Ubisoft Responds to Criticism for Lack of Female Characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity Co-Op
The house of Altair responds to the widespread backlash it has gotten for the lack of a playable female character in the four-player co-op of Assassin’s Creed Unity.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Alex Amancio, creative director of Assassin’s Creed Unity, has stated that the upcoming next-gen title will not have any female assassin characters in its four-player online co-op because of the pressures of production work.
“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.”
We have a feeling that Unity’s four-player co-op will operate similar to that of Ubisoft’s recent hit, Watch Dogs – if a player joins your game and interacts with you, you’re still playing as the main character, while the other player appears as an NPC. The other player is playing as Aidan with your character appearing as the NPC in their game. A similar idea will likely work with Assassin’s Creed Unity: doing the four-player co-op, your character is Arno while the other players will simply look like other assassins, but each player will appear to be playing as their game’s version of Arno on each of their individual screens.
“Because of that, the common denominator was Arno,” Amancio said. “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.”
A few hours after this interview went public, the masses responded negatively, with many people claiming the developer to be sexist in its game designs. Kotaku reports that Ubisoft has made a public statement to remind the gaming community that this is not the case. Because of the Arno-oriented co-op (Arno is the main character of Unity), Ubisoft had to use the character’s model as a baseline with face-swaps and different types of clothing to keep every character in co-op similar in design (to ease the game’s graphics) but varied enough to feel unique.
Here is Ubisoft’s public statement, which sort of dances around the topic. The statement reminds us of the diversity of the previous protagonists throughout the Assassin’s Creed franchise and simply stated that there are going to be strong female characters in Unity’s narrative.
We recognize the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative. Assassin’s Creed is developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs and we hope this attention to diversity is reflected in the settings of our games and our characters.
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.
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.
Assassin’s Creed Unity will launch on Oct. 28 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.