I hope you guys are ready to lose a little faith in the human race today, because there’s a video game company out there that just scrapped plans for a female avatar because it would be too hard to design. AWESOME.
The company is Ubisoft, and the game is Assassin’s Creed Unity, a four-player co-op that had planned to feature female assassins, but now won’t because the game’s animators couldn’t possibly figure out how to put breasts on a basic male prototype before the game launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC on October 28th. Life is really hard, y’know?
Obviously I’m simplifying somewhat because I’m not an expert in either video games or anatomy, but it feels like a serious cop out for Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio to use ‘the reality of production’ as an excuse for bailing on including female assassins in the game, as he did during a recent interview with Polygon:
“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets. Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.”
Yeah, it would’ve been really nice to be gender-inclusive without any extra work on your end, Alex Amancio…but that’s not really how real life works, y’know what I mean? If you guys had included assassins of both genders at the game’s inception, you wouldn’t be facing such an overwhelming amount of work at this late stage.
As part of the game’s co-op mode, players can customize their own gear, but always view themselves as Arno, the main character in Unity, while anyone who’s playing with you would be displayed with the faces of other assassins. (All of them male, obvi.)
“Because of that, the common denominator was Arno. It’s not like we could cut our main character, so the only logical option, the only option we had, was to cut the female avatar.”
Yeah, see that’s what worries me — that that felt like the only logical option to you. In reality there were plenty of options, all of which entail you shutting up and doing what you said you were gonna do. And probably garnering the appreciation of your fans (and a few new ones!) in the process. Instead, you’ve informed a portion of your own fan base that giving them the opportunity to play with avatars that reflect their own gender…isn’t worth the effort.
In a different interview with the same website, Polygon, level designer Bruno St. Andre estimated that creating a new avatar would require more than 8,000 animations to be recreated on an entirely different skeleton:
“We started, but we had to drop it. I cannot speak for the future of the brand, but it was dear to the production team, so you can expect that it will happen eventually in the brand.”
Yeah yeah, totally. Just as soon as there’s absolutely no work involved, they’ll get right on it. In the meantime, please work on getting excited to purchase a game that thinks representing female gamers is like, way too much work. As if that demographic isn’t shit on enough as it is.