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Assassin's Creed's female problems: Devs respond

Assassin's Creed's female problems: Devs respond

Wed 11 Jun 2014 4:03pm GMT / 12:03pm EDT / 9:03am PDT
Development

Ubisoft says women are double the work, so we asked some developers for their insights

When Ubisoft technical director James Therien decided to explain why the latest Assassin's Creed title, Unity, had decided against including a female playable character he probably thought his response sounded reasonable, rational and sure to be nothing more than an addendum to a nice complimentary feature about visceral combat and stunning visuals.

"It was a question of focus and a question of production. Yes, we have tonnes of resources, but we're putting them into this game, and we have huge teams, nine studios working on this game and we need all of these people to make what we are doing here."

He was wrong.

1

In fact his discussion with Videogamer only highlighted how unimportant the issue was, to Ubisoft and the creative team. Nine studios worked together on the game to recreate every inch of revoltuonary Paris, to finely craft each sprout of stubble on each co-op character's chin. But a playable character with breasts? That's too much trouble.

Twitter erupted, with developers speaking out about the decision. We've collected some of those responses, as well as spoken exclusively to a number of industry insiders to find out if there's a truth to what Ubi is saying.

Andrew Eades of Relentless was kind enough to talk about the problems they faced when developing characters for Buzz.

"We did have a strong female character in Rose who was the smarts behind Buzz in the first game. In the end we decided to drop her entirely as our publishers' only comments were to make her breasts bigger rather than develop her role in the game as we wanted to," he says.

"​Our soon to be released new Murder Files game has a female protagonist, Hannah Dakota, voiced by Amy Shindler​ of The Archers and is written by award-winning writer Felicity Carpenter. It was not particularly hard to do as our teams at Relentless appear to be able to draw, animate and write female characters and male characters equally well."

Meanwhile Ansh Patel of Narcissist Reality got in touch to debunk Ubisoft's excuses, and suggested marketing could be the real cause.

"Animation and modelling a playable character doesn't require as much commitment and costs as Ubisoft says. In fact, a trend among many indie developers looking to cut on time and costs is to use the same rig (skeleton) for the model to create a common set of animations for both the male and female characters."

"Just wanted to call out Ubisoft because their ridiculous excuse doesn't make any sense even from the developer perspective. It clearly seems driven by a marketing decision, which is extremely unfortunate."

Jon Ingold of Inkle explained that when he was making narrative game Sorcery! he felt a gender choice didn't make sense compared to other game features that would be seen by all players. A playable female character was added as a later update though, and it took only a fraction of the time that Ingold had expected.

2

"Obviously, for a game like Assassin's Creed, they'd have to re-record the entire dialogue set and couldn't just reuse the text like we did," he admits.

"But I suspect the developers there feel that 'maleness' is an important part of their storytelling simply because they've never actually tried making their stories work with either gender in the lead role. It turns out -- since computer game protagonists tend to be loners who don't form stable relationships on-screen, don't have kids, and are outside the traditional social norms of the game-period -- that gender doesn't really become relevant at all."

We also heard from Nick Witcher, marketing director from RedBedlam. The lead character in its upcoming shooter, Bedlam, is female.

I think that it's a shame that the desire to have both sexes represented isn't higher up the list of game features from day one, rather than being thought of as a 'we'll do it if we've got the time' feature," he explains.

"Knowing how the big boys tend to stagger things these days I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being DLC later after a little bit of faux 'outrage' generates greater demand and therefore $. However all this being said I don't think games should automatically have both sexes playable if that's not the story or character, e.g. I don't need to play a Lara Croft game as Lance Croft or anything, nor do I expect to have that choice. But if a game is open and has no predefined lead character then having both male and female should both be a main feature to the design.

We've reached out to Ubisoft but with the whirl of E3 and damage control no doubt happening behind the scenes, we've not yet had a company statement. But through Twitter we did get a response from Anna Megill, game writer at Ubisoft Quebec.

"The entire narrative team on my Ubi project wants more female characters," she says.

"I'd love to see more female characters in all games."

In an ideal world the press coverage will shame the publisher into adding a playable female character for co-op; a day one update that is an obvious afterthought is still better than no reaction at all.

Update: Ubisoft has issued a statement in response now, which you can read here.

54 Comments

Dan Whitehead Managing Director, Word Play Narrative Consulting Ltd

51 198 3.9
Dan Lowe, Senior Technical Animator on Watch Dogs, has tweeted that they didn't find any notable differences between male and female mocap: https://twitter.com/danlowlows/status/476575417688948736

Posted:4 months ago

#1

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

247 388 1.6
Alex, let's keep the dialogue constructive please. That's an offensive statement and I'm deleting it.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Thomas Kennedy Unemployed (Seeking work)

8 10 1.3
It does seem a little on the weird side that a Female Character would Double the work when honestly how many more Polys is a Female Character? like an extra 2k-4k depending on structural difference to a male? and lets not forget Ubisoft has Female Characters, their also rigged, they HAVE the resources right there to make a Female Protagonist just by making a few alterations to the current Female model base they have and as Dan Lowe said, there isn't much difference between Male and Female Mo cap and unless you gave the in-game character Breasts the size of Bowling balls there isn't too much difference between Male and Female movement anyhow

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Bianca Anderson Global Programs Specialist, Talent Acquisition, Electronic Arts

6 13 2.2
I found it fairly baffling after having female characters in Brotherhood and with the creation of Aveline de Grandpre, who's a great female protagonist, and an excellent example of diversity in games. Why go backwards? Do we really need 5 more 'cloats" for our male lead at the expense of a single female co-op character? It's a strange and disappointing choice.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

68 91 1.3
Our experience at ACE Team:

In our case for Zeno Clash 1 we had to make our male and female characters use a same "androgenous" skeleton because it was a huge amount of overhead having to make animations for two different skeletons. We did get to create unique male and female skeletons for Zeno Clash 2, but it was a lot of extra work (considering the amount of animations we had to work on).

Obviously we are a very small studio, so decisions like this can have a great effect on our pipeline, but I don't agree with all the comments that seem to suggest that this would be trivial for Ubisoft's development team.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios

94 106 1.1
No it wasn't, it was a humourous retort. Don't be so serious.

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations

103 78 0.8
Sexist approach always takes its toll... Why not make a flat-chested female character? Oh... my apologies. I was expecting two phenomena together: Ubisoft and thinking. Won't happen again :D

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrzej Wroblewski on 11th June 2014 7:36pm

Posted:4 months ago

#7

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

247 388 1.6
Popular Comment
Alex, saying that husbands are crying out "amen" about women being double the work may be humorous to you but it may be offensive to many others. We can do better than that on GI.biz

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Look I dont like the fact that UbiSoft did not include female characters for multiplayer, but at the same time I dont discredit their claims, because more production time and resources are needed to add stuff to a game. Be id a character of different gender or creature or building or whatever. they are the ones making the damn game. If anyone doesnt like the way its done they should just make a game that fits there needs.

Assasins creed is tied to an entire story and mythology and maybe the inclusion of a female wasnt an important aspect in terms of multiplayer. Characters in multiplayer functions as avatars to move about the game world. As far as Im concerned multiplayers most important aspect is the gameplay itself, wether the characters are male or female is not the issue. I can jump into the multiplayer with a random character and i can play just fine.

I can see gender being a factor in story oriented content.

When you make a film a "small change" simply replacing a male character for a female character, would require the film crew to shoot everything all over again and change the entire dialog, secondary and supporting character to fit the gender change. This is no different for a game. And for what its worth how many woman play assasins creed games in comparision to boys? And if any woman is complaining, do they actually play assasins creed.

I think the lack of female characters in multiplayer sucks, since I liked Avelin so much, but then again the multiplayer portion is not story oriented. I dont think this is something that can justify overlooking the quality and great things the game has. Would it be any differant if you played a genderless character like some robot or cartoony creature?

Likewise we have a pretty incredible game with tomb raider, a new one is coming out, I really dont see a problem here. Now a days it seems that if you make a cast of characters all the same sex or you make female characters with big boobs its bad. But if you make woman with flat chests its bad too. I just think the person making the game should be the one calling the shots and people should just appreciate it for what it is instead of seeing something negative or bad everywhere. Somethings are not really an issue until someone who has nothing else better to do than make it an issue, just for kicks... because the cannot create anything themselves, they spend time criticizing the people that do with hopes that they can twist their arm hoping they do it their way.

And finally I respect the developers vision on what they want to create. While not having female multiplayer characters sucks, it doesnt make the game shine any less than it should.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 11th June 2014 8:03pm

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

198 660 3.3
change the entire dialog
Because men and women speak in completely different tongues. Unless your dialogue's all "suck my dick" you're not going to have to change the entire thing. Probably even less than 1% of it.

There was a thing doing the rounds a few months back where someone had read The Hobbit to their daughter with a female Bilbo, they said the only change they had to make was switching male to female pronouns

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Dan Whitehead Managing Director, Word Play Narrative Consulting Ltd

51 198 3.9
@ Carlos Bordeu
I don't agree with all the comments that seem to suggest that this would be trivial for Ubisoft's development team.
I don't think it would be trivial for the development team, although that term rather obscures the fact that Assassin's Creed is the work of hundreds of people working from multiple studios around the world.

The point is, this seems like a weird line to draw in the sand for a series that has always gone above and beyond in pursuit of insanely detailed visuals. This the true next gen debut of one of the most successful AAA franchises around. They've recreated 18th century Paris, populated it with thousands of NPCs, no doubt even had people working on making sure the trees move in just the right way, that AI dogs and birds look natural as they fill in the background. And I'm certain that many hours will have gone into the animation, design and voice acting for the saucy Parisian courtesans that you'll no doubt be able to meet on the streets and use to distract your foes.

But the inclusion of a playable female co-op character is what would push this multi-million dollar game over budget, over deadline? Really?

@ Rick Lopez
Assasins creed is tied to an entire story and mythology and maybe the inclusion of a female wasnt an important aspect in terms of multiplayer. Characters in multiplayer functions as avatars to move about the game world. As far as Im concerned multiplayers most important aspect is the gameplay itself, wether the characters are male or female is not the issue. I can jump into the multiplayer with a random character and i can play just fine.
Putting aside the idea that you could even have a "story and mythology" where the inclusion of a female "wasn't important", the fact remains that previous games in the series had female multiplayer characters. Liberation had a female lead character. This isn't some bizarre out-of-the-blue request for playable octopus characters or something.

Posted:4 months ago

#11

J.K. Studying Game Design Specialization, Austin Community College

7 10 1.4
@Anthony Gowland

Changing the character's gender goes much deeper than changing pronouns and anyone that says otherwise has never written a solid character before. You have to consider the character's personality, they're not soulless.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by J.K. on 11th June 2014 8:40pm

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 172 0.4
Popular Comment
Looking at it logically, it amazes me as someone that isn't in the industry that a few things haven't been mentioned at all. Assassins Creed tries it's best to be historically accurate, but nobody mentions how adding a female character would force a change in storyline in a obviously biased historic period. It doesn't strike me as a simple task making a gender switchable main character as I'm pretty sure large swathes of the game would have to be different or at least written from a gender neutral point of view when Assassins Creed is mostly set in a very gender biased time and as a result all NPCs are likely to respond very differently to a male making a statement than a female and base thier actions accordingly.

Of course if the game design started with this idea from conception then of course it would be different, but the fact that Ubisoft made Liberation a completely separate title should be telling as far as how different a storyline must be to tailor it to a female lead properly. After all, making the game feel like it's lead by a Male protagonist + boobs would be pretty insulting to women all the same.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 11th June 2014 8:46pm

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
@Dan Whitehead - Like I said earlier, its not that I dont disagree with what they are doing, I also see no reason they shouldnt, being multiplayer that is. And the number of in game assets they have created over the course of the entire series suggest they should have the capability to deliver it. Why they didnt include female character in multiplayer is beyond my understanding. It is very weird and strange. But while I disagree with what they did, im not the one making the game and I dont have a clear view on what the reality of the matter is. And the scope of the game is huge from what I can see in the trailers, who knows how many corners they had to cut.

If playing as a female character is so important than I would look for another game, but in this case though it sucks that there is no female avatar, Im ok with it it, because what draws me in is the gameplay, wether it was male, female or genderless characters such as a mecanical or creature character.

In anycase I hope they reconsider and add female avatars to multiplayer, I mean the game is still in development. But Im pretty sure it will happen as I see no reason for it not to be that way.

------------------------------------------

@Anthony Gowlend, @Andrew Ihegbu - I agree with both of your thoughts

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 11th June 2014 8:59pm

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Dan Whitehead Managing Director, Word Play Narrative Consulting Ltd

51 198 3.9
"Changing the character's gender goes much deeper than changing pronouns and anyone that says otherwise has never written a solid character before. You have to consider the character's personality, they're not soulless."
"It doesn't strike me as a simple task making a gender switchable main character as I'm pretty sure large swathes of the game would have to be different or at least written from a gender neutral point of view..."
Nobody is talking about letting people choose the gender of the main character in the story. They're talking about the customisable player avatars that appear in co-op games. You can customise the appearance of your co-op character, but you can't make them female. That's a bizarre restriction that has clearly angered and alienated a lot of players. It has nothing to do with story or character. It's about representation.

Posted:4 months ago

#15

Dan Whitehead Managing Director, Word Play Narrative Consulting Ltd

51 198 3.9
Popular Comment
@ Rick Lopez
...though it sucks that there is no female avatar, Im ok with it it...
Not to be dismissive, but of course you're OK with it. The privilege of being a male gamer is that stuff like this can pass us by. We're very well represented. For female gamers who only occasionally get to see their gender represented in games, and very rarely done well, it's clearly a different story. If it was just about the gameplay, every game would have gender neutral geometric shapes and no story. But If you're going to allow players to customise a character, clearly you're hoping they'll identify with that character. Taking half of the human race off the table for that process is inevitably limiting and alienating. It's silly not to talk about that.

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Sasha Yelesin Student

54 34 0.6
If it's too hard to make both female and male characters, why couldn't Ubisoft give us an all-female cast of Assassins? Or do I already know the answer to my question?

Posted:4 months ago

#17

Ross Mansfield Freelance Artist

7 11 1.6
It's probably quite telling that the discussion both here and on the other article is 99% between men. It really shouldn't be necessary to have to argue that diversity in game characters, and the industry in general, is a Good Thing yet this topic always generates more posts here than any other. Why is that?

Posted:4 months ago

#18

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,584 1,438 0.9
It really shouldn't be necessary to have to argue that diversity in game characters, and the industry in general, is a Good Thing yet this topic always generates more posts here than any other. Why is that?
Edit:

Boh. Didn't realise it was rhetorical. :p

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 12th June 2014 7:52am

Posted:4 months ago

#19

Bianca Anderson Global Programs Specialist, Talent Acquisition, Electronic Arts

6 13 2.2
@Dan Whitehead

I think you summed up my perspective as a female gamer nicely. I've played plenty of games that had male main characters and enjoyed them tremendously (Kingdom Hearts remains one of my all time favorite games.) But when that is the only option it gets old. I don't really care how shiny and wonderful the game is. Ubisoft made a conscious decision to put their resources into something other than even throwing female gamers a bone, and that means I'll take my resources elsewhere as well.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bianca Anderson on 11th June 2014 11:25pm

Posted:4 months ago

#20

Ross Mansfield Freelance Artist

7 11 1.6
It was kind of a rhetorical question, suggesting that maybe a few of the regular posters on this topic could do with taking a step back and having a listen instead?

Posted:4 months ago

#21

Bianca Anderson Global Programs Specialist, Talent Acquisition, Electronic Arts

6 13 2.2
@ Andrew Ihegbu

Actually as far as historical accuracy is concerned there were PLENTY of women involved in the revolution. One of the most famous assassinations (if not the most famous) to take place in the period was performed by a woman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Corday

So I'm afraid the historical accuracy argument doesn't hold water.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bianca Anderson on 11th June 2014 11:26pm

Posted:4 months ago

#22

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

892 1,327 1.5
Whenever I see "privilege" my eyes kinda glaze over tbh., the irony is enough to melt any brain.

Here we are arguing, no demanding, that a third party puts a female character in a video game and getting all out of joint about it. Remind me, how much of the rest of the world is starving, living in fear of rape and death right now?

If you can even have an opinion on video game gender politics, you are privileged in spades. So lets just get the scale right on that moral highground.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 11th June 2014 11:41pm

Posted:4 months ago

#23

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
@Dan -

Well Dan, I really had no idea that because Im a male gamer im privileged. Ive played many games that have female characters that are the only character you can choose and others that have the option of choosing very cool female characters. Ive also played games that had lousy male characters.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

@Everyone else -

Because I am so sick of people seeing sexism everywhere im going to shift my perspective a bit and find valid reasons as to why they made this design choice.

But for those that dont want to read alot, just know that the multiplayer character is in fact the same one you use in the single player game. Making it valid as to why the multplayer portion only features "him" as a playable character.

REMEMBER Im going to shift my perspective as if I was the developer. There are lots of developers here, so read what I write and let me know if Im "off" or "unrealistic" in what I say. Diversity and representation is cool. But i think a developer should be the one to choose what goes in the game and what doesn't. And what ever they choose is not an attack on anyone, just a design choice. Since the folks at UBi have made great female characters for there assassins creed games and other games as well.

Its hard to discredit UbiSofts claims simply because unless your on the development end of things, you wont have a clear understanding on the reality of the situation and the purpose of their design choice. Ive been reading a bit and I can find some reason to their descision.

The multiplayer character is always going to be "ARNO" the main character in the single player campaign. And the level of customization is only left to the customization you find in the character in the main campaign, as with most assassins creed characters you can change their outfits and gear.

So what your left is with for multiplayer is color swapped versions of him.



I did a little reading.... Your playing as ARNO the main character in the story, but in the multiplayer.

My opinion is that they simply didn't want to put too many resources in creating a customizable character option and simply wanted to focus on making the main character the best they could. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON MAKING ASSETS FOR A INFINIT VARIATIONS OF A CUSTOMIZABLE CHARACTERS THEY CHOSE TO FOCUS ON SIMPLY MAKING THE MAIN CHARACTER THE BEST THEY COULD and save time by using those same assets for the multiplayer character. So no you don't have customizable female avatars, but you don't have a robust customizable male avatar either. Its the same character from the main game... equel to everyone.

Its also a valid statement when saying that the focus is on the gameplay and not how your avatar is designed. I believe they omitted the player customization process entirely and kept it to a minimal, reusing assets of the main character ARNO. And simply use a simple color swap to differentiate the players from one another. However your Arno will be represented normally to you on your game perhaps while other players are color swapped versions.

Its also valid to say that maybe gameplay wise you can be playing the story mode in co-op with other players in the story, Each using their own in game Arno, making it relevant to the story.

Also making a robust character customization system takes a lot of development time, so i think UbiSoft simply didn't want to focus on that and limited it to simply using the main character instead. or is anyone here telling me that creating all those character customization options in a game like little big planet is a walk in the park?

What Im saying is none of us really know the reason for it. And they must have a good reason for it, this is UbiSoft for crayon out loud. These guys created "Beyond Good and Evil"



So we have a game that features mostly male characters for whatever reason. If its cool to have an all female cast which most people dont seem to complain about, until its done. I think it should be good to have an all male cast as well. however Im sure this game will feature good female characters as the installments before it have.

People are quick to point fingers and judge without knowing. The game hasnt even come out, and I doubt most people here are working on Assasins creed games let alone build a decent representation of paris with an obscene amount and diverse number of people in it that behave according to your actions.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 12th June 2014 12:00am

Posted:4 months ago

#24

Nic Wechter Senior Designer, Black Tusk (MGS Vancouver)

32 68 2.1
This is a shame, I really enjoyed Assassins Creed : Liberation on Vita and getting to play as a female assassin was a fun and refreshing change.

Hopefully Ubi will change their mind before release, mixing up the coop assassin characters to have different silhouettes could have the additional benefit of making it easier for players to identify each other..

Posted:4 months ago

#25

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Saints Row and GTA were really, really similar, except for the humour and the ability to play a female character. The humour of Saints Row wasn't really my kind of thing, so why did I fall in love with the game the way I never did with GTA?

Because I was in it.

Honestly "adding" female characters shouldn't even be a thing. It's as much "adding" as putting in male characters. We're half the world, we're half the audience. It should be obvious by this point that when choosing an avatar to represent themselves, some of your players are going to want an avatar that represents them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 12th June 2014 5:02am

Posted:4 months ago

#26

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Popular Comment
I was going to leave it at that, but actually no, I'm going to snap and rant here. A couple of you will want to skip the reading part and just start writing the post where you call me a feminazi now.

Because *** all this. Imagine a world that isn't sexist as ****. Imagine a world where people don't debate adding female characters. Imagine a world where the decision, instead, is whether for purposes of the story, to leave one gender or the other out. That would be a fair world, a representative one, where the question asked is "Is there a valid reason not to have men or women in this story?"

Because WE ARE HERE. We have ALWAYS been here. We have ALWAYS been just as smart, just as capable of being strong, just as able to fight. Sure, it takes training to surpass an average man, and a top female olympic athlete might not beat a top male athlete; in physical things, you have a jump-start at the bottom and peak higher. But physiologically, we have higher pain thresholds, are capable of surviving worse injuries and more resilient to hostile environments because having two X chromosomes gives us genetic redundancy for a lot of important things. We are not an invalid choice for game-type activities.

It shouldn't be an effort to include us, it should be something you are doing anyway. "Oh hey, we are making a representation of the world; it's called a game." It should have women in. It should have women in that are not just there for you to fap to. It should be natural and if women aren't there when you're envisioning a world, there is something wrong with you.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 12th June 2014 5:41am

Posted:4 months ago

#27

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
So I hope Ubisoft has learned their lesson on this one. Whenever a yellow journalist raises a question about the inclusion of female characters in your game, remember the wise words of Admiral Ackbar. Give them a polite "no comment" and end the interview immediately. There is nothing to be won by feeding the trolls, there is nothing you can say that would make anything better. Just disengage and move on.

Posted:4 months ago

#28

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Beyond animation lies a world of voice overs, text revisions, camera work and background stories. Not to forget the frame narration involving either the gender swapping animus, or mighty morphing anchor character.

Was nobody on twitter pointing that out? The article could have benefited from arguments in both directions. Why was everybody demanding that the approach of having a cinematic character narration found in AC be replaced by the RPG approach of substituting the main character with the player's choice? What's the hashtag for demanding a male Hanna Montana or female Dwayne Johnson?

Posted:4 months ago

#29

Daniel Kromand Product Manager - Games, Mobile, GameDuell

25 37 1.5
@Klaus:
The discussion is about female coop characters, not main characters. That drastically reduces the workload.

Posted:4 months ago

#30

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
Popular Comment
@Paul
"Remind me, how much of the rest of the world is starving, living in fear of rape and death right now?"

No offense, but I'm tired of that statement; drives people off-topic and has no point. Please, tell me under what logic we don't have the moral right to protest against something because out there there are problems that are bigger?

We are free to protest and complaint about what we want. But answering to you: We are in gamesindustry.biz, not in the U.N. or International Amnesty websites.

I don't know about the rest but this is not the only front in the "war against sexism" that I'm fighting right now. I don't think I am the only one here that can say the same.

Long story short: we talk about this topic in an article about this topic in a website about the industry where this issue took place. As simple as that.

Posted:4 months ago

#31

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I want to avoid comment on the subject in general because Ive already made my points elsewhere and feel Ubisoft did drop the ball because their budget could easily allow this so It's a terrible excuse...
How do you know what their budget was for this game, and how close they came to hitting it (or possibly already exceeding it)?

Posted:4 months ago

#32

Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Codemasters

49 262 5.3
@Bonnie

Dont you just love how all the comments after yours completely ignore everything you said and went back to arguing details?
You said it all.

Posted:4 months ago

#33

Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Codemasters

49 262 5.3
@Paul Johnson
"Whenever I see "privilege" my eyes kinda glaze over tbh., the irony is enough to melt any brain."

I wish I was a white man and could scoff at privilege.
Im lucky enough to be well educated and well paid, but do I scoff at the idea that I have it better than others? No! I fight for those who are less fortunate and I dont understand why others seem to be so afraid to do the same.

Seriously though, those of you arguing the details of the case of the publishers, what do you lose by supporting equality in games character representation? What do you personally lose?
If there was a choice of a female avatar in Assassins Creed Unity, what would you lose? You would gain a choice. And possibly a more realistic game, but you would not lose one thing.

Posted:4 months ago

#34

Stu Johnson Technical Lead

15 39 2.6
OK, Ok, I have to bite when I read things like this:
"Animation and modelling a playable character doesn't require as much commitment and costs as Ubisoft says. In fact, a trend among many indie developers looking to cut on time and costs is to use the same rig (skeleton) for the model to create a common set of animations for both the male and female characters."
Shared animations on male & female rigs, you either have pretty androgynous characters, a very odd storyline or maybe, just maybe, an art review is called for...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stu Johnson on 12th June 2014 10:40am

Posted:4 months ago

#35

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
If there was a choice of a female avatar in Assassins Creed Unity, what would you lose? You would gain a choice. And possibly a more realistic game, but you would not lose one thing.
Yes I would, and I say that as someone who would pick one of those avatars in a heartbeat were it an option, I play female avatars most of the time when given the choice. But I would lose something. What? I don't know, but Ubisoft does. It might mean less testing, it might mean less customization options for the existing characters, it might mean the game releases in winter instead of fall, it might mean that the game has to cost more on the shelves (which is unlikely), it might just mean the game would make less profits, meaning they have less money to throw around at risky projects. There would be a cost somewhere, budget can be neither created nor destroyed, EVERY choice comes at a cost, even the ones we really really wish could be free.

Posted:4 months ago

#36

Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Codemasters

49 262 5.3
I guess my question is, is the lack of equality worth less than you having to wait 3 months longer for a game? Im not talking about publishers costs, because the bottom line is the publisher WILL do what the player wants.
But you as the player, is this important to you?
Is equality important to you? Are the rights of women important to you? And if so, then are they more or less important than "less customization options for the existing characters, it might mean the game releases in winter instead of fall, it might mean that the game has to cost more on the shelves (which is unlikely), it might just mean the game would make less profits".

The fact is that if something is deemed important to the market, the publishers WILL go for it. Regardless of cost. Initially it might cost more, but in the long run, it will become just another part of the process, a natural one. Just as natural as...oh i dont know, the world consisting of men and women?

Posted:4 months ago

#37

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
@Helen

The original version had a lot more caps and swearing.

Posted:4 months ago

#38

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
All this commotion surrounding Assasins Creed unity yet people stay mum, about Tomb Raider, Bayonetta, Mirrors Edge, Splatoon, Valient Hearts, Ori and The Blind Forest... I was happy to see Palutena included in the smash bros. roster. Also for hyrule warriors Nintendo had a large focus on Midna, Zelda and Impa

It just seems that no matter what is done some people are just not satisfied...

Nobody talks about the amount of woman who took stage at E3 or the Super Smash bros, tournament. I remember E3s where no woman took stage this year we saw a few during the conferences and the smash bros. tournament and... nobody said a word about it.

i highly doubt many woman were interested in playing FarCry4 from the get go and changing a co-op player to a female I dont think will change that. And for a single player game I doubt the Co-op aspect is that important. I myself dont play online much. I Dont blame UbiSoft for not putting too many resources their. multiplayer aspects of most games, unless its competitive multiplayer or MMO... usually fill out a niche hole in the game for the few that do care. i mean who plays Uncharted 2 or Ninja gaiden 3 multiplayer now a days?

You know alot of people come to post here not because of the games, but because of issues they have with themselves or their life. Wether its gender or sexual orientation issues, Its pretty sad, because Assasins Creed Unity and FarCry 4 look amazing, and some people cant see that because they are stuck up to their neck in their own mud.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 12th June 2014 8:04pm

Posted:4 months ago

#39

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I guess my question is, is the lack of equality worth less than you having to wait 3 months longer for a game?
Yes. In a very real sense it does, mainly because I buy a lot of fall release games during Amazon's Black Friday sales, meaning that if they push the game back to winter, not only would I be paying it later, but I'd likely be paying $15-20 more for it. I enjoy playing as a female avatar, but I don't think it's worth $15-20 to add female avatars to ACU's multipler options, especially since I doubt I'll be using those elements much (I tend to play at a different time of day than a lot of my friends, so I'll likely be playing the game solo). Also, form Ubi's perspective, a game released in winter will likely sell significantly less, this is why games really scramble to get their games out in the fall if it's ay all possible.

If someone else really cares, if they can't bring themselves to play ACU without having a female avatar in multiplayer, then they are perfectly free to not buy the game. If ACU vastly underperforms compared to previous entries and other next-gen exclusives then Ubi will recieve their message loud and clear.
Is equality important to you? Are the rights of women important to you? And if so, then are they more or less important than "less customization options for the existing characters, it might mean the game releases in winter instead of fall, it might mean that the game has to cost more on the shelves (which is unlikely), it might just mean the game would make less profits".
Equality and the rights of women are important to me, but to associate this issue with equality and the rights of women does a gross disservice to the cause of equality and the rights of women. Women's rights are not being infringed here. Nobody has the right to having every product hand tailored to be exactly what they want it to be.
Nobody talks about the amount of woman who took stage at E3 or the Super Smash bros, tournament. I remember E3s where no woman took stage this year we saw a few during the conferences and the smash bros. tournament and... nobody said a word about it.
Oh, other news sites said words about it. About how disappointing it was how few women were on stage this year.

Posted:4 months ago

#40

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

892 1,327 1.5
And what's wrong with a bit of persecution anyway, right? I mean, assembling a hatchet squad to piss all over someone elses design choices seems perfectly reasonable to me.... Top journalism.

Posted:4 months ago

#41

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

247 388 1.6
All of you complaining that GI.biz continues to cover this, asking how it's newsworthy, moaning about privilege, etc etc... YOU are all part of the problem. And if you don't think there is a problem, again YOU are part of the problem. Take a hard look in the mirror and maybe think before you post comments. These threads are an embarrassment to the industry.

Posted:4 months ago

#42

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
All of you complaining that GI.biz continues to cover this, asking how it's newsworthy, moaning about privilege, etc etc... YOU are all part of the problem. And if you don't think there is a problem, again YOU are part of the problem. Take a hard look in the mirror and maybe think before you post comments. These threads are an embarrassment to the industry.
Well, you're right, GI is a business, not a charity, and it's your right to do what you need to do to drive page views and profits. It is not our place as consumers to criticize the choices you make in that regard.

Posted:4 months ago

#43

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

892 1,327 1.5
Nice try Tim, but I don't think many will understand what you did there.

Posted:4 months ago

#44

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

247 388 1.6
Well, you're right, GI is a business, not a charity, and it's your right to do what you need to do to drive page views and profits. It is not our place as consumers to criticize the choices you make in that regard.
Don't know why this keeps coming up. I'll say it again: We don't do things to drive page views because our business is not at all controlled by ad impressions. We can't compete as an industry site for ad impressions like GameSpot and IGN get. Our sponsorship deals are very, very different - and most important of all, editorial doesn't get involved in that one bit whatsoever. If any of you think that our coverage of this important issue is actually driven by profits, you're just showing a complete lack of understanding of how GI.biz works.

Posted:4 months ago

#45

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Then I'm completely lost as to why you have this complete non-issue splashed all over your front page.

Posted:4 months ago

#46

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Perhaps I'm just a bit confused or have missed something, but now that we've had a new update indicating that all of the co-op characters are actually also Arno, what is the story here?

Posted:4 months ago

#47

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Perhaps I'm just a bit confused or have missed something, but now that we've had a new update indicating that all of the co-op characters are actually also Arno, what is the story here?
That was always part of the story, a lot of people just ignore it because it doesn't suit their ideology. The story is this: In AC4, you play Arno. If other people join you in Co-op, they appear to you as Arno, only with different clothing customization options, and maybe facial swaps (I don't recall hearing anything specific on that and nobody's bothered to ask). At one point they considered also allowing this swap-in avatar to be female, and maybe they did some work towards implementing it, but they decided that they could not implement it fully on time and within budget so they scrapped the idea. This, of course, was the most horribly misogynistic decision in the history of gaming, resulting in dozens upon dozens of stories during the busiest news period for the gaming industry.

Edward R. Murrow would roll in his grave if he knew was a "videogame" was.

Posted:4 months ago

#48

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