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Assassin's Creed Odyssey has two leads because Ubisoft execs believed women don't sell

Both Syndicate and Origins also originally featured women leads more prominently

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey reportedly would have originally featured only one protagonist -- Kassandra -- were it not for a belief among Ubisoft executives that women leads wouldn't sell.

This is according to a Bloomberg report that further affirms a surge of abuse allegations against senior members of the company that have been widely reported over the last month.

According to the report, Assassin's Creed Odyssey was originally proposed with just Kassandra as its protagonist, before the team was told that was not an option and added a male option, Alexios, as a playable lead.

This was also supposedly the case with both Assassin's Creed Syndicate, in which protagonist Evie was meant to have equal time with her brother Jacob but instead received significantly less.

And an early outline of Assassin's Creed Origins saw the protagonist Bayek injured or dead early on and his wife, Aya, playable for the remainder of the story.

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, these changes were all made because Ubisoft's marketing department and its chief creative officer Serge Hascoët stepped in, saying that female protagonists wouldn't sell games.

Though the report does not mention the next upcoming Assassin's Creed title, it's worth noting that Assassin's Creed: Valhalla also features a choice between a man or woman protagonist, and that the female version of Eivor was not part of any of the initial reveal trailers for the game -- she was instead initially revealed via a statue that comes bundled with the game's Collector's Edition, and eventually got screentime during the recent Ubisoft Forward event.

Hascoët is one of a number of Ubisoft leads who has been accused of toxic behavior toward women and abuse, and earlier this month departed the company alongside managing director Yannis Mallat, while global head of HR Cécile Cornet stepped down from her role amid reports that the company's toxic culture was connected to dysfunctions in HR.

VP of editorial Maxime Béland also left the company this month after both he and fellow member of the editorial team Tommy François were placed on administrative leave following accusations against both.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar

Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.