to not include any playable female assassins in their upcoming installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise, Assassin's Creed: Unity.
Initially, there was no problem. I didn't have a problem - a game developer has every right to choose what genders they want their playable/main characters to be. However, when Ubisoft were asked as to why there weren't any females in the four man line-up, their response sparked internet-wide outrage. Their claim as to why they didn't include any female assassins was due to the fact that it would have 'doubled the amount of work required', as new animations would have to had been made and costumes developed. Ubisoft, one of the largest and well-known game developers, who had nine separate teams working on Unity, didn't include female assassins because it basically would have been too much work. This response is what has made people so angry, myself included.
I think Ubisoft would have retained a lot more respect if they had simply stated that they didn't want to include female characters in their Unity line-up, instead of saying something that ultimately amounts to "we were too lazy" - an answer that wasn't entirely truthful and smacks of veiled sexism and misogyny. As I stated earlier, Ubisoft's announcement sparked internet outrage, so much so that a petition has cropped up and it even prompted a twitter campaign, where angry fans voiced their opinions on the matter using the hashtag '#womenaretoohardtoanimate'.
It is interesting to note that Ubisoft have now issued a statement in which they have said that they will work towards being more diverse in the future. It's sad to think that a large billion dollar company like Ubisoft needed something like to happen in order for them to work towards something that should have been a goal directly from the start. Plus, this is just a statement and the old saying goes that actions speak louder than words, so only time will tell if they actually make true on this. It may already be a case of too little too late for some people, Ubisoft having driven many fans away because of this. In the end, it wasn't the issue of the inclusion or non-inclusion of playable female characters that made people angry; it was the downright poor and sexist excuse that Ubisoft gave as to why they didn't. When Ubisoft have had an entire game focused upon a female assassin, Aveline de Grandpré, who was the focus of Assassin's Creed: Liberation and have had a wealth of playable female characters in various Assassin's Creed multiplayers, their excuses can't come off as anything else.
On one hand, this whole debate saddens me. Generally I was a fan of the Assassin's Creed series and after the disappointment of III, I couldn't wait to get back into the franchise and Unity did look promising. However, after this whole incident, I won't be touching the franchise for a long time to come.
And another thing - A recent Jimquisition video sums up my feelings on this issue rather nicely and is well worth a watch!
What did you think of Ubisoft's logic?
What do you think of Ubisoft's reasoning behind their choice not to incorporate a female Assassin into the line-up of Unity? Come let us know on our Twitter or Facebook Page!