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It Just Never Ends: An Ubisoft Tale

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.

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randomass1711412d ago

Good blog. You might as well say that every Hollywood movie requires an alternate version where the main character is played by a member of the opposite sex. Complaints like these really do baffle me. Why throw negativity toward the games that don't cater to you when you can speak positively about the games that do?

DragonKnight1412d ago (Edited 1412d ago )

There are two main problems with the attitude I'm talking about.

The first is that it's disingenuous. I would say with about 80% certainty that the people who start all of this hyperbolic, hate filled, propagandist shite go home not believing a word of it and even buying the games anyway. It's all about money and/or exposure for them. If they can get their name behind a heated topic, it's a win for them and whoever pays them.

The second is that no one, absolutely no one, provides any legitimate reason for the necessity of it. Why is it necessary for there to be a female protagonist in Assassin's Creed Unity?

If you say "it's not about it being necessary, it's about representation" then you're just wrong and already defeated. Something should only be added, or removed, from a game if it is necessary to make a good game. I defy anyone to provide me with proof that a character's gender will determine if a game is a good game or not.

The whole foundation of these arguments is purely emotionally based, and there are plenty of women who aren't even bothered by this at all. Hell, I saw some well known female gamers/cosplayers with their own Twitch channels absolutely giddy over AC Unity and even gender bending Arno for cosplay. They never once mentioned anything about feeling upset that Arno wasn't Arnette or how women are under represented or anything like that nonsense.

In point of fact, on Twitter since this began, I've seen mostly neckbeard type guys who consider themselves "writers" being the most vocal about this. The only thing they're missing is a fedora to complete the stereotype.

One of them even blocked me because he couldn't refute my argument that Ubisoft gave a legitimate reason and that animating/designing female characters was in fact more work than doing the same for male characters.

And you just know that if SJWs found out that FemShep from Mass Effect was just ManShep reskinned to look like a woman and using androgynous movements they'd lose their minds and turn on the rabies foam in their mouths as they attack Bioware.

Half of them suggest moves like that, and the other half want a properly designed female character but ignore the logistics of it and seem to think that large companies would willingly place themselves, and their shareholders, in disastrous PR situations by making the statement that they don't like women and will never have a female lead in their games.

It's absurd.

Darkstares1412d ago

"Art is the expression of the artist, not the audience."

But how true is that statement for a franchise as big as this? At the end of the day it's about money. Did Electronic Arts cave in to the ending of Mass Effect 3 because of the wishes of the artists? No, they felt pressure from the forums and felt they needed to do something because they didn't want a bad stain on the franchise because it too has become a very valuable IP for them. You bet Ubisoft is now thinking in the future because of this attention. I wouldn't be surprised if they too caved in.

This is a multi-billion dollar industry. It's a business first and foremost. People have issues with this because of the responses they gave. The fact is I don't think they need to answer because I agree with you, it's their game. But again it's about public perception and when games become this mainstream they don't want any wrinkles to hurt the value of the franchise.

Concertoine1412d ago (Edited 1412d ago )


He's saying he doesn't care either way whether it has an optional female protagonist, but the fact that it lacks one doesn't mean that Ubisoft is "sexist" by any means.

Words like sexism and misogyny are tossed around like nothing when they literally mean HATRED of women and desire to repress them, and their exclusion isn't inherentally such like some sites try to make it out to be.

DragonKnight1412d ago

@Darkstares: Well then we can't classify games as art then. Games have to be classified as a product first and foremost if pressure from the rabid internet causes them to change their vision. But the truth is, all this whining wouldn't have made a dent in AC Unity's sales at all. Ubisoft could ignore this completely and AC will still sell well so long as the games are good. This means that the opinions of the rabid are drowned out by those who don't care, or the rabid themselves are disingenuous and hypocritical and they still buy the games despite whining about them.

If we want games to be classified as art, then we have to accept what the artists want the game to be. If we want to complain about the games and have these companies cater to us, then we lose the right to have the games classified as art and then we open up games to all of the problems associated with having to be a politically correct consumer product.

These people are trying to have their cake and eat it too, but it will never work that way.

HonestDragon1412d ago (Edited 1412d ago )

Great blog and well said indeed. I especially liked the concluding paragraph, too.

"If you say "it's not about it being necessary, it's about representation" then you're just wrong and already defeated."

Just like with Tomodachi Life and homosexuals wanting same sex relationships in the game, it's the same here. Again, while it IS possible to add programs and content post-release, it is up to the company of whether or not to do so. As it is, the games are either completed already or still in development. Which equates to money that does not have to be spent whatsoever.

Then it's the common notion of understanding that a developer has a certain vision for the game. This is the artists' perspective in this case. You mentioned this, too.

"Art is the expression of the artist, not the audience."

A final product be it a soundtrack, movie, painting, or video game is what the person(s) behind the product did to create something from their own creative vision that can be marketable to the public. It is up to future audiences to determine if the product has any value for them. I always say that there's an audience for everything...unfortunately. In this case if Tomodachi Life or Assassin's Creed Unity don't appeal to someone then they don't have to play it. However, if they bring in their social agendas to try to stir up some problem that was nonexistent in the first place, then they only make themselves look like self-centered, entitled brats.

NewMonday1411d ago (Edited 1411d ago )

"the people who start all of this hyperbolic, hate filled, propagandist shite go home not believing a word of it and even buying the games anyway. It's all about money and/or exposure for them. If they can get their name behind a heated topic, it's a win for them and whoever pays them"


Ubisoft made an AC with female lead and also Child of Light

christian hour1408d ago


personally I think what EA did with the mass effect 3 ending was extremely detrimental to the industrys image and what gaming is trying to become. I'd hate for their example to become common place, and since it happened I've noticed it's given a lot of gamers an extremely entitled view when it comes to the games they play.

EA's behaviour in the past should not excuse future behaviour like that, if anything we should point at what EA did with retconning mass effects ending as something we never want to see repeated.

For the sake of the passionate artists behind these games, fighting for their vision and trying to tell us a story, we can't allow the vocal butt hurt residents of the internet and the uptight politcally correct gone made gamers to bully for change.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1408d ago
starchild1410d ago

Good blog, indeed. I agree with you on this one, DragonKnight.

Concertoine1412d ago (Edited 1412d ago )

Nice blog. I have to say Ubisoft is only inching closer to the likes of EA and Capcom in the ranks of consumer distrust and unfavorability... to be swayed by the western psuedo-politics of gaming is only a sign of increasing weakness :l

Side note: wouldn't the gramatically correct title be "A Ubisoft Tale" since Ubisoft has a consonant sound? Like "a unilateral decision" or "a university" as opposed to "an uptown area" or "an unofficial person"?

I could be wrong, and I'd be interested to see the reason I am :)

Concertoine1412d ago (Edited 1412d ago )


...Oh wow, im embarassed xD.

Lol i thought about what i said and felt confused and re-read... Wow my first paragraph is mistyped... My apologies haha. Havent been sleeping much and my mind wandered and my fingers were but vessels to spew insomniac flubs!

What i meant to say is while Ubisoft is inching further in that direction, i cant help but feel the idiocy of psuedo western politics affects a lot of these companies negatively.

They just released Child of Light, a game revolving around a female protagonist, too. There's no bias even under a journalist's misogynistic/homophobic/racist /sensationalist microscope.

Edit: Hell even that AC on vita had a female protagonist.

DragonKnight1412d ago

I always write "an" for any word beginning with a vowel with few exceptions because it sounds better to me than "a."

A Ubisoft Tale sounds very wrong to me.

JD_Shadow1411d ago

I wouldn't say Ubisoft has been completely bad. They were one of the firsts to come out and publicly condemn the new YouTube rules on MCNs and monetizing game play videos. And I'm having a good time with Watch Dogs despite some of its flaws, so it's not all bad. Just need to have them stop thinking that their DRM is the shiznits and that anyone who complains about it is automatically a pirate, and they might be golden.

PhantomTommy1412d ago

I don't believe that the lack of a female protagonist in Unity is a major problem, but I do think it's pretty idiotic.

We're talking about a game that was built around getting your pals together for some four player co-op, and yet it never occurred to Ubisoft that maybe not everyone wants to play as a six foot, muscular assassin man who's only distinguishable feature is the colored icon hovering over his head. It's just bad design, and really, Ubisoft should have seen this coming from the start.

DragonKnight1412d ago

That's where the Watch Dogs mechanic comes in. In Watch Dogs, and now in Unity, when you are playing multiplayer you only see yourself as the main protagonist. In Watch Dogs' case you always see yourself as Aiden, while your opponent (who also sees only themselves as Aiden) sees some randomly generated character.

In AC Unity, you'll only see yourself as Arno as will anyone else playing in their own game because that's how the co-op is framed. The drop in, drop out style of it necessitates that kind of system.

How logical would it be that you're playing your game and want to co-op, then suddenly you go from being Arno to a woman or vice versa? It doesn't make sense unless you completely change the protagonist (thereby changing the game entirely) or create a separate co-op mode that ISN'T drop in/out.

TekoIie1411d ago (Edited 1411d ago )

You can only play as Arno? Thats sucks a bit. I wanted to play as the guy with the green robes... Because they're green. As you can see I thought that decision through extensively ;)

Good blog. I am probably more sympathetic than most towards having more female protagonists however the idea of just making a characters sex/gender interchangeable is kind of boring to me.

I get as bored as everyone else with the generic love interests but there are some games where I feel the sex of a character had a small but significant role. If Lara Croft had been male in the new Tomb Raider the scene with Alex on the ship would not nearly have been as good as it was.

Same for if they had changed Master Chief to female, the ending to Halo 4 would've been far less powerful.

I know Im giving examples where the sex of the character has a role but I gave examples where there were small details that made it relevant.

Even then I dont understand how with all the attention this subject gets that (if we were to believe most articles) we're apparantly not making any progress.

I mean surely one of the poeple complaining is a game developer right? And has the power to implement some of their ideas?

Classic saying with too much truth: If you want something done right do it yourself.

Blacklash931412d ago

It's totally fine for people to be disappointed that there isn't a playable female character, but Ubisoft doesn't even remotely deserve to be accused of anything like sexism.

Honestly, I don't see why this should bother anyone. There are many all-female or female-centered games out there: Skullgirls, Bayonetta, Tomb Raider, Metroid, etc. They're good games, too. Different titles can do different things and we should all be happy in that big picture.

kingdip901409d ago

I agree it is fine to be disappointed in something like this.

To call it sexism is something else entirely and that's the point I think.

Conzul1412d ago

Great blog post; totally baffled at the disagrees on your replies beneath :/ which themselves are as good as the blog material.

memots1410d ago

he is the disagree guy,

Just look at any of his comments. he gets hit with disagree all the time lol

when he writes a blog they all come out from under their bridge to hit disagree on whatever he says. I have noticed this a while back and its not changing,

Makes me laugh really.

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