Having to redo all that animation

Why aren’t there any female characters in this new video game? Well because it would be too much trouble, that’s why. It would take too long. It would be too difficult.

So says Ubisoft about the new Assassin’s Creed.

The next game in the Assassin’s Creed series will not allow you to play as a female character because it would have “doubled the work” for the game’s developer Ubisoft. Speaking to VideoGamer, Ubisoft technical director James Therien said female assassins were on the company’s feature list until “not too long ago,” but were cut as a matter of “focus and production.”

“A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation,” Therien said, defending the exclusion by saying it was “not a question of philosophy or choice.” Ubisoft’s Bruno St. Andre estimated that a female assassin would’ve necessitated more than 8,000 new animations recreated on a new skeletal structure, but said that playable female characters were “dear to the production team.”

No that’s a good point. It’s the same with work places – you have to add all these new toilets, so it’s much better just to not hire women at all. Simpler. Easier. Cheaper. Just better in every way.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is set during the French Revolution, and allows players to take part in four-player co-operative missions in which they always see themselves as the game’s star, Arno Dorian, and their companions as alternate male assassins. Speaking toPolygon, creative director Alex Amancio, said this was the reason Ubisoft decided not include women as playable characters. “The common denominator was Arno,” Amancio said. “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.”

Absolutely. It’s not like you can ever cut a male character, and it’s not like you can ever have a female main character – so you see how it is. There’s just no room left for a female character, much as everyone would love to have one.

Some of the world’s most successful studios have come under fire in recent years for their gender representations. Rockstar Games’ Dan Houser justified the fact that none of Grand Theft Auto V‘s three protagonists were women last year by saying “the concept of being masculine was so key to this story,” while Chris Perna, art director for Gears of War developer Epic Games, suggested at a similar time that games with female lead characters would be “tough to justify” on the basis of sales figures.

Well exactly. This is what I’m saying. Male is normal, female is weird. Which are you gonna go with? Well all right then.

The concept of being masculine is so key to every story, and the concept of not being feminine is obviously so equally key to every story, that there’s no way to justify having female characters because let’s face it, everybody hates women.

Many have queried how the vast production, with hundreds of workers split between nine studios across the world, can’t spare the resources to make female characters.

Because that would take time away from making male characters, and nobody wants female characters anyway. Get real!



  1. John Morales says

    [sardonic semantic shift]

    […] but said that playable female characters were “dear to the production team.”

    Too dear, apparently.

  2. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    playable female characters were “dear to the production team.”

    I would love it if these companies would, at the very least, abandon the pretense that they give a shit about appealing to women.

  3. John Morales says

    […] can’t spare the resources to make female characters.

    ‘Jiggle physics’ is computationally expensive.

  4. Seth says

    This is one of the reasons I support Bioware, as troublesome and slow and problematic as their progress has been. They’ve got a lot of work to do, but they’re leagues ahead of a studio like Ubisoft, who evidently don’t even think women have computers, much less buy video games.

  5. maudell says

    The last Assassin’s Creed had a female main character (I believe it was the sixth of the series). It also had the lowest production value of the series (it was made for tablets/phones at first). They even had a special feature: because you had ladyparts, your assassin could wear a dress to charm all the menz (that was really fucking dumb)!

    That seems to be the pattern: triple a games who deign to have a female character put very little resources towards the game, put out a shitty game full of stereotypes. Then, since they don’t make enough profit, they have a ‘good’ reason to stick to male characters.

  6. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says


    games with female lead characters would be “tough to justify” on the basis of sales figures.

    Lara Croft would beg to differ.

  7. A. Noyd says

    Anita Sarkeesian is all over this, of course. See here and here.

    There are multiple ways they could have made a playable female assassin a reality. In addition to having a woman as the only protagonist, there was also the option to reprioritize funding from some other department. Like, they could have paid toddlers in raisins and apple juice to design the combat system. It’s not like toddlers could do worse than the one in Assassin’s Creed 4.

    At least I don’t have to feel bad about not getting Assassin’s Creed: Sausage Fest (Again). The majority of AC4 sucked so bad I gave up on it.


    maudell (#7)

    The last Assassin’s Creed had a female main character (I believe it was the sixth of the series).

    Liberation was a spinoff of 3, not part of the main series. AC4 was Black Flag. The one they cut women from will be AC5.

  8. carlie says

    games with female lead characters would be “tough to justify” on the basis of sales figures.

    Yeah. That Portal thing didn’t go anywhere.

  9. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Mass Effect was also a complete flop which totally didn’t spawn a series of novels, comics, multiple spin-offs, movies, action figures and a board game.

  10. throwaway says

    I wish we could stop pointing to Samus. She wasn’t intended as anything more than titillation and a cheap twist on expectations of the person in the suit being male. I suppose the latter is the only redeeming aspect of her as a character. But still, just look at the Zero Suit she’s depicted as wearing: it’s full-body spandex with no underwear. Why hello there male gaze! What a surprise seeing you there….

  11. maudell says

    A.Noyd –
    I was just counting the games, not the numbers (with Brotherhood and Revelation). But you are right, it was a spinoff.

  12. says

    I can see legit reasons for the design of the Zero Suit, (mobility, fits comfortably inside power armor, interfaces with power armor, temperature/environmental regulation, monitoring vital signs) but it is way fan-service-y. Still, she was among the first.

  13. adaml223 says

    This argument from Ubisoft is totally ridiculous and has been demolished by way more credible people than I. With today’s processing power, do they really expect anyone to believe this? Someone couldn’t say, “Hmm, maybe we could reduce the background crowd of hundreds by a few dozen and add the female assassin back in.” A female assassin could wear the same outfit as the male, *gasp*. There could even be an excellent opportunity to have the present-day character be a man reliving the past exploits of an ancestral female assassin, and experiencing all kinds of cool teachable moments, then single-handedly destroying Abstergo and sexism in one fell swoop with neck-stabbing.

  14. Claire Ramsey says

    What an infuriatingly lame set of excuses. Big lazy babies. Also big doody-heads. How stupid do they think we are?

  15. Ysidro says

    In another Ubisoft game, Watch_Dogs, you always see yourself as the same male character. But in multiplayer, other players see you as a random NPC. Male or female.

    So they could do it for one game but not the other? Is there something just too…too… too masculine about Assassin’s Creed!?!?

  16. AsqJames says

    “not a question of philosophy or choice.”

    Yep, not a question of choice at all. Nobody ever consciously decided to drop the female characters, it just kind of happened…all by itself. And all the subsequent justifications for why they couldn’t possibly have included any female characters do not in any way imply otherwise.

  17. hm says

    Part and parcel of their development process. I’ve talked to friends at Electronic Arts – the makers of many sports franchises. And they say for every game they put out, the start from scratch. Through out the previous code base, graphics, physics engine etc..

    Another point, if you have to do 8000 more renderings big effing deal. Its not all done by hand. There’s a reason why its called graphic art. Use the tools to make your job easier and if you’re good or have coworkers that are, automate parts of the process.

    This is speaking as a developer with no experience and little interest in game development.

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