#1 Edited by Deathstriker (318 posts) -

Out of all the big publishers Ubisoft seems the least like a-holes. The Far Cry 4 complaint always seemed idiotic. The villain looked Asian to me the whole time (though kinda albino). Even if he was white that wouldn't be racist, since he's the villain and not the hero (among other reasons). Today I read that some people were upset that none of the assassins in AC Unity were female... WTF? How is that sexist? Since when did women HAVE to be included as playable characters in every game? Saying you'd like for one of them to be a woman is fine, but not having one isn't automatically sexiest.

I'm curious if there's anyone here who actually thinks Ubisoft is discriminating. Not to mention, AC is a series that had a black woman and Native American as leads. They were both mixed, but I assume that had to be the case with Connor since he needed to be related to Desmond. I originally saw several articles about it on Polygon then on other sites. Maybe they're blowing it up for attention, but I did link to one below. It seems like they're trying too hard to be the "serious/pretentious NPR of video games"

http://www.polygon.com/e3-2014/2014/6/11/5800522/female-characters-assassins-creed-video

#2 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1097 posts) -

I dunno. All of this complaining about gender representation is kinda confusing to me. We're all human, why should gender even matter? If creators think one gender is the correct gender for their character design/story, who are we to call him names because of his/her creative vision? As for Ubisoft? I don't think they're discriminating intentionally, but every customer is different, and every customer has a right to be upset and offended at anything.

Whatever, I'll give a dumb answer. Ubisoft is VERY sexist for having a female hostage in that R6:Siege trailer.

#3 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5827 posts) -

Because people like getting worked up over nothing

#4 Posted by wemibelec90 (1664 posts) -

@deathstriker: For me, the problem was how they kept saying they couldn't do female characters just because it was more work. I think you're right that female characters shouldn't be expected (although that would be nice), but that reasoning for not including them is a complete bullshit cop-out. Funny enough, they were the ones who brought it up both times, so they kinda screwed themselves on it.

Whatever, I'll give a dumb answer. Ubisoft is VERY sexist for having a female hostage in that R6:Siege trailer.

That's the one I don't understand at all. They show one video of a VERY early build of a game that features a female hostage, and it's immediately sexist? Who says that all the hostages will be female from one little trailer? I think people were trying to be a bit too sensationalist with that one.

#5 Posted by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -

Well your first mistake was visiting Polygon at all.

#6 Edited by Dallas_Raines (2161 posts) -

Ubisoft literally said that creating women characters is too expensive.

#7 Edited by TheHT (11258 posts) -

"Too much work" is a terrible excuse though.

If you want the characters to all be dudes just say that, don't be all "oh we'd love to have female assassins, but it'd just take too much work to get them in there".

#8 Posted by Hailinel (24793 posts) -

@deathstriker: For me, the problem was how they kept saying they couldn't do female characters just because it was more work. I think you're right that female characters shouldn't be expected (although that would be nice), but that reasoning for not including them is a complete bullshit cop-out. Funny enough, they were the ones who brought it up both times, so they kinda screwed themselves on it.

I felt that Ubisoft's excuse (that it would be more work) is lazy and rather lame. It's, as you said, a cop-out. Plenty of games that had a great deal of development complexity and custom character generation wer still able to fit female characters into the mix. What makes it even more absurd is the lack of ability to play female assassins in the game when one of the most famous French assassins of the Revolution era was a woman.

Online
#9 Posted by oraknabo (1462 posts) -

Yeah that shit at Polygon really seems like a misguided crusade.

Online
#10 Posted by Demoskinos (14830 posts) -

Ubisoft literally said that creating women characters is too expensive.

No, what they said is that it would cost them development time and money to do it. Considering they are on a tight schedule they had to axe something. Its easy to sit there behind a keyboard and talk shit about them for the decision its a different situation entirely when you're actually on the team working on the game. They've had multiplayer and single player female characters before in other games in the series. People need to quit blowing this out of proportion.

#11 Posted by Hero_Swe (1137 posts) -

Whatever, I'll give a dumb answer. Ubisoft is VERY sexist for having a female hostage in that R6:Siege trailer.

Nope

#12 Posted by Milkman (16791 posts) -

Former Ubisoft animator, current Naughty Dog animator:

Don't patronize people.

Online
#13 Posted by crithon (3235 posts) -

meh, bloggers gotta write about something through a lens of snark. A lot of these complains go with "well, Skyrim or Mass effect let me do this" and then that justifies all of their rants. And most of the time it's not even helping us see a different point of view, it's more about the headline. And it's not difficult, a hypothetical article about a transgender person who found a way out of their depression because of Saints Row the 3rd.

#14 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

There were initially just some questions about why they decided to not have playable female characters(as have appeared in previous Ubisoft games), and when their answers seemed to either not address the questions or sounded kind of ridiculous or unbelievable, it became an actual issue.

It's like when you ask someone a simple question and then they give you a really shady answer or get overly evasive. It raises red flags that weren't there initially. On top of that, two different Ubisoft representatives referring to Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed in separate situations gave the almost exactly same nonsense answer of "it would be twice the work" so they just didn't include them. Just about anyone in game development who has worked with animation will tell you that such a statement is a gross exaggeration. And in a situation where the developer has stated spending relentless effort to make these games have the biggest world yet, it's kind of silly for them to be making the argument that a little extra effort from a small bit of staff might somehow be impossible. They should just admit that they prioritized differently because they don't believe it matters much.

Ubisoft, as a company which prides itself on being more diverse(as you noted), should hold itself to a higher standard. If not in including such characters, than in being honest and giving real answers to people's questions. Their evasiveness in this instance has only made things worse.

Like Nintendo earlier this year, sometimes bad responses make things far worse. Ubisoft should have been prepared for someone to ask about it, and they should have had better answers than what they've given.

I don't believe Ubisoft as a company is either sexist or racist; I'd say that's silly. Though, I do believe there may be issues of diversity which hinder them in apparently understanding what others may want or how they may feel about what they choose to do. It's alright if they decide to not include female characters for some good reason, but at least be straight with people about it and don't just duck and dodge around as though people will stop caring if you evade enough. As a company that boasts about its diversity, they should know better.

#16 Edited by GaspoweR (3028 posts) -

@milkman: Yeah I read the tweets and articles relating to that.

Short version from my POV: what Ubisoft did in the first place isn't necessarily sexist but they backed themselves into the corner with the way they answered the queries and their reasoning and it ended up painting them in that light.

#17 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4802 posts) -

Man I don't even listen to the people who say anything is sexist anymore. It's just white noise, like those panhandlers trying to hustle for your loose change. Give a shit or don't, at the end of the day nothing will change.

In case this metaphor went over someone's head, I'm saying that no amount of bitching will stop Unity from having palette-swaps for your co-op buddies. Maybe they'll have a female assassin for the next game, but in my experience you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar, and all of this fucking noise with accusations of sexism and misogyny and whatever the ism-of-the-week is only breaks down communication. If you want someone to see things from your perspective, try reaching out to them as a reasonable human being and not some tectonic asshole who resorts to bullying to get your way.

#18 Edited by KentonClay (256 posts) -

Things like sexism are systemic, which makes them incredibly tricky. The question "Why isn't there a better ratio of male:female characters?" is a question to the entire industry, not any individual company who's game might not have any prominent women. Unfortunately, the "industry" isn't a single organization, so it can't exactly answer back; it's the status quo that's fucked up.

Ubisoft made themselves an easy target with their half-assed, probably untrue, reasoning for not having any female assassins. Is it 100% fair to put so much scorn on one company for not having female characters? Probably not. But I'd argue that it would be even less fair to just let the status quo be the status quo without challenging it in any meaningful, concrete way. As much as we like like to get on the case of "those darn feminists," their power in the industry is extremely small, especially to a massive corporation like Ubisoft. This is a good rallying point for discussion, and it's not like Ubisoft, in the long run, is actually going to be hurt by any of this.

#19 Edited by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

That a female character is "too hard to animate" should never be an excuse to leave them out, and I imagine many of the developers at Ubisoft rolled their eyes along with many other animators in the industry when Ubisoft reps made such a contention. That they said they -almost- put them in but decided it would be too much effort is a testament to how it was likely more of an afterthought than simply part of the design. That's an actual issue.

I feel bad for many of the developers at Ubisoft who have to listen to this nonsense. I know it isn't their fault that their bosses probably had female characters as an extra that got cut or that those bosses feel like they need to serve up what are either lies or ignorance about what kind of effort would need to go into having them in the game.

Unfortunately for them, their reps really stepped in it this time.

The shitstorm abrewing.

#20 Posted by Crembaw (411 posts) -

From what I saw, it seems like they are actually just fundamentally misrepresenting what the multiplayer aspects will involve for each person. The first thing they said about co-op at the Microsoft conference involved the words 'your own Brotherhood,' and given the history of the series that invokes a good deal of variety, if not always outright customization. But from what I've heard in interviews since then, it sounds as though every person will appear to be the main character in their copy of the game, while the others assume the roles of hooded mook-sassins. If that's indeed the case, then their animation argument makes a bit more sense - but then why would they have invoked the word 'brotherhood' in the first place? Probably because it sounded catchy and grabbing to long-time fans of the series.

And yet. And yet. It seems like it would be simple enough to just include a toggle for male/female co-op assassin, especially if male and female characters in past games shared as many animations as the ex-employee's tweets indicate. I dunno, it's entirely possible that this money is running on tight funding, and if that's the case I totally understand wanting to devote time to getting the base game done right, but they really seem to have dropped the press ball on this one single point, especially given current critical environments.

#21 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -
Ubisoft made themselves an easy target with their half-assed, probably untrue, reasoning for not having any female assassins. Is it 100% fair to put so much scorn on one company for not having female characters? Probably not. But I'd argue that it would be even less fair to just the status quo be the status quo without challenging it in any meaningful, concrete way. As much as we like like to get on the case of "those darn feminists," their power in the industry is extremely small, especially to a massive corporation like Ubisoft. This is a good rallying point for discussion, and it's not like Ubisoft, in the long run, is actually going to be hurt by any of this.

I think you make an important point here. While it's reasonable to see how some accusations may be unfair, there are still plenty of fair criticisms here, and overall, it would be even less fair to leave things how they are without challenging them in any way. We may be quick to be more bothered by small unfairness that feels like it impacts us in the face of widespread unfairness which impacts other people.

Hopefully, this will simply get Ubisoft to internally discuss how they could have messed this up, and perhaps, if we're lucky, other developers will take this as a good moment to discuss amongst themselves whether they may have similar issues which could lead to a result like this. Developers will be better from asking more questions of themselves and not just assuming that everything's fine and dandy, and with their potential improvement, we all gain.

#22 Edited by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -

@crembaw said:

From what I saw, it seems like they are actually just fundamentally misrepresenting what the multiplayer aspects will involve for each person. The first thing they said about co-op at the Microsoft conference involved the words 'your own Brotherhood,' and given the history of the series that invokes a good deal of variety, if not always outright customization. But from what I've heard in interviews since then, it sounds as though every person will appear to be the main character in their copy of the game, while the others assume the roles of hooded mook-sassins. If that's indeed the case, then their animation argument makes a bit more sense - but then why would they have invoked the word 'brotherhood' in the first place? Probably because it sounded catchy and grabbing to long-time fans of the series.

And yet. And yet. It seems like it would be simple enough to just include a toggle for male/female co-op assassin, especially if male and female characters in past games shared as many animations as the ex-employee's tweets indicate. I dunno, it's entirely possible that this money is running on tight funding, and if that's the case I totally understand wanting to devote time to getting the base game done right, but they really seem to have dropped the press ball on this one single point, especially given current critical environments.

But then wouldn't that require that they give the protagonist a different name, hire a new voice actor and rerecord some dialogue?

@oldirtybearon said:

Man I don't even listen to the people who say anything is sexist anymore. It's just white noise, like those panhandlers trying to hustle for your loose change. Give a shit or don't, at the end of the day nothing will change.

In case this metaphor went over someone's head, I'm saying that no amount of bitching will stop Unity from having palette-swaps for your co-op buddies. Maybe they'll have a female assassin for the next game, but in my experience you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar, and all of this fucking noise with accusations of sexism and misogyny and whatever the ism-of-the-week is only breaks down communication. If you want someone to see things from your perspective, try reaching out to them as a reasonable human being and not some tectonic asshole who resorts to bullying to get your way.

I agree. The issue is that Ubisoft isn't actually a someone. I guess if any of you are really bothered by this you could tweet to Anne Lewis, communications associate for Ubisoft. She seems like good people and would probably respond as long as you don't behave like an asshole.

#23 Posted by Quantris (266 posts) -

What about "No Man's Sky" huh? The sexism is right in the freaking title.

#24 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1851 posts) -

@viciousbearmauling said:

I dunno. All of this complaining about gender representation is kinda confusing to me. We're all human, why should gender even matter? If creators think one gender is the correct gender for their character design/story, who are we to call him names because of his/her creative vision? As for Ubisoft? I don't think they're discriminating intentionally, but every customer is different, and every customer has a right to be upset and offended at anything.

Whatever, I'll give a dumb answer. Ubisoft is VERY sexist for having a female hostage in that R6:Siege trailer.

Because positive representation is important, and people are beginning to notice the lack of it. Saying things like "we're all human so why should it even matter?" is just attempting to shoo the problem away by pretending like it doesn't exist, which is super easy to do when you're part of the dominant power group. It matters because people like women are seen as women before they are seen as human beings, and THE EVIL PATRIARCHY likes to pretend like women are equal in every respect when nooohohohoooo they are not. It matters because African American people are seen as a skin color before they are seen as human beings, and this is the result of representation; either the lack of, or the negative.

When you say things like "We wanted to add girls, but it was just too much work :( deadlines guyssss" what you're really saying is "We didn't plan to have them from the start, and when we considered it, decided the extra effort wasn't worth it because pbbbbt girls arent in video games anyway who is gonna notice" When you say "We just didn't have time to do all of those animations :(" what you're really saying is "We wanted to continue the awful trend of making women run on their tiptoes with their elbows tucked in and have most of their animations involve sticking their butt out in some way but then we decided why not just play guys because girls are difficult to animate or something"

They did this with TWO games that I'm aware of: Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4. They said that they had the ability to select a female character to play as in Far Cry 4, but ducked out of it because "voices and animations you guys :(" Women are an afterthought. Really, anything that isn't an 18-35 non denominational, mentally sound, physically fit and healthy white male is an afterthought. If they're included, it's always an "option" but guess what the thing on the front of the box is...

I was talking to a friend of mine last night about it, and while I have unfortunately lost the Steam conversation, we went through a couple of years in video games to see how many video games offered the option to play as either male or female, and what games only had male PCs and what games had a female PC.

In 2013, every 8.8 games had the ability to play a female character, and we didn't even bother studying which ones were actually POSITIVE depictions of women...

Online
#25 Posted by shivermetimbers (772 posts) -

Ubisoft didn't explain their box FC4 art properly, so people called them racist.

Ubisoft made a full of shit statement regarding the lack of female characters in AC:U, they get called sexist.

They don't need defending, guys. The whole non-inclusivity=sexist/racist/homophobic is a fine debate, one that Ubisoft has handled poorly. As far as the debate goes, I wouldn't call not adding someone of other sex, race,sexuality, or gender sexist, racist, and homophobic/transphobic/cisphobic per-se, but to call out on those who feel that way and accuse them of being SJWs or whatever is not helping anything.

#26 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3732 posts) -

Well your first mistake was visiting Polygon at all.

And your second mistake was giving their trash articles free promotion, thus contributing to the likelihood of us seeing similar articles in the future.

You might want to consider not doing that.

#27 Edited by Crembaw (411 posts) -

@darthorange It depends on what we're talking about. Personally I meant just the option to appear as a female assassin to others in their game while remaining the protagonist in yours but maybe that's too warped or simplistic. If we're talking about full-on, why can't the main character be toggled between man/wom, that's a different matter that, yes, would involve those extra things, but that seems like more of a narrative decision about what story they want to tell.

On the other hand, if there are just flatly no female assassins in the game including NPC assassins, that's kind of really weird given the precedent set by their previous games. Really I'm just starting to get more confused about what Polygon was even asking and why Ubisoft responded the way they did. If the question was 'why can't the player be a female character' then the answer could simply be, because the character we're writing about happens to be male. Now personally I'd like to see more main character female assassins, but fair enough, it's their game, their character. But if there are flatly no female assassins in a setting where female assassins are a noted and extant Thing, then that gets to be a little weird. There is a nonzero chance that they just happened to not include female assassins as noteworthy characters and that's...a little weird but fine. If there are Brotherhood-esque features though, it seems a little strange that there wouldn't be NPC female assassins for you to recruit ingame.

#28 Edited by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@darthorange: No, no. The issue hasn't been whether the protagonist is a woman or not. Clearly changing that would be a lot of work. The topic has been whether custom co-op partners could be female. In some past Ubisoft games, there -could- be female co-op partners. Notably in Far Cry 3. Yet, they weren't included as an option in the new Assassin's Creed game or Far Cry 4.

They then explained that they were "inches away" from putting them in, but decided they would be "twice" the work to do all new animations. Many animators in the industry have rightfully pointed out how absurd that is to suggest, and so, these Ubisoft reps basically either don't understand the actual effort needed or just made something up.

Clearly a gender-selected protagonist might be a lot of effort; no one was surprised that they had more white guy* leads. The issue was their response to simple questions about "Can you customize a co-op partner to be female like some other Ubisoft games? And why not?" It went from some people wondering about it to people seeing genuine reasons for concern.

[*Yeah, I didn't need to add what is basically my dislike of the dudebro protagonist of Far Cry 3. It understandably distracts from my point about this being an issue with the co-op avatars, not the protagonists. Sorry about that.]

#29 Posted by Crembaw (411 posts) -

@truthtellah So they *do* have co-op character customization and you can't be female? In that case I'm gonna stick with my original sentiment and chime in with you. This doesn't seem like it's a hard thing to fix and they have had precedent to put in that little bit extra effort in the past. Unless they're absolutely strapped for cash, it seems like an odd thing to exclude.

#30 Edited by Trilogy (2654 posts) -

I feel like I'm not getting the full story about what's going on here (in regards to AC). Ubisoft is clearly not against featuring non-white male protagonists in Assassin's Creed, they've done it before. From what I can gather, people seem mostly upset that some PR/dev/rep person at Ubisoft gave a lame excuse to why the new Assassins doesn't have a female protagonist. If that's the case, then who told that person to give that excuse? Or, was it just some dumb mistake on the part of an individual. In either case, I don't think we can throw all of Ubisoft under the bus here.

In this day and age, representatives should probably be better trained to handle this sort of thing. This isn't the first time we've been in a situation like this (rep talking about the player protecting lara in tomb raider). Why not be more aware that this sort of thing is going to come up at every E3, and chances are, the bigger your game/company, the bigger the chance you'll be addressed with these concerns. No reason to be unprepared at this point.

As far as Far Cry goes, that was just the internet desperately latching onto something when they, gasp, didn't have the full story. Assumptions were made, and conclusions were jumped to. Not a whole lot to delve into there.

Online
#31 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@artelinarose: I think @dallas_raines was being facetious. heh.

@quantris said:

What about "No Man's Sky" huh? The sexism is right in the freaking title.

"No Man". "Not a Man". So, woman? "Woman's Sky"?

Sounds like a cool game to me.

#32 Posted by Humanity (9242 posts) -

Just another day in the industry pretty much.

#33 Posted by FriendlyPhoenix (413 posts) -

The co-op characters don't even get their own models; they're just Arno with different heads attached. They are putting as little effort into these characters as possible, it's not surprising at all that they aren't doing both genders.

But that Ubisoft rep did give a really garbage excuse, so while I normally look at the sexist/racist/whatever-ist accusations that are getting liberally thrown around as a bunch of bullshit, this one is at least understandable and hopefully will convince Ubisoft/other publishers to say less ridiculously stupid shit.

Online
#34 Edited by Vuud (1994 posts) -
What's wrong with being sexy?

#35 Edited by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@trilogy: People are talking about co-op partners, not the protagonists. Even in Far Cry 3, you could have a female co-op partner. So, the exclusion is noticeable. They then provided nonsense answers which really caused things to go from curious to concerning.

Far Cry 3 co-op partners.

#36 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4802 posts) -

@truthtellah said:


Clearly a gender-selected protagonist might be a lot of effort; no one was surprised that they had more white guy leads. The issue was their response to simple questions about "Can you customize a co-op partner to be female like some other Ubisoft games? And why not?" It went from some people wondering about it to people seeing genuine reasons for concern.

Can I point out how incredibly absurd this statement is? I hate the fact that every fucking ethnicity, culture, heritage, and point of view is lumped under "white people." Just "white people." As if Italians, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Belgian, Russian, Scandinavian, and a myriad of other cultures just simply don't exist. No, they're all some hegemony of white sameyness with absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from other cultures or peoples. It's infuriating, and for someone who claims to be an enlightened, progressive person, you should know better.

And by the way, the lead in Assassin's Creed: Unity? He's fucking French. You know what else is funny? He's only the second "white" protagonist in the series.

  • Ass 1 - Altair ibn-La'Ahad
  • Ass 2 - Ezio Auditore de Firenze
  • Ass 3 - Ratonhnhaké:ton/Connor
  • Ass Lib - Aveline
  • Ass 4 - Edward Kenway
  • Ass 4 DLC - Adewale

The only stereotypical "white guy" in that list is a fucking pirate. If anything, Ubisoft has done an incredible job with how diverse this list of protagonists are. If they say that adding a female assassin just as a co-op model that nobody will ever see unless they play co-op was too much for their schedule, I believe them. This isn't a company or a studio that prides itself on being exclusionary in the slightest. Suggesting otherwise is patently absurd and a stain upon the good work they have done in providing so many different perspectives in their games.

#37 Posted by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -

Clearly a gender-selected protagonist might be a lot of effort; no one was surprised that they had more white guy leads. The issue was their response to simple questions about "Can you customize a co-op partner to be female like some other Ubisoft games? And why not?" It went from some people wondering about it to people seeing genuine reasons for concern.

Unless something more damning comes out I am willing to believe that this was simply someone talking out of their ass because they didn't know the answer to the question and didn't think it would be a big deal if they lied. There doesn't seem to be any malicious intent, just a dude saying stuff he didn't realize some people would find offensive. It is hard to be mad at a guy for bring ignorant.

#38 Posted by Humanity (9242 posts) -

@truthtellah: People tend to hang on every word these days. If they said "well we just didn't write any female characters for this story" it would be just as damning as anything else. Really there is no right answer to this question anymore, the ever watchful press has made sure of this. These topics have been run into the ground so much lately that the inevitable has happened with more and more people simply dismissing the subject matter off-hand as "just more crazy talk from those crazy feminists." The issue has been diluted to a crystal clear quality where there is no real substance to anything anymore - like someone said it's just white noise.

Worst yet, when a real issue will eventually come up - you know like a female programmer getting paid less than her peers, rather than how many capes Ezio gets in comparison to the female protagonist in the same game - then everyone will also shun that aside as more crazy talk.

#39 Posted by Random45 (1209 posts) -

I think from now on every game should feature a black female protagonist so these stupid articles stop popping up.

#40 Edited by Hero_Swe (1137 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

Clearly a gender-selected protagonist might be a lot of effort; no one was surprised that they had more white guy leads. The issue was their response to simple questions about "Can you customize a co-op partner to be female like some other Ubisoft games? And why not?" It went from some people wondering about it to people seeing genuine reasons for concern.

Can I point out how incredibly absurd this statement is? I hate the fact that every fucking ethnicity, culture, heritage, and point of view is lumped under "white people." Just "white people." As if Italians, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Belgian, Russian, Scandinavian, and a myriad of other cultures just simply don't exist. No, they're all some hegemony of white sameyness with absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from other cultures or peoples. It's infuriating, and for someone who claims to be an enlightened, progressive person, you should know better.

Hope you don't mind that I might use this in the future when the tumblr crowd goes on another spiel about "white people" and their "privileges"

#41 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@oldirtybearon: The Assassin's Creed games have had diversity, and Ubisoft has prided itself on diversity. That's what makes this more noticeable, not less. Since Ubisoft has included female co-op characters before, it was curious to see that not as an option. No one thought "They're sexist" just because of their absence, but their bad and even absurd responses raised real criticism. If you're using the excuse of "women are too hard" for not including them, that's a mistake.

As I said, I imagine other Ubisoft devs facepalmed at such responses. It's ridiculous. You may have undying faith in them, but we should know by now that devs do at times put their foot in their mouth. In this case, it's rather clear no matter what someone thinks about having female co-op avatars. They messed up in their odd responses to some rather simple questions, and it has drawn greater attention.

I appreciate Ubisoft's efforts to improve diversity in their games. So, I hope this will be a good opportunity for them to discuss it internally and better handle things in the future. :)

#42 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

I wrote a pretty long reply that I think was level-head and respectful, but fuck that. That "article" is trash and that whole nonsensical circlejerk needs to end. There is legitimate sexism in the industry that is being undermined by this bullshit.

#43 Posted by joshwent (2207 posts) -

@kentonclay said:
Ubisoft made themselves an easy target with their half-assed, probably untrue, reasoning for not having any female assassins. Is it 100% fair to put so much scorn on one company for not having female characters? Probably not. But I'd argue that it would be even less fair to just the status quo be the status quo without challenging it in any meaningful, concrete way. As much as we like like to get on the case of "those darn feminists," their power in the industry is extremely small, especially to a massive corporation like Ubisoft. This is a good rallying point for discussion, and it's not like Ubisoft, in the long run, is actually going to be hurt by any of this.

I think you make an important point here. While it's reasonable to see how some accusations may be unfair, there are still plenty of fair criticisms here, and overall, it would be even less fair to leave things how they are without challenging them in any way. We may be quick to be more bothered by small unfairness that feels like it impacts us in the face of widespread unfairness which impacts other people.

Hopefully, this will simply get Ubisoft to internally discuss how they could have messed this up, and perhaps, if we're lucky, other developers will take this as a good moment to discuss amongst themselves whether they may have similar issues which could lead to a result like this. Developers will be better from asking more questions of themselves and not just assuming that everything's fine and dandy, and with their potential improvement, we all gain.

These would be good points... if Ubi wasn't pretty much the only AAA dev actually including more diversity in their characters. As the rep said:

"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."

The majority of protagonists in the AC series are people of color. Aveline and Adewale were in more minor games, sure, but they're both well developed minority playable characters in their major franchise.

Lack of a gender option in a modern multiplayer game is something to be criticised, but that's not the case here either. Again, the Ubi rep explained:

"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."

You don't have the option to be female because you don't have the option to play as anyone other than the game's one playable character. In the multiplayer games Ubi showed off that do (apparently) have character creation (The Division and Rainbow Six Siege), there were women playing both demos, and in the case of The Division, it was clear that the female player was the one leading the group.

Pushing for and celebrating diversity in games is great. But misrepresenting a company that is making great games with an increasingly diverse cast, as a company who "needs to discuss how they could have messed this up." doesn't challenge them and others and lead to positive change. The relentless accusations deafen others to potential valid criticism, and only create defensive backtracking in place of promoting forward progress.

#44 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

Clearly a gender-selected protagonist might be a lot of effort; no one was surprised that they had more white guy leads. The issue was their response to simple questions about "Can you customize a co-op partner to be female like some other Ubisoft games? And why not?" It went from some people wondering about it to people seeing genuine reasons for concern.

Unless something more damning comes out I am willing to believe that this was simply someone talking out of their ass because they didn't know the answer to the question and didn't think it would be a big deal if they lied. There doesn't seem to be any malicious intent, just a dude saying stuff he didn't realize some people would find offensive. It is hard to be mad at a guy for bring ignorant.

I was more willing to believe that it was just one guy's mistake, but two different Ubisoft reps talking about Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed in separate situations used the almost exact same "women are too much effort" excuse for the respective games. Which means they either both came up with the same dumb lie or it maybe was a genuine crappy excuse they used in the company. I would hope that's not the case, but it's certainly worth looking into further.

I think Ubisoft is generally pretty good; so, it's just surprising. I hope they'll talk about it a bit and figure out a better response soon.

#45 Posted by Itwongo (1198 posts) -

@milkman: Wow, I just saw they actually said 8000 animations. I thought that tweet was hyperbole. Assassin's Creed is heavy on main character animations, but 8000 is straight up ludicrous.

#46 Edited by SteamRickroller (310 posts) -

I wrote a pretty long reply that I think was level-head and respectful, but fuck that. That "article" is trash and that whole nonsensical circlejerk needs to end. There is legitimate sexism in the industry that is being undermined by this bullshit.

WORD.

#47 Posted by DarthOrange (3864 posts) -

Can I point out how incredibly absurd this statement is? I hate the fact that every fucking ethnicity, culture, heritage, and point of view is lumped under "white people." Just "white people." As if Italians, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Belgian, Russian, Scandinavian, and a myriad of other cultures just simply don't exist. No, they're all some hegemony of white sameyness with absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from other cultures or peoples. It's infuriating, and for someone who claims to be an enlightened, progressive person, you should know better.

In this case "White" is being used to refer to a race. Race and ethnicity are two different things.

#48 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4802 posts) -

@darthorange said:

@oldirtybearon said:

Can I point out how incredibly absurd this statement is? I hate the fact that every fucking ethnicity, culture, heritage, and point of view is lumped under "white people." Just "white people." As if Italians, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, English, Belgian, Russian, Scandinavian, and a myriad of other cultures just simply don't exist. No, they're all some hegemony of white sameyness with absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from other cultures or peoples. It's infuriating, and for someone who claims to be an enlightened, progressive person, you should know better.

In this case "White" is being used to refer to a race. Race and ethnicity are two different things.

What you're saying makes it worse. I hope you understand that.

#49 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -

@joshwent: As already stated a few times, I think many people consider this -more- of a noticeable issue because of Ubisoft's efforts to improve diversity. They pride themselves on it, and it makes sense that people within the company would see how poorly this was handled. Thus, having a discussion within the company to improve it further.

No company and no person will ever be perfect. You can strive to do better, but you do make mistakes on occasion. It's normal. Heck, even in this thread, I made a flippant comment about "white guys", and I think it was understandable for someone to point out how it detracted from my point. That's my mistake, because I had just been looking at a bunch of Far Cry 3 stuff to find the co-op image to post here and remembered just how much I disliked the dudebro protagonist of that game. ha. I think of the Jeff saying how he was glad they got captured on the island. Regardless, I shouldn't have let my feelings about that guy and his friends throw off my point. I'll remember to watch that in the future.

That's what I mean. Ubisoft prides itself on caring about diversity; so, when people notice a potential issue with diversity, they should be able to respond better than anyone. But they didn't. And if their responses are genuine, they may have used some questionable excuses to not include female characters. That they would be "twice" as much work and infeasible is just silly. This is an opportunity to learn from, and if they can acknowledge that and not just sidestep it, they can become even better. That's improvement.

I can appreciate Ubisoft's declared interests in greater diversity, and that's exactly the reason why this is even more relevant to bring up with them. I hope they consider what people are saying and figure out a better way to handle it in the future.

#50 Posted by TruthTellah (9076 posts) -
@itwongo said:

@milkman: Wow, I just saw they actually said 8000 animations. I thought that tweet was hyperbole. Assassin's Creed is heavy on main character animations, but 8000 is straight up ludicrous.

Right? I can understand those who seem tired of any mention of the potential prejudices within gaming, but I think we can all notice and criticize when someone's just making ridiculous excuses for a game. At least own up to it as an oversight, but making up these responses has only made things worse.