Around this time last year, Ubisoft, the developers behind Assassin’s Creed, got tons of negative press attention for their decision to not include female playable characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s four player co-op mode because doing so would be too much work.
Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s four-player co-op will not offer female assassins due to the pressures of production work, Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio told Polygon during a recent interview.
Amancio said that though female assassins were planned for the game, Ubisoft ran into “the reality of production.”
“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets,” Amancio said. “Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.”
Note that Amancio doesn’t say that it is too difficult to do or that they don’t know how to do it (as some reported he did) but rather that adding in female characters was not a task that Ubisoft deemed worthy of resources like development time and personnel. That is to say, they reasoned that the players they imagined to be their primary demographic would not miss such a feature and thus it would not be worth the time and effort and money to implement it for the relatively small portion of this imagined audience that would want it.
Although this image of cosplayers making fun of the idea that women are “2 hard 2 render” is pretty funny…
Fast forward to this week, when Kotaku reported that Ubisoft would be including female playable characters in their next game.
Well, it seems as though Ubisoft has reordered their priorities based on the feedback from fans and critics that they received over their last game. They had to re-evaluate their concept of who their player base was and what it wanted. The outcry over their comments re: Assassin’s Creed Unity demonstrated that the gaming community was more diverse than they thought and that it was actively invested in increasing diversity in representation.
In other words, gamers showed Ubisoft that there was profit to be found in going forward with the “extra work” of developing female playable characters.
What other types of diverse playable characters are we interested in seeing?