Woman + Video Games: A Commentary on Ubisoft’s Lack of Female Protagonist’s in AC: Unity

Written by Logan Sharp

Where all the ladies at?

By now, you’ve heard the news that Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity will not feature female assassins in it’s co-op mode. Ubisoft has stated that, to add these opposite gendered assassins, it would take days to build just the skeleton and require near triple the work. Okay, sounds totally reasonable. I’ve never built a game before but I assume it does require a lot of work and long nights to complete. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t see all these games shown at E3 being announced for a 2015 release.

Yet, this isn’t satisfactory for some gamers. I’ve seen people in forums, comments and other social media throw their fists in the air in outrage. How dare Ubisoft not include women!

Before we grab our pitchforks, let’s consider a few things.

Ubisoft Tried A Female Assassin Once

Remember the game Assassin’s Creed Liberation that came out for the PSP? No? I try to forget. It was one of the worst Assassin’s Creed games I had ever played, next to AC III. The game featured a female assassin who was, as I recall, flat as a character. Not saying she couldn’t have been interesting but I just did not relate well with her nor did I feel attached to her like I do other female protagonists such as Samus Aran (Metroid), Jill Valentine (Resident Evil) and everyone’s favorite, Lara Croft (Tomb Raider). Perhaps Ubisoft didn’t add a female assassin in the lead is because they’re fearful of screwing it up. While that wouldn’t be a good excuse, it’d make sense.

Women Are Not Being Neglected

To say that women are being misrepresented in video games is a foolish statement. In years past, we have witnessed women become heroes in games like Tomb Raider (2013), Transistor, Child of Light and more. The problem here is not that women are not being represented in video games; it’s the exact opposite. My favorite Nintendo hero isn’t Link, it’s Samus Aran. She’s part Iron Man, part female, part all around action hero. Let’s not forget Borderlands 2’s Siren female character, who is the most powerful character in the game. Or Mad Moxxxi, Tiny Tina or Gaige! I’m finding it hard to believe the “women are being neglected” argument when there are plenty of games with strong female leads.

Shoe-horning A Female Character is Disrespectful

Let’s say for a second that Ubisoft does decide to add in a female protagonist in AC: Unity. Let’s take it a step further and say they still need to meet their Fall 2014 deadline. If they do that, and if it’s as much work as they say it will be, a few things will happen:

  1. The game will be lackluster and lack a certain polish
  2. The game would get delayed into 2015
  3. There is no guarantee the female assassin(s) would be rendered/designed satisfactorily
  4. Depending on if Ubisoft found a suitable voice actor in time, the character may not even say a word

In all honesty, shoe-horning a female assassin into the game would do more harm than good at this point. I’d rather Ubisoft not include a female assassin this time around so that in the next game, they have the opportunity to include a fully fleshed out and well-designed female assassin, one that we all will actually care about and favor over other characters in the series.

But what do I know? I’m a 24 year old, married geek. What do you think about Ubisoft’s decision? Like it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments below!

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