I didn't want to do a blog on this. I was sitting in front of my laptop when this B.S. first came out saying to myself "this is just something that will never end, don't do a blog on it, don't, just don't. There's only been about 20 different sites talking about it and getting so much wrong, don't bother." Then after 2 days of not really hearing much, Eurogamer comes out with its contribution to "Ubisoft is sexist and is harming women" piece and I just had to say something.
I'm not gonna bother linking articles about this topic because I don't want to destroy the brain cells of the rare few who still have common sense in the world. Instead I'll just give you the gist.
Assassin's Creed Unity doesn't have a female main protagonist, and that's apparently a problem. Never mind the fact that only one AC game had a female protagonist and it sold terrible, indicating that few people deemed it a good enough game to buy. Never mind the fact that AC games try to be as reasonably close to the historical time period as possible which means that women, traditionally, wouldn't be Assassins. Never mind the fact that there have actually been female Assassins in games, and side stories like Embers.
No, the only way for this to NOT be an issue is if there is a main female protagonist in a main Assassin's Creed game. Then, and only then, will Ubisoft START being a "progressive" developer, despite having an immensely diverse staff which includes Jade Raymond who was probably the most influential person in getting Assassin's Creed, as a series, noticed in the first place.
So Ubisoft is sexist and patriarchal and misogynistic because Arno isn't Arnette and you can't make him so.
Ubisoft actually gave a really legitimate reason for this. Resources. See, people don't seem to understand that AC Unity didn't JUST start development. It's been in development for years. It's releasing in the fall so about 2/3 of the development has likely been finished already. Why would any developer scrap years of work?
Now, there were people out there that didn't buy Ubisoft's reason. A lot in fact. This prompted a FORMER animator on AC 3 to come out and say "Ubisoft could do this in 2 or 3 days" and caused an uproar. There is a huge problem with that though. What people are ignoring is that he said the only way to do it in that short a time is to just reskin the male model to look female and use androgynous movements.
Did you read that? Make a female protagonist by reskinning the male protagonist and using gender neutral movements.
Does anyone think that that would fly? OF COURSE NOT! Social Justice Warriors would pitch a fit. Remember when Anita Sarkeesian made a video about this very thing? About how it's a negative and common trope to make a woman as much like a man as possible? Welcome to that solution.
Look, this isn't an issue. I don't understand how anyone who thinks rationally can see a problem here. These are games. They aren't real life. Ubisoft have several legitimate reasons for doing this, but they only need one. They could have easily just come out and said "because we don't want a female main protagonist."
But that's B.S. I can't believe there are grown adults out there that actually think there is a concerted effort, by large development studios filled with women, to purposely not have a female protagonist in a game. As if Yves (Ubisoft's CEO) gathers everyone together and says "Don't even THINK about having a female lead in ANY of our games. As long as I live, that will NEVER happen!"
It wouldn't have mattered what reason Ubisoft gave. The fact is that someone, with a full attitude of entitlement, just had to approach Ubisoft and ask why the main protagonist wasn't female, or why you couldn't customize your character to be female. The best answer, besides the resources one, would have been to explain how mechanics from Watch Dogs were implemented into the multiplayer and that's a BIG reason why they couldn't do that, but even that wouldn't have mattered. People wanted to crucify yet another developer for something so inconsequential that it's laughable.
There are people with degrees, honest to goodness post-secondary education degrees, foaming at the mouth acting like rabid dogs attacking Ubisoft for this. It's sad, it's pathetic, and there are toddlers with more maturity than this.
A character's gender, race, orientation, hair style, favourite book, DO NOT MATTER UNLESS THE GAME WAS DESIGNED AROUND THOSE ELEMENTS! You will not have a better or worse experience with a black lesbian woman than you would with a straight white man. A good game is a good game is a good game regardless of that, and the same goes for a bad game.
If you want to criticize Ubisoft, then criticize them for trying to create a franchise style rather than their choice of gender for their characters. They are definitely marred in their own conventions, but gender is the most inconsequential of their offences in this regard. Just read this hilarious review of Ubisoft Game to see what I mean.
At the end of the day, if you're unwilling to actually contribute to making changes in the industry that you want, then you have no right to complain that people who actually spend the money, and the time away from their families, to make these games make them in ways that don't cater to you. The responsibility of Ubisoft is to make a game you'll buy, and I still see women buying games with white male protagonists in them so Ubisoft must be doing something right.
Art is the expression of the artist, not the audience. Games are entertainment, not life. If you're for the freedom to express yourself the way you want to (including your incessant whining about inconsequential minutia like what's in between a fictional person's legs), then you have to be for the freedom of others (even companies) to do the same. If you just want these companies to cater to your whims, then you're actually for privilege and entitlement and YOU'RE what's wrong with gaming.