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Ubisoft: "Diversity for us is very important"

The Big Event: E3 in association with
Ubisoft: "Diversity for us is very important"

Fri 13 Jun 2014 7:25pm GMT / 3:25pm EDT / 12:25pm PDT
PublishingE3 2014

Alain Corre discusses the controversy around the lack of playable female characters

This week, in the midst of E3 no less, French publisher Ubisoft was at the center of a firestorm concerning Assassin's Creed Unity's (and Far Cry 4's) omission of a playable female character. Ubisoft had originally suggested that it could be double the work to add in the character model and animation to at least have selectable female characters for co-op, but the company has since distanced itself from that explanation. Speaking with GamesIndustry International during E3 this week, EMEA territories executive director Alain Corre, stressed that it's really about respecting a developer's creative vision.

"We very much respect the creativity and the vision of our producers and creators making the game. On Assassin's Creed Unity the creative vision is to embody Arno, the hero, and you are going through the [French] Revolution. So you are going to embody this person and this is really the point of the game. You are this person and you are trying to sort out all the missions while going through Paris. Really, the best emotion you can have with the creative vision of our team is to embody Arno," said Corre.

"When we decided a few years ago to create a game with Aveline, an Assassin's Creed heroine, the vision for our game was to embody a heroine. So we really let our creators have the vision to maximize the experience of the game. And if you look at what we've done recently with the very poetic game, Child of Light, which pleased a lot of people, it was a different angle of creativity and you were also playing as a young heroine... So really, diversity for us is very important. But we respect very much the creative vision of the team. This is what matters at the end of the day."

"we let the imagination of our creators go and we accept that sometimes they want to create games with a specific hero or heroine, and really that's their remit"

When asked if the decision stems from the cost of adding in a female character model or if it ties into business thinking that it's simply easier to sell to a mostly male core demographic when you present that audience with a male protagonist, Corre sidestepped the issue and once again said that it's really a matter of what vision the game creators have.

"We are reviewing and analyzing and studying all the projects that are coming from the studios and our creators, and we consider that for a project to reach its potential it needs to bring something new and fresh, so we consider anything," he noted. "Again, I come back to Child of Light - it was created by a guy who was behind Far Cry 3, so we let the imagination of our creators go and we accept that sometimes they want to create games with a specific hero or heroine, and really that's their remit. We follow what they do and if we, in management, feel that it's a good, compelling story to tell and that it can please a lot of fans with a good quality game, then we greenlight it."

"So really it's based on the ideas coming from the creators. They have a vision and you have to respect that. And on Assassin's Creed Unity we have some women characters still to be announced," he added.

Ultimately, Corre stressed that for Ubisoft it's all about creating unique gaming experiences and conveying emotions for players. He pointed not only to Child of Light but to the uniquely non-violent World War I game Valiant Hearts, which is inspired by letters written during the war and really tugs at the heartstrings.

"What is important in the games we create and the universes we create is to convey emotions. We want people to be able to feel something strong and different when they play. Valiant Hearts is exactly that," he said.

Dan Pearson conducted the interview with Corre, and you can expect more from the Ubisoft exec in the coming week

70 Comments

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance

213 529 2.5
I think a lot of this so called "controversy" is the hangover from a news deluge at E3 followed by utter silence. Writers gotta make that money.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but going after Assassin's Creed, a series that not only featured a main female character, but other strong females in its games, seems to be a little "click-baity" for me. I think the animation/voice-over argument rings true to some extent - these assets have to be made by someone and that takes money. And I don't think the solution is necessarily to include a female lead option in every game, because story-driven games will suffer from that (in the same way that chucking a male character option in a game designed toward all NPCs interacting with a female lead would be off-putting). I think from a design and writing standpoint, there are obvious solutions but they are only achievable early in development and must be planned prior to asset creation.

So much of this reminds me of the Bioshock Infinite cover art change. No Elizabeth, not really a good representation of the game, just a white guy with a shotgun on his back. But perhaps this is what focus groups and sales have taught us.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

M.H. Williams Staff Writer, USgamer

37 32 0.9
Or some would just like female models when the three other assassins are faceless, nameless blanks. Watch Dogs did the same thing last month - you're always Aiden, but when you invade another player's game, you appear as a random - and female models are part of the random options.

Either or.

We argue about business models, mechanics, and aesthetics all the time. The only difference is whether you care about the feature or not. The lack of women assassins (especially since we've been rolling with them since Brotherhood?) is a feature some would like.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Or some would just like female models when the three other assassins are faceless, nameless blanks. Watch Dogs did the same thing last month - you're always Aiden, but when you invade another player's game, you appear as a random - and female models are part of the random options.
I haven't gotten to play it yet, but aren't the parkour and melee combat options much more limited in Watch_Dogs? I would imagine that ACU characters have a LOT more animations to them than Watch_Dogs has.

I don't know, I just have a hard time believing that if this were a trivial fix, they wouldn't have done it from the start. Why wouldn't they? Just to stick it to the ladies? That they haven't done it from the start indicates to me that it would not be trivial, that their weighed their options, and they decided not to include them in favor of meeting other priorities. I can respect that.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

M.H. Williams Staff Writer, USgamer

37 32 0.9
You would imagine, but now we're in the realm of imagining and speculation. They decided not to and people commented on it. Simple as that.

You can disagree, but what strikes me as odd is the idea that it's manufactured outrage instead of the fact that I'd actually like to have a female player model. I'll go back to my go-to example from Dragon Age Origins. Even if you choose a player character with darker skin in that game, your family is still 100 percent white. That was a choice. It was at the bottom of their priority list. That's fine, but for me that was a big thing that threw me out of my experience. For you, it probably never crossed your mind.

Letting Bioware know that was a problem means that it was fixed the next time around in Dragon Age II.

I'll play Assassin's Creed Unity, but I'll definitely let Ubisoft know that they should probably think of female model if they're not making a specific character because it's important to me.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
You would imagine, but now we're in the realm of imagining and speculation. They decided not to and people commented on it. Simple as that.
Well, imagination and speculation is what this whole argument boils down to. It's Benghazi stuff. The loudest voices imagine some dark ulterior motives, like that Ubi made this choice because they "don't value women" or some such nonsense. I just think it's fair to keep the issue on track and steer it away from such ridiculous assumptions.
I'll go back to my go-to example from Dragon Age Origins. Even if you choose a player character with darker skin in that game, your family is still 100 percent white. That was a choice. It was at the bottom of their priority list. That's fine, but for me that was a big thing that threw me out of my experience. For you, it probably never crossed your mind.

Letting Bioware know that was a problem means that it was fixed the next time around in Dragon Age II.
True enough, and letting Ubi know is certainly a good thing. I mean, if this issue bothers you personally, for God 's sake send them an email about it, let them know. I just don't think it's a topic that deserved six+ different headlines on this site, as many or more over at Polygon, and who knows how many more on other sites. I mean, one headline, sure, that would be fair, so long as it presented the issue without the innuendo that they "should have done better," but the quantity of coverage on the issue has just been insane, given how much other news there is to cover this week.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
If I ever work for a company, i would defenitly love it to be UbiSoft. They seem to have a pretty good enviroment for creative people to work in. True the got to make money but they also allow the developers to realize their vision ofwhat they create to an extent... I wish people here would let the spectacle surrounding Assasins Creed Unity lay to rest... 6 articles is enough in this short amount of time, no use adding more wood to the fire. We had a taste of a female assasin in AC:Liberation, hopefully that wont be the last we will see of a female assasin, just like hopefully beyond Good and Evil will have another game.

Lets not forget about Child of light and lets also look at their upcoming games like valient hearts...

Lets also take into consideration that Assasins Creed unity has not come out. We dont know the nature of the multiplayer aspect of the game. If it is done in the way it is done in watch dogs, all this commotion surrounding it is really for nothing. Same with farcry4... for all i care the second-coop character may be just a dummy character who hardly appears in the game and is only there to fill in the shoes of a very ambiguos second co-op player. I mean your not gonna even see the character on screen, let alone listen to some grunt and moans when you get shot. Its a first person shooter.

Anyway, i addressed my opinions through the course of 5 articles and now 6... I really dont want to say any more regarding it. I think the whole thing was blown out a proportion and turned into something that it is not.
----------------------
regarding the comments about dragon Age origines... If im not mistaken you can also play as a Dwarf, and i dont recall your family being Dwarf people... I guess Dwarfs should be really pissed off.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 14th June 2014 12:42am

Posted:4 months ago

#6

M.H. Williams Staff Writer, USgamer

37 32 0.9
Well, imagination and speculation is what this whole argument boils down to. It's Benghazi stuff. The loudest voices imagine some dark ulterior motives, like that Ubi made this choice because they "don't value women" or some such nonsense. I just think it's fair to keep the issue on track and steer it away from such ridiculous assumptions.
If you have a faceless avatar and you don't have a female model, then yeah, you prioritize a male one as the default. That's literally a valuation. It probably wasn't made with malice, but the ultimate effect is the same.
I just don't think it's a topic that deserved six+ different headlines on this site, as many or more over at Polygon, and who knows how many more on other sites. I mean, one headline, sure, that would be fair, so long as it presented the issue without the innuendo that they "should have done better," but the quantity of coverage on the issue has just been insane, given how much other news there is to cover this week.
Different stories, different quotes, and even different answers from Ubisoft. Each with its own story. That's how the news works.

And yes, they should've done better. I enjoy Ubisoft quite a great deal, that's why I want them to stay great. They have amazing teams and I want those teams to live up to standards set like ACIII, Liberation, Freedom Cry, Child of Light, and more when it comes to cultural understanding.
We had a taste of a female assasin in AC:Liberation, hopefully that wont be the last we will see of a female assasin, just like hopefully beyond Good and Evil will have another game.
The question is why do we have to hope? Should be the norm, right? What goes into the assumption that white male is the default is most media?
Lets also take into consideration that Assasins Creed unity has not come out. We dont know the nature of the multiplayer aspect of the game. If it is done in the way it is done in watch dogs, all this commotion surrounding it is really for nothing.
If it's done in the same way as Watch Dogs, there's literally even less reason for it to make sense, because again Watch Dogs has female avatars for its random rolls in multiplayer.
regarding the comments about dragon Age origines... If im not mistaken you can also play as a Dwarf, and i dont recall your family being Dwarf people... I guess Dwarfs should be really pissed off.
One, you can play a darkskinned Dwarf and run into the same problem. Two, if you play a Dwarf, your family are in fact dwarves. Rather the entire point of the dwarf plotline. Interesting statements though.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by M.H. Williams on 14th June 2014 4:33am

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
If you have a faceless avatar and you don't have a female model, then yeah, you prioritize a male one as the default.
No, that's not true. They have a faceless male avatar because they had a faced male main character lying around and could port 95% of him into the faceless male. If this were a multiplayer option for Liberation and they had a faceless male model but no female then that would be a dis. If they had the faceless Anton model and also a faceless "Hulking male" type model then that would be a dis, but having one male model based off the game's existing player model, and not adding a female model that would have required significant additional work is NOT a dis.
Different stories, different quotes, and even different answers from Ubisoft. Each with its own story. That's how the news works.
How many stories are there about Gametrailers imploding? How many about the actual games themselves? This issue has a LOT of articles about what is one basic story.
And yes, they should've done better. I enjoy Ubisoft quite a great deal, that's why I want them to stay great. They have amazing teams and I want those teams to live up to standards set like ACIII, Liberation, Freedom Cry, Child of Light, and more when it comes to cultural understanding.
And they did. This was not an issue that had anything to do with cultural understanding. I'm sure they were as shocked as anyone that people would lose their #### over this, or they wouldn't have even commented on it. They will know better next time, "no comment" and disengage from the interview.
The question is why do we have to hope? Should be the norm, right? What goes into the assumption that white male is the default is most media?
Because white male is the default in games. It's the largest portion of the potential audience, and therefore the automatic (ie default) option, unless there's a story you want to tell that is better suited to a female character. That doesn't mean it needs to be the option you end up with, but obviously it would be the default, no reason it shouldn't be.
If it's done in the same way as Watch Dogs, there's literally even less reason for it to make sense, because again Watch Dogs has female avatars for its random rolls in multiplayer.
Yes, but again Watch_Doges has a much more limited and less interactive animation set. Anton has more moves than Aiden does that more strongly interact with NPCs and environment. It makes translating animations between the two more complicated.

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
You'll know when we've arrived when a developer puts out a game that stars a white-male lead and no one bats an eyelid. One day this will be a reality.

Funny how progress, at least on a superficial level, looks the same as regression.

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Julian Beck HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
I remember a vocal line while watching those incoming articles every 8 hours...

"round and round it goes, when it stops nobody knows..."

so tiring.

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

73 33 0.5
How many headlines,and how many comments, mind boggling.

You've budgeted, scheduled, and designed for the male character in your game.

Now, budget, schedule and design for a female character as well.

Make a plan, before you begin.

Other companies can do it. Other games can do it.

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Now, budget, schedule and design for a female character as well.

Make a plan, before you begin.

Other companies can do it. Other games can do it.
So what do you suggest as the best possible outcome of your plan, that they make a game that is about 20% less good than it otherwise would have been, or that cost about 20% more to purchase? I mean, they can't just double the character workload without taking that cost from somewhere, so which would you prefer, worse game, or more expensive game?

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
I mean, they can't just double the character workload without taking that cost from somewhere, so which would you prefer, worse game, or more expensive game?
I seriously think you're starting to take the mickey, Tim. Sorry. The above is flawed logic. Here's why:

Time and money does not automatically equate to quality. In no industry is that an applicable equation. There can be seen to be a correlation between the two, but we don't have to look far - in this industry, and outside it - to see you're incorrect. Your argument is a textbook example of Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc - after this, therefore because of this. (Correlation does not imply causation.)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 14th June 2014 9:23am

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

201 670 3.3
Popular Comment
Having male & female options from the start would have made the game 20% less good? That's just a baffling statement.
Anyway, i addressed my opinions through the course of 5 articles and now 6... I really dont want to say any more regarding it.
you don't have to comment on every article you know, Rick. Especially after you wrote an essay declaring that you were leaving.

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Time and money does not automatically equate to quality. In no industry is that an applicable equation. There can be seen to be a correlation between the two, but we don't have to look far - in this industry, and outside it - to see you're incorrect. Your argument is a textbook example of Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc - after this, therefore because of this. (Correlation does not imply causation.)
So you're saying, they won't have to hire any new people to do the additional work, and they won't have to pay them any additional salary, such as overtime pay, they will merely force them to produce nearly twice as much work, at an equal level of quality, within the same amount of time? Is this theoretical studio in Cambodia or something? I doubt that would fly in North America or Europe.

I'm simplifying by saying "20% worse or 20% more expensive," of course, but there would need to be a shift in something. If they'd decided, even from the beginning of the project, that a playable female model was definitely going to be in, then that would have a price tag attached, a certain amount of man hours assigned to various modelers, animators, audio engineers, texture artists, etc.

That would mean, by necessity, that either those artists would have to spend less time working on the tasks that they were actually assigned, meaning that those features would be less polished, or they would spend extra hours on it, which would cost more, or they would have to hire additional talent, which would also cost more, and that cost would have to either come out of the budget elsewhere, or added to the price tag of the eventual product (or they would just sell the game at a loss for some unfathomable reason). So in the end, that would led to one of three likely outcomes:

1. They manage to do it all, but the game has to cost more to cover the added production costs. I would say this one is least likely, since retail costs are fairly standardized and sometimes go down, but rarely go up for the core game.

2. The game we got would be the same, only shabbier. The existing player characters and NPCs would be a bit less polished, with less refined animations, less refined textures, maybe less customization options, less variety in NPCs you see around, etc., just a bit worse all around, because the existing team had less time to spend on the existing content to make room for this additional content.

3. The existing characters and NPCs would be as good as we get, but the game would be missing features someplace. Maybe some added multiplayer modes, maybe some mission types, we don't really know enough about what Unity is dropping to know which features are most expendable, but something would be cut, and all the people working on that something would be cut, to afford the added character team needed to produce the female avatars. If it were Black Flag, I would say cut the diving bell team, those segments were annoying. Or maybe cut the Fleet mini-game team, I liked it well enough but ti didn't mesh great with the game. Or maybe cut the "checkers and other pub games" team, I never even bothered with any of those so I suppose they could go without hurting to much, but anyways, something would need to be cut.

The third would be the easiest to make, but who knows if there are more women out there that cannot enjoy playing as a male avatar than there were people out there who really loved Nine Men Morris.

Anyways, long story short, you can't have it all, life doesn't work that way, everything has an associated cost, which cost do you choose?

Posted:4 months ago

#15
I've worked on a game with a character like this (ironically a female) programming the main character and it would take double the amount of work for the animators and probably another 20%-50% for the gameplay programmers and testers. There's 100s of animations then need done, scripted and tested.

Everyone should stop talking rubbish. It's a valid reason. You have the right to disagree with their priorities but you don't have a right to tell them they're using it as an excuse and essentially lying.

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
There's 100s of animations then need done, scripted and tested.
An Ubi employee is on record that the Anton/Assassinguy model has at least 8000 animations that would need to be ported over.

Posted:4 months ago

#17

David Canela Game Designer

57 103 1.8
Everyone who spots the irony, gets a juicy interwebz-cookie:

"Stop asking game developers to create more female protagonists, they're free to create whatever they want! Write less of these articles and more about xyz instead!"

(Bonus cookie if you realize the respective articles usually highlight a bias instead of asking for a specific game to be changed, censored or banned.)

Edit: had to add more spot-the-irony bonus cookies: " Stop accusing game devs of having a hidden sexist agenda, you clickbaiting SJWs! "

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Canela on 14th June 2014 1:18pm

Posted:4 months ago

#18

Mike Bithell Design

5 51 10.2
Popular Comment
These comment threads are always a fun mish mash of ideology, half understood press releases, a smattering of bigotry, real names and employers, and pointlessly bold words.

A game is fairly criticised for a omitting depictions of a big chunk of its audience. It's likely impossible at this point for it to be changed, but hey, let's keep talking about it, because we'll likely see an effect down the line.

Honestly can't see where commenters are disagreeing on what is a pretty straightforward criticism, politely made and provably fair. I'm sure Ubi are nodding and updating the GDD for AC7, or whichever series entry is currently at planning stage.

BOLD WORDS

Posted:4 months ago

#19

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
BOLD WORDS
Extra points for capitalisation. :p

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 14th June 2014 12:00pm

Posted:4 months ago

#20

Mike Bithell Design

5 51 10.2
Extra points for capitalisation. :p
Adding a new scoring mechanism to the comments system would likely add 50 days of work to the website. I'm sure gamesindustry.biz would not want to sacrifice the time and money to cater to your needs.

Do you want gamesindustry.biz to be 20% worse Morville? DO YOU?

Posted:4 months ago

#21

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
Do you want gamesindustry.biz to be 20% worse Morville? DO YOU?
Well, I do feel that gamification is required on this site, but there's no proof that it would make any difference to the industry as a whole. On the other hand, my needs as a straight white male aren't being met. So YES!

Posted:4 months ago

#22
@Tim

Wow, that's the difference between a late generation PS3 game and a PS2 game I suppose. I thought it might be over a 1000 but 8000.

Before I read that I actually did think that they should have implemented it. Inclusivity is important and while the number of gamers it matters to is probably not relatively big it does help to encourage more females to play and a company the size of Ubisoft can absorb the extra cost even if had to be DLC. However 8000 animations, that's a lot.

Posted:4 months ago

#23

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Everyone who spots the irony, gets a juicy interwebz-cookie:

"Stop asking game developers to create more female protagonists, they're free to create whatever they want! Write less of these articles and more about xyz instead!"

(Bonus cookie if you realize the respective articles usually highlight a bias instead of asking for a specific game to be changed, censored or banned.)

Edit: had to add more spot-the-irony bonus cookies: " Stop accusing game devs of having a hidden sexist agenda, you clickbaiting SJWs! "
I pointed out this same irony when one of the people who writes these sorts of articles was trying to claim that he was doing the right thing here and that we should stop complaining about it. Yeah, complainers gonna complain on both sides. Personally though, I hold journalists to a higher standard than comments sections.

If the people writing these articles want to send personal letter to Ubi, or post on their forums, fair enough, they're free to state their own opinions without us commenting on it. If they're posting in an official capacity on a news site though, I expect them to retain some journalistic credibility about it and cover the story fairly, and without more attention than it's due. If multiple writers have opinions on a single issue, or if multiple stories cover essentially the same topic, it's the editor's job to condense them all into a single headline.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Ogul on 14th June 2014 2:10pm

Posted:4 months ago

#24

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
You can disagree, but what strikes me as odd is the idea that it's manufactured outrage instead of the fact that I'd actually like to have a female player model.
I'm afraid in this case it's a case of an insulated games reporting industry that has locked itself its own echo chamber. I'm sure that those who like a female player model exist, undoubtedly so.

But that ignores that this was very much a top down outcry, not one that came about from spontaneous consumer interest. The general lack of interest on consumer sites (that isn't reactive to these articles) demonstrates that this isn't as big a consumer issue as many journo's are making it out to be.

Of course consumer sites in general don't raise as much concern over these issues, but in this case in particular the gap between those reporting it and those responding is staggeringly wider than usual.

Rather comically Kotaku even wrote a headline that in no way reflected their readership, suggesting consumer outrage at Ubisoft's position (when it was in fact just the writers outrage, and not substantiated by consumer voice in the form of social media or otherwise). Quite who they sourced for their headline is a mystery.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 14th June 2014 2:13pm

Posted:4 months ago

#25

David Canela Game Designer

57 103 1.8
I expect them to retain some journalistic credibility about it and cover the story fairly, and without more attention than it's due. If multiple writers have opinions on a single issue, or if multiple stories cover essentially the same topic, it's the editor's job to condense them all into a single headline.
The thing is, you're passing a value judgement here when you say this topic gets "more attention than it's due" that many sure agree with, but there's also many who disagree with that estimate, most importantly the editor and the journalists on their respective sites. Media coverage is not a limited thing anyone's free to report on other stuff and draw the readers that's sick of this topic with other articles that do "deserve attention". Besides, we're talking about games media, so it's not like talking about inclusiveness is preventing the public from learning about, I don't know, [insert truly important topic here].

Furthermore, many articles were responses to new developments such as commentaries from Ubi and pieces that provide background information such as interviews with professionals.

Last but not least, "the media" actually consists of a variety of non-coordinated outlets; it may bother some to find articles on this subject on polygon, rps, kotaku and gi.biz, but you can't seriously expect any of them to ignore the subject, just because some other outlet reported on it as well, all because you personally consider this to be "undue attention".

Posted:4 months ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
If multiple writers have opinions on a single issue, or if multiple stories cover essentially the same topic, it's the editor's job to condense them all into a single headline.
Just doesn't happen in the real world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/world/middleeast/shiites-flock-to-join-militias-to-battle-Sunnis-who-are-driving-toward-Baghdad.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/world/middleeast/beleaguered-iraqis-court-iranian-mastermind-of-the-shiites-who-fought-the-us.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/us/us-veterans-watch-gains-made-with-blood-erased-by-insurgents-in-iraq.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/world/middleeast/obama-finds-he-cant-put-iraq-behind-him.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/world/asia/iraq.html

Certainly they vary more than the articles on this website, but I think you'll find it to be a valid editorial choice to make separate articles.
But that ignores that this was very much a top down outcry, not one that came about from spontaneous consumer interest. The general lack of interest on consumer sites (that isn't reactive to these articles) demonstrates that this isn't as big a consumer issue as many journo's are making it out to be.
There is something to be said for media that speak out on behalf of segments of the population who aren't their usual readership and whose readers haven't expressed any care about the point, in order to bring an issue or issues to a broader audience. "Activist" articles about poverty, privacy, homelessness or race often occur in "serious" journalism. The "serious media" (the NYTimes, The Guardian, the WaPo, etc.) also voice concerns regarding perceived injustices on behalf of those whose voices aren't heard (again, the poor, various minorities, etc.).

I personally welcome such articles, no matter the media outlet, or industry.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 14th June 2014 4:09pm

Posted:4 months ago

#27
@Morville

Are you seriously comparing not being able to play as a female in a game, a game series that has previously had a lead character be female the same as poverty, privacy, homelessness or race issues.

Tim is right. This was a non-issue blown up by the media because it stirs the **** and gets page views. I see this as another example of where activism is misused and as a result does more harm than good by pitting people against each other.

Posted:4 months ago

#28

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
Are you seriously comparing not being able to play as a female in a game, a game series that has previously had a lead character be female the same as poverty, privacy, homelessness or race issues.
*sigh*

No, I am not saying they're as bad as each-other. Don't take me for someone who thinks gaming is the be-all-and-end-all, please. I am saying that other media outlets report on issues that may not seem to reflect their demographic or readership, and that it is well within the gaming media's rights to draw attention to issues that affect the industry, regardless of who the perceived readers are, or whether any of those readers have asked for attention to be drawn.

Edit:

And all this reminds me of the furore when RPS had repeated articles about sexism. All the same complaints. Here was RPS's response: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/06/misogyny-sexism-and-why-rps-isnt-shutting-up

Maybe gi.biz should respond in the same manner?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 14th June 2014 7:41pm

Posted:4 months ago

#29

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Last but not least, "the media" actually consists of a variety of non-coordinated outlets; it may bother some to find articles on this subject on polygon, rps, kotaku and gi.biz, but you can't seriously expect any of them to ignore the subject, just because some other outlet reported on it as well, all because you personally consider this to be "undue attention".
If Polygon had one story and Kotaku had one and this site had one then that would be fine, but EACH site had a half-dozen or more headlines on the topic over not months or even weeks, but over THREE DAYS during the biggest gaming news period of the year. That doesn't strike you as a bit excessive? And yes, there were updates to the story over that period, which is what the "[update]" feature is for.
There is something to be said for media that speak out on behalf of segments of the population who aren't their usual readership and whose readers haven't expressed any care about the point,
Yes, the word is "chauvinism," a patriarchal belief that you know what's best for the weaker sex and that it's your job to speak up for them when they have no interest in speaking up for themselves, because they really don't care.

Posted:4 months ago

#30

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Popular Comment
@Tim Ogul

You must have missed the very large numbers of women speaking up on the issue because they do really care. In fact, they've been speaking up on the issue for years.

Actually, it might be that the issue is getting so much press because by this point, a lot of us are really, really furious.

You must also have missed the fact that some games journalists are women and are speaking for themselves.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 15th June 2014 12:09am

Posted:4 months ago

#31

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Yes, I have noticed, and commented, on the literally dozens of women who seem very upset on this issue (while in many cases simultaneously showing that they don't actually understand the issue by stating as fact things which are not actually true), but the overwhelming majority of the discussion has been between men who don't see this as a big deal, and other men who insist that women see it as a Really Big Deal. Meanwhile most of the women gamers (and I am assuming that there are more than just a few dozen of them) are just happily playing the games that are already out and looking forward to the many great games that were announced at E3 but that are getting their coverage quashed by all of this nonsense.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Ogul on 15th June 2014 8:29am

Posted:4 months ago

#32

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

73 33 0.5
20% what? huh? Where did you get %20 from?

Listen, the money and resources that Ubisoft have, are staggering. STAGGERING. The have the power to do anything.they.want.

Posted:4 months ago

#33

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
20% what? huh? Where did you get %20 from?
Pulled it out of my butt. Could be 10% worse, could be 5%, could be 30 or 40% worse, but the point is, something would have to give.
Listen, the money and resources that Ubisoft have, are staggering. STAGGERING. The have the power to do anything.they.want.
Nobody's questioning whether they could. Of course they could. What's in doubt is whether they should. They aren't operating a charity, they want to make their money back on this project, and then some to cover losses on other projects that don't perform as well. Whatever money they spend on the game, they have to plan to get it back. If they tack on extra budget on top of the existing budget, they can only justify that if they think it would bring in that much extra profit to do so. I don't believe there's wany evidence based case for that here.

The argument so far is "I want that feature! They should just throw money at game until they get it, because REASONS!"

Posted:4 months ago

#34

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

73 33 0.5
This is just a decision from the developers not to include a female character. They're the developer, its their game, their choice.

If you want to make your fans happy, think about including a female character. Take the risk.

Also, there are plenty of other games with female characters, as consumers, we can buy, play and enjoy those games instead.

Posted:4 months ago

#35

Pin Wang CEO & Co-Founder, Substantial Games

4 6 1.5
Has anyone mentioned the fear of not doing it right?

The people making these games are mostly men, and let's face it: men have a hard time understanding women. Making a good game is hard already, and I'm sure a lot of these guys are thinking the challenge of portraying women– whether in a way that is creatively great or even just "correctly"– is significant. My theory is that this is the underlying fear. If so, the creative vision argument above is valid.

Maybe we should take it one step at a time and focus on getting more girls into the industry?

I'd also like to see gi.biz do more coverage on studios solving the problem. That would shine a light on what it actually means to appeal more to women as a studio, and how that fits into the AAA action game context. I'd like to see case studies on both companies capitalizing on this untapped opportunity, and companies stumbling on execution and being punished for it. An article like this that is backed up by some data would be great.

Posted:4 months ago

#36

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
This is just a decision from the developers not to include a female character. They're the developer, its their game, their choice.

If you want to make your fans happy, think about including a female character. Take the risk.

Also, there are plenty of other games with female characters, as consumers, we can buy, play and enjoy those games instead.
None of this is really relevant to the discussion. Yeah, if customers don't want to play the game, they can buy something else. Still, AC1-4 did pretty well, so I imagine ACU will too.

Posted:4 months ago

#37

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

73 33 0.5
Has anyone mentioned the fear of not doing it right?

Good point, Pin. The games industry is still so immature (compared to cinema and literature) that portraying a female character properly might be a challenge for some people. But again, other games can do it, and other companies can do it. It all depends on the expertise and maturity of the person making the game, designing the character, dialogue etc.

Posted:4 months ago

#38

Julian Beck HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
When will the next article launch with the same awesome exciting topic? It's already been more than 24 hours. I'd like to read the same article every 8 hours. I mean the whole thing gets even more exciting with the next 80 comments we get.

Posted:4 months ago

#39

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
@ Bonnie

There is, literally, no point in trying to reason with Tim. Apparently, no matter how many people complain - regardless of gender, or whether the people are complaining for their own benefit, or for others - and no matter how well-phrased an argument, he believes he is right. Why? Because
most of the women gamers (and I am assuming that there are more than just a few dozen of them) are just happily playing the games that are already out and looking forward to the many great games that were announced at E3 but that are getting their coverage quashed by all of this nonsense.
Apparently, there is no issue. Also apparently, it's fine for Tim to speak on behalf of women. Got to admire the hypocrisy.

Knowing full-well that I might be warned by site staff, I'm going to say something:

Tim, you're a troll. Whereas almost every other commenter here is willing to defer to the experiences of other people - especially those who are affected by the issue - you continue to tell people that there is no issue. Not only that, but you have repeatedly said or implied that those people - and those who give the issue publicity - should shut up. As an example:
This is not an issue to complain about in print complaining about existing games
Rather than making a point, it being countered, and then standing your ground, you ignore points, as you attempt to deny there is an issue; deny that this site should talk about this issue; deny others the option of standing up for a different demographic whilst you continue to do just that, regardless of your own privilege.

@ Gi.biz staff

If you feel you need to censure me, go for it. But you do see how toxic Tim's presence is, don't you?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 15th June 2014 8:55am

Posted:4 months ago

#40

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Apparently, there is no issue. Also apparently, it's fine for Tim to speak on behalf of women. Got to admire the hypocrisy.
I'm not speaking out on behalf of anyone, I'm just calling out that you don't have the right to either. If you can provide actual polling data to back up your claims, a scientific poll that shows that the vast majority of female gamers insist on this sort of feature as a major priority, then feel free to make them, but if all your data is "a few dozen random people on the Internet," then you cannot make any claims as to what any body larger than "a few dozen people on the Internet" think about the issue.

Look, I'm willing to make the following assumptions on this issue. Any one of them could be wrong, but until I see evidence indicating as much I don't believe that they would be:

1. The majority of female gamers, if polled, would answer that they would prefer to have female avatars available as an option, all else being equal.

2. The majority of male gamers, if polled, would answer that they would prefer to have female avatars available as an option, all else being equal.

3. Even when offered as an option, some minority of female gamers would still choose a male avatar, just as some minority of male players often choose a female avatar.

4. Since all else is NEVER equal, there would obviously need to be some budgetary tradeoffs to adding female avatars to the game. I believe that the majority of female gamers would not rate female avatars at the top of their personal list of features vital to the game. That is to say that if it came down to cutting features to add female avatars, and it would, I do not believe that the majority of female gamers would prefer the female avatars to the features being cut instead.

Nobody is arguing against adding female avatars, not me, not Ubisoft. That is not a side being taken in this. There are only two sides, those that believe that adding female avatars is a matter of such importance than it should override ANY other decisions they might make about budget and scheduling, verses those that recognize it as only one of many desirable features, to be added only when it does not come at the expense of a more desirable feature. You're free to indicate which side you fall on, and you're free to speak up for anyone you know who has not weighed into this discussion, but you have no more right to speak for the millions of other female gamers out there than I do, which would be "not at all."

Posted:4 months ago

#41

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Popular Comment
@Tim - The reason more women are posting about it to other women than they are in, say, here for example, is that if you post in public, on a popular site, on an issue deemed "feminist", you will rack up some hundred or so unsolicited penis pictures, rape and death threats in a matter of hours, of which roughly 5% police will deem "serious" when you report them.

If you insist on continuing to speak out, within a month, it's about 50/50 you will start receiving photos of your house.

That, and we're all used to nobody listening to us and having to get a man to go post exactly the same thing in order for anything we say to actually get heard.

It's also quite possible for men to be bothered by sexism on their own behalf - for a guy capable of listening and empathy, it's actually pretty insulting, just as many guys with brains in their top head find it insulting when people try to sell them games using a chick in a bikini at shows. "Duh, me man... Me buy thing near boobies."

I know of at least 6,000 women who have written to Ubisoft about this. Tens of thousands spoke up on things like #1reasonwhy. In the last year or so you've had women quitting games companies, women quitting games organizations, women boycotting games, companies quitting game contests, women paying Anita Saarkesian and thousands and thousands of us screaming at the top of our lungs to knock it off, even against the weight of the titanic silencing tactics we face. And we have friends, many of whom have penises, and we welcome them because they listened.

Honestly if I just count my female friends off facebook who are irked at this and flaming furious about the games industry as a whole treating us as second-class citizens (Sorry, not citizens, "sex things", I must get my terminology right), there are none in my "Gamers" folder who aren't, so that's 659 right there for you. And that's just my personal friends and colleagues.

Honestly, it takes real effort to have missed all that. You don't need a special feminist google to see it, you just need to not automatically dismiss it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 15th June 2014 10:47am

Posted:4 months ago

#42

Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship

191 305 1.6
Personally, I like to ignore the baser aspects of the discussion in these threads and pick up on several interesting points that come out over the 100+ comments.

- Firstly, what is the actual proportion of women who play core games? Every link I've seen posted makes no attempt to break down gender numbers by genre or title. You can't really make use of gender figures at the macro level - "X% of players are women". Great, but what are they playing? It's important to establish the market environment as context for this debate; it's far from the only consideration, however.

- Next, is the number and type of recent gaming related scandals indicative of a broader movement of dissatisfaction with the way women are represented in gaming? Is it becoming a 'broader movement' in the sense that it actually is becoming something companies have to respond to on a business planning level? And not simply on an ad-hoc PR level? Is this trend evidence of demographic change of the core audience, or evidence of increased strength of feeling and greater activism among a subset of the existing audience?

- Lastly, what's the best way to address this? Do we change existing games to appeal more broadly? Do we make a broader range of games? Do we do both? Will this have any effect? None of these questions is straightforward, to me, and they're barely mentioned.

I thought Rob's article was good in that it attempted to link a progressive stance to an underlying business case; that's great, but there's a ton of assumptions to be verified or rejected, and a ton of other interesting facets of this to explore. It would be nice to do it without all the pointless invective flying around.

Posted:4 months ago

#43

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
You travel in circles that are active in such topics, the people you surround yourself with discuss such things. If you surround yourself with strong liberals, you believe that most people think climate change is a serious problem, you surround yourself with strong conservatives and you believe that most people think it's some sort of scam. I don't doubt that you hear from many people on this, and six thousand women is certainly a lot, more than a tenth as many people as wanted the White House to deport Justin Bieber, but it's still only 0.05% of the people who bought AC4, most likely hundreds of thousands or more of those being women. I also wonder how many of them actually understood the situation, compared to how many were misguided by new outlets that portrayed this as some sort of deliberate slight against women, rather than as merely being one of many features that couldn't make it into the launch product.

I stand up for women who are the victims of actual sexism, and I too tsk tsk at some of the more exploitative costume designs out there, I certainly wouldn't miss them, but I find it offensive when people take issues that clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with sexism, and wrap themselves in a feminist cloak that automatically lends undeserved credence to their claims and shame on anyone who disagrees, regardless of the merit of their argument.

I do not in any way devalue your right to be upset about this, no matter how misguided I believe you to be here. I do not in any way devalue the rights of your friends and acquaintances to stand up for their position on this, however much I may disagree with it. What I do not grant you, however, is the right to speak for the silent majority, to claim to speak for even a single voice that you have not personally counted. If you want that right, you need at the very least to gain some unbiased polling data on the matter. Ubisoft has their sales figures (and likely some internal polling data), that told them that the availability of female co-op avatars was not worth the cost to other aspects of the game. I tend to put more weight in their findings than in yours, and that has nothing to do with my being a feminist.

Posted:4 months ago

#44

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,587 1,445 0.9
Note #2: I perhaps shouldn't post after watching The Good Wife. It brings the wannabe lawyer out in me. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 15th June 2014 1:02pm

Posted:4 months ago

#45

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
@Tim

Congratulations, not only have you successfully defined "Chauvinism" in these comments, but just done a superlative job of "mansplaining" as well.

You do understand that that 6,000 communicating with each other about 1 decision through 1 medium are not all of the women who are pissed about this, right? It's certainly a lot more than the few dozen you referred to. Based on your comments, during Steubenville, "Most women would probably say when polled that they would prefer not to be gang raped."

I say again, the issue is not that AC4 will not have a playable female avatar. The issue is that games, tv, newspapers, cinema, magazines still insist on using women as tools to engage men and almost never leaves any room for actual women saying actual women things and doing actual women stuff that does not involve getting you off.

That is the problem. That is the source of the objections. That we are either there for you or we don't exist. Diversity should be a baseline cost, as essential as food in your household budget.

The issue is that out of all those media, only games are digging in their heels and saying "Fuck no! We don't have to treat women like people!" The reason there are so many articles? Because the writers are flabbergasted at the way people aren't listening.

Only your view counts. Only your view matters. Even on things you know nothing about. Women have no actual problems in this society, and our constant relegation to "Tits or GTFO" in games is surely not a part of the larger problem that doesn't exist!

Your golden fedora award for your work on "actual sexism" awaits you. I'll tell the folks at Rape Crisis about your tsking, I'm sure they'll be impressed.

I'm sure you're a nice guy. Friendzoning you in 3... 2... 1...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 15th June 2014 5:13pm

Posted:4 months ago

#46

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
@Anthony Gowland - I actually like this website, just wanna back off a bit. The feature focus articles related to jobs and education are really good. And besides like I said... Ive come to appreciate a few people here.

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

Through the course of 6 articles I find that no matter what anybody from any group says, no matter from what perspective... someone is going to have a problem with what the other says. So at the end of the day no matter what you do in a game, someone will have a problem with it... right? That is why I dont blame the people that make the games do whatever they feel like. And the people not making them or that have a problem with the way they are done, should seek to get more actively involved in making them themselves.

Looking foward to more feature focus articles related to Jobs and education.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 16th June 2014 1:21pm

Posted:4 months ago

#47
Bonnie I'm glad you have said that your issue has nothing to do with not having a female in this game. I know there is an overriding goal for you but we aren't commenting on that. I actually think you make some valid points although you do seem to have a very one sides view of society and the role both men and women play in that today but this isn't the place for that. At least not this case.

Elevating everything to sexism misogyny etc just devalues your argument.

And diversity as you mean it shouldn't be a base cost. Women can play as men, men can play as women. Neither excludes anyone. Given the demographics of the audience for AAA games (I would guess at least 80% male) then if anything lead female avatars are over-represented.

Posted:4 months ago

#48

Mikko Heikkilä Game Artist / 3D modeler

12 20 1.7
- Lastly, what's the best way to address this? Do we change existing games to appeal more broadly? Do we make a broader range of games? Do we do both? Will this have any effect? None of these questions is straightforward, to me, and they're barely mentioned.

I thought Rob's article was good in that it attempted to link a progressive stance to an underlying business case; that's great, but there's a ton of assumptions to be verified or rejected, and a ton of other interesting facets of this to explore. It would be nice to do it without all the pointless invective flying around.
Those are interesting questions. I guess people are waiting on how the Tomb Raider sequel does, that should answer many questions. The first installment was already supposed to tick all the boxes: It was written by two women, had a nonsexualized female protagonist, and serious effort was put towards character development. The game had its problems, like excessive killing with no alternatives, so I'm interested in seeing where Crystal Dynamics is going to take the sequel.

But did women buy the game? The game has sold over six million copies to date which makes it a moderate commercial success. Still, it is not a clear signal that including a balanced female protagonist is going to make your game a guaranteed commercial hit.

Posted:4 months ago

#49

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

226 593 2.6
I'm sure you're a nice guy. Friendzoning you in 3... 2... 1...
I literally lol'ed on that one.

Posted:4 months ago

#50

Tim Ogul Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Congratulations, not only have you successfully defined "Chauvinism" in these comments, but just done a superlative job of "mansplaining" as well.
And you've done an excellent job of attempting to negate any rational discussion by dismissing any legitimacy my comments might have from the get-go, by using feminist buzzwords. If you want anyone to take you seriously then be prepared to fight on a level playing field, rather than trying to insult your counterpart into silence.
You do understand that that 6,000 communicating with each other about 1 decision through 1 medium are not all of the women who are pissed about this, right? It's certainly a lot more than the few dozen you referred to.
But you understand that it doesn't necessarily represent more than 600o women either. You can't claim to have more support than you can prove. I don't claim that your 6000 women are offset by hundreds of thousands of women that believe the opposite, I'm just saying, you have no evidence that your numbers are at all reflective of the general opinion of female AC players.
Based on your comments, during Steubenville, "Most women would probably say when polled that they would prefer not to be gang raped."
Yes, bring gang rape into it. That's totally germane to this discussion and not at all inflammatory.
I say again, the issue is not that AC4 will not have a playable female avatar. The issue is that games, tv, newspapers, cinema, magazines still insist on using women as tools to engage men and almost never leaves any room for actual women saying actual women things and doing actual women stuff that does not involve getting you off.
If that's the case then you've brought your arguments to entirely the wrong discussion, because nothing you said in that paragraph has anything to do with the topic at hand. For one thing, Ubisoft and the AC brand has no responsibility whatsoever for what other media does with women. For another, the AC line involves a number of women in it's production, and tells the stories of numerous very strong female characters "doing actual women stuff that does not involve getting your off." The AC series has a ton of strong female characters, including Anne Bonny, Mary Reed, Aveline, Shao Jun, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, Claudia Auditore, Maria Thorpe, Minerva, Juno, and Caterina Svforza.
The issue is that out of all those media, only games are digging in their heels and saying "Fuck no! We don't have to treat women like people!" The reason there are so many articles? Because the writers are flabbergasted at the way people aren't listening.
Where is there any evidence of that in this story. The more that you speak on this issue, the more clear it is that you are just carting in a truckload of baggage and dumping it on the floor, without even paying an ounce of attention to the actual story ay hand.
Only your view counts. Only your view matters. Even on things you know nothing about.
You say this, and yet your own comments display a complete ignorance of Assassin's Creed as a series. Only your view counts. Only your view matters. Even on things you know nothing about. I feel that people have to EARN credibility, they have to do the due diligence of understanding the topic they are discussing, rather than just carting in a pre-packaged "fight in a box" to any theater they engage in.

Posted:4 months ago

#51

Nick Parker Consultant

290 161 0.6
@Nick
There is an excellent company that specialises in gamer demographics in Europe and the USA called GameVision (https://gamevisionresearch.com) and counts the major publishers and hardware manufacturers among its clients. It's latest data published last month shows that in the last year, less than 30% of the combined gamers on Xbox 360 and PS3 in Europe were female.

Posted:4 months ago

#52

Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship

191 305 1.6
Thanks for that, very interesting.

Posted:4 months ago

#53

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Popular Comment
@Tim

Actually that was the point I was making about you, In your previous post you were actually hugely insulting and patronising, so I flipped on the switches for "standard argument with troll #1". I tried facts, you ignored them. If you won't believe in the existence of objectors, then go out, hit the news sites and twitter and start counting each and every one.

My point about Steubenville was germane, in fact. The more you silence and exclude representation of a group, the easier it becomes to commit atrocities against them. That's the outcome of the larger societal problem I am talking about. That's why yes, I take it very seriously.

If you are discussing AC or Far Cry 4 or GTA in isolation, you are missing the whole point. Quite simply, each individually is not news. Each is simply another drop in the bucket. Without that context, there is literally no point to any of this. There's no point discussing Assassin's Creed in isolation because in isolation there isn't a problem.

As to whether or not it's Ubisoft's responsibility to address a larger societal problem, if they don't address it, they become part of it. They do have yet another game in AC4 that doesn't acknowledge the existence of female players.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 16th June 2014 11:38am

Posted:4 months ago

#54

Gary Riccio Socio-Technical R&D

10 9 0.9
@D_IGR Gamer communities and and associated social movements would love to part of the solution by having a vision and mission for games that has appeal across gender, race, ethnicity, religion, location, and socioeconomic privilege. Articles and authors like this will help us get on the right track. Thank you. The number of articles on this issue in the last few days, and the comments on this article clearly indicates that there is a gap in an industry that has much to offer the world.

Posted:4 months ago

#55
@Nick

Do you have any numbers specifically for Assassins Creed?

Or Halo, Call of Duty, GTA etc. if not AC.

Wikipedia was a bit unclear.

It said

"In fact, 38% of Xbox users are female and 51% of them have children. Nintendo claims that 50% of its users are female as of 2013.[40]

Thirty percent of women are playing more violent games. Of this 30%, 20% play Call of Duty and 15% play Grand Theft Auto.[44]"

I can't work out do they mean 20% of the COD audience is female or is it's 20% of 30% which would be 6%. Or 20% of 30% of 38% which would be 2.28%.

It would also be really cool if we knew what percentage from a random sample of both men and women actually cared about this issue too.

I did get this from the BBC

It is those games - FPSs, in industry speak - that many observers see the industry regressing, not progressing.

"I think we're starting to see in some cases at least in some genres an even larger gap in the types of players," says Prof Downs.

This brings the industry to a bit of a chicken or egg problem, at least when it comes to the hardcore games on consoles.

Are women not playing hardcore games because they don't like them? Or because they feel alienated?" summarises Prof Williams.

I know there's a separate moral argument but given the amount of press this issue has received you would think someone might want to publish that data.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 16th June 2014 1:51pm

Posted:4 months ago

#56

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Just wanna say that Assasins Creed unity has not come out, so nobody has any numbers for anything. Nobody knows the nature of the multiplayer aspect either. And if its anything like in watchdogs, where your playing in the single player campaign and your character appears in your friends game as a randomly generated character... It make all this pointless.

Assasins creed has always been attached to a heavy narrative focus, I truly doubt customizable characters was in UbiSofts priority list. If Anything the multiplayer can be just color swapped versions of the main character. Everybody is playing in the single player campagn with their Arno, but in Co-op.

And like Tim Ogul mentions above:
The AC series has a ton of strong female characters, including Anne Bonny, Mary Reed, Aveline, Shao Jun, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, Claudia Auditore, Maria Thorpe, Minerva, Juno, and Caterina Svforza.
The series features countless females doing stuff that does not involve getting guys off or showing their sexy parts. The best thing would be to wait till the game comes out to see what its all about. i have no doubt it will be great, like the next tomb raider and the next mirrors edge, and hopefully... a new Beyond Good and Evil....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 16th June 2014 4:20pm

Posted:4 months ago

#57

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 732 1.6
... Maybe things like are controversial because issues like this - and in context, the issue of female models in an Assassin's Creed game is a very minor one - are just the last straw for a group of gamers that have felt marginalized and outright disdained for decades? Yes, the issue of female models in one game is ultimately minor. Who gives a shit. But when a group of gamers is consistently pounded, and pounded, and pounded with the hammer of consistent indignity, be it at the low level of the idiot on XBox Live or the high-end decision making of marketing and executive types catering to the illustrious 18-25 year old male demographic and - until recently - relegating women's gaming to Cooking Mama and the like.

It's getting better. But the wounds are still not fully healed, and have left scars. I hate associating myself with the Check Your Privilege™ crowd, but a bunch of largely white men don't really have a right to talk with raised noses about fake controversies.

Posted:4 months ago

#58

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada

174 220 1.3
People seriously complain that there are too many articles talking about something they're not interested in? Here's a crazy idea - don't read them. I promise that the rest of us will somehow survive without hearing your take on things.

Half the population is women - if we want more gamers, attracting that section is a great way to advance our industry, and get more interesting and varied games made for all of us to play.

Posted:4 months ago

#59

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

249 408 1.6
Thank you, James Berg.

Posted:4 months ago

#60

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance

213 529 2.5
How this article is about Ubisoft, and not, say, NetherRealms, is beyond me.

We could have picked much worse offenders for this kind of article. But I get it, Ubisoft is the big fish.

Posted:4 months ago

#61
@Rick Lopez - I know it hasn't come out Rick but I was just curious about previous versions of Assassins Creed as well as Halo and GTA.

@James Berg - I'm glad you think labelling your fellow colleagues and friends as sexists and misogynists is good for the industry.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 16th June 2014 6:56pm

Posted:4 months ago

#62

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
Here's a crazy idea - don't read them
Engagement with this topic is practically mandatory.

If you aren't reading these articles and intently interested in this issue you get slammed for being all manner of things. Avoiding it simply isn't possible as sooner or later you'll get cornered by this issue (even if it comes up indirectly).

Now if that judgment wasn't there, people would feel happy to let the people who wanted to talk about it talk about it between themselves.

Some people find this kind of thing endlessly fascinating. Others find it boring as mud. But both don't control how interesting they find it. It's a bit unfair to penalise those who naturally find it boring... yet it's something we see all the time because of how politicised the issue.

So here's a completely sane idea for you: People don't share your intense intellectual interest in this issue? Don't judge them. Don't slam labels on them that damage their professional opportunities just because you happen to find it intellectually and actively stimulating.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 16th June 2014 7:17pm

Posted:4 months ago

#63

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

336 1,417 4.2
How are you being forced to care about it, Shehzaan? As it's been said several times by now, if this kind of thing really bothers you, you can always ignore it - after all, it's not your right to be represented that's being endlessly chewed over and examined here. 'Intellectually stimulating'? I'd call it personal, actually.

There's nothing stopping you ignoring these articles, there's nobody standing over you with a whip in case you don't come in and post yet another inane 'Well I don't see why I should care about this' comment. You don't care? Okay. We don't mind. Don't need to keep reminding us, you are free to go and comment on things you do care about.

Continuing to moan about the very existence of debate and reporting on this issue is just a passive-aggressive way to try and downplay and question the very real feelings of the people who do care about this subject, a kind of debate-hall gaslighting. It's transparent, it's pathetic, and it is exactly the reason why people will judge you negatively.

If you're so concerned about 'professional opportunities' when you come and post shitty opinions on this website(and you should be, as I know I'm not the only one who has blacklisted people and companies based on the things employees and CEOs post here), then maybe you should improve your opinions or keep quiet about them. Consider yourself fuckin' judged.

Posted:4 months ago

#64
Realistically I think everyone who comments on these issues on both sides will probably have to pay a professional cost for doing so. However unfortunate that may be anyone who doesn't think that is naïve.

But I don't think that's something anyone should want for anyone else and people should be careful what they wish for.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 16th June 2014 8:53pm

Posted:4 months ago

#65

Rachel Weber Staff Writer, GamesIndustry.biz

34 96 2.8
Hi Steve,

It's more a case of two separate Ubisoft representatives decided E3 was the time to say they had considered playable female avatars for co-op, and then tried to justify leaving them out as a resources issue.

I agree that there are plenty of companies in the industry that could work on their diversity, it's just that in this case Ubisoft gave us the opportunity to discuss it in a topical way by offering up its perspective.

Posted:4 months ago

#66

Mikko Heikkilä Game Artist / 3D modeler

12 20 1.7
Realistically I think everyone who comments on these issues on both sides will probably have to pay a professional cost for doing so. However unfortunate that may be anyone who doesn't think that is naïve.
I think it is very unfortunate that one cannot express an unpopular opinion, no matter how well argumented, without becoming a victim of personal attacks and having to fear for his/her current and future employment. What good does diversity in games accomplish if we have no diversity in the gaming community.

Posted:4 months ago

#67

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 732 1.6
I don't think this is "screw you, Ubisoft!", and the people who do think that should probably also consider that this is a company that just put out Transistor (female protagonist).

Issues like female inclusion - which Rob Fahey noted very well still exist - make people very reflexive. It's a controversy because it's far from a settled discussion. Ubisoft just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, they're really, really big; I'm sure the decisions made at one end of the company weren't made at the others. I haven't been out "in the field" in a while, but my impression is that Ubisoft gives their teams a lot of autonomy, particularly Montreal.

Posted:4 months ago

#68

Robert McLachlan Lead Level Designer, Climax

10 16 1.6
Companies passing over controversial candidates for fear of inviting discord and adverse publicity into the workplace... Surely that is a commercial decision? Let me explain!

Having a controversial employee might add 20% to your HR budget! I have no real research or HR experience to back up this number I plucked out of thin air, but in this I am merely following in the noble footsteps of previous commenters, most of whom have virtually zero experience of the actual games industry.

I for one am complacent about this sad side effect of the status quo - I am sorry for the excluded minority here but there's no point trying to change things - it's just the way the world is, boys!

Posted:4 months ago

#69

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