Assassin’s Creed Creator Says More Work Shouldn’t Stop Ubisoft From Adding Female Characters

Patrice Désilets thinks women assassins would have been “awesome.”

The creative director for the original Assassin’s Creed Patrice Désilets has said that while it would have required more work, Ubisoft still should have put the effort into creating playable female character for the newest game in the series, Assassin’s Creed Unity.

"It's true. If you do a big giant character and a small character, or a woman and a guy, it's different," Désilets told Polygon in an interview. "But that shouldn't stop you. With all the time, money and people on that project, you [Ubisoft] could've done it."

During E3 2014, Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed Unity’s cooperative mode, showing four assassins working together to eliminate their targets. When asked if players will be able to choose a female assassin, Ubisoft said they wouldn’t because creating female characters would require too much additional work.

Désilets also said that it would have been “awesome” if Ubisoft showed four women assassins instead. “It would have been really a strong message of what Assassin's Creed Unity is about."

Last year, Désilets claimed that Ubisoft fired him without cause, leading him to pursue legal action against the publisher. Désilets was working on a game titled 1666 when he was fired, which Ubisoft still holds the rights to.

You can read our impressions of what we've seen of Assassin’s Creed Unity at E3 here. It's scheduled for release on October 28 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

303 comments
UberMan5000
UberMan5000

Earth-shattering news: Ubisoft are a bunch of shitheads.

SHERNEE
SHERNEE

That's the most BS excuse I've ever heard. It's still a human character not like they're adding in orcs or something. If they just didn't want to put in any females they could have at least come up with a better excuse than that.

nephanor
nephanor

Interesting that people are taking this "opinion" from this person at face value, without actually knowing the person behind them.  Let's look into their history with Ubi a little bit:


He left Ubi in 2010.  Then when THQ was bought by Ubi, he rejoined them in 2013.  He was then fired 5 months later.  Not just normal firing.  This is what he said about it:


"Contrary to any statements made earlier today, this morning I was terminated by Ubisoft. I was notified of this termination in person, handed a termination notice and was unceremoniously escorted out of the building by two guards without being able to say goodbye to my team or collect my personal belongings. This was not my decision. Ubisoft’s actions are baseless and without merit. I intend to fight Ubisoft vigorously for my rights, for my team and for my game."


Since 2009, his track record on games has been pretty much crap.  And if that wasn't enough, the reason he was fired from Ubi the second time around?  Because he was expected to produce a prototype for the game by a certain date and he failed to do so.  So now we know.  This person has no respect or considerations for deadlines and budgets.  Try using someone a little more credible, someone who actually can make it working in a field where you are expected to do things on time and in budget.  This guy certainly can't.  Not only that, he already holds a grudge, so of course he would throw Ubi under the bus given the chance.


And to those demanding that it be done, here's a challenge for you.  If you can raise the budget that Ubi needs through a kickstarter, to hire the extra staff (animators and artists), to pay for the extra voice work, and still have it done in time for August (since it's probably already in alpha, and they need time to get all the new stuff tested) then I am sure Ubi will do it.  Until then, you are asking for too much, too late.  From someone who actually knows 3D art, this isn't possible without a whole new team, JUST for this.  And unless you are going to pay for it, you are just being whiny.

chunmeista
chunmeista

So Ubisoft. Why add playable female characters? 

Because you made the game multiplayer.

Like heck, it doesn’t even have to be an entirely new character with a backstory or special interactions. You’ll play Arno by default in singleplayer, and that’s understandable. It’s a one-character story. But in multiplayer... why not just have another male assassin model and two other female assassin models that people switch to automatically? You even have existing female character models from assassin recruits, online multiplayer modes, a MAIN character, and numerous side characters. Unless you really want people to play with four Arno Dorlans, because he just so happened to be in a family of quintuplets.

I usually only play my own physical gender in RPGs if I have the option to, merely because that’s what I identify with— but to leave one side out feels just wrong.

You have 'till October, Ubisoft. I believe you guys aren’t lazy, so prove me right.  

domisbatman
domisbatman

Does it really matter, why start this thing now,why not start it with Connor or Edward

AsinineZomg
AsinineZomg

Considering Ubisoft is trying to maintain the late October launch window of Assassin's Creed games, on new hardware no less, "too much work" seems like a passable--albeit weak-- excuse. Especially if they want to get a female character right, as opposed to a token one to satiate the masses.

The next iteration in the series, however, should have no such excuse. An actual reason, as opposed to a half-hearted excuse, should be used in lieu.

RC-Sev
RC-Sev

Désilets also said that it would have been “awesome” if Ubisoft showed four women assassins instead. “It would have been really a strong message of what Assassin's Creed Unity is about."

About... women? Seriously, what would be the message?

luoluyao
luoluyao

I....just don't want to play as a chick...

bgranli
bgranli

I'm pretty sure there would've been a whole lot of men/boys crying to their mommies if all the main characters in AC Unity were women; however, when someone points out the fact that all the characters in AC Unity are male, the same people don't see any reason at all to question that fact. That's something called entitlement. 

Just because someone points out the fact that all the characters are white males who look very similar (and find that funny and ironic, given the title), doesn't mean they have any white knight/SJW/PC-agenda, it may just be that they are interested in seing their favorite medium grow up, become more creative and tell more stories. And if they have a political agenda? Good on them for actually standing for something and wishing to see the world be more inclusive.  


Also, just because someone had a certain creative vision, doesn't mean it's exempt from criticism. How else would a medium evovle?


People playing the realism/historical-accuracy card when defending Ubisoft's lazy decisions and lack of creativity, should do some research.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

It's surprising that Desilets says such bullshit as an industry professional.

He neither wasn't fully quoted or he has actually no clue about the game design for Unity...either way it's a poor statement.

chrisall76
chrisall76

I understand being able to be female in a RPG-like game like Destiny, Borderlands, Final Fantasy, etc. But in a game where it's just you going through a story? As long as that is good I don't understand why they need to have a female. It's not even like Ubisoft doesn't want a female protagonist, as we had a AC game with a female on the Vita (and recently re-released on consoles/PC).

mesomorphin
mesomorphin

Oh my god Gamespot just stop....you're really making a joke of yourself with these feminist BS! 

borlng
borlng

I personally think most males want to play a female assassin just to look at the body and crap. Lol

... Maybe not all of you, but it wouldn't be surprising.

frozenuxx
frozenuxx

Pauvre Patrice. He left Ubisoft only to incidentally go back to them and be fcked again. That's crazy! lol That sht would have drove me mad lol

moozeditty
moozeditty

@nephanor I'm sure the stuff you know about 3d art is very impressive and all but Dan Lowe (senior technical animator of Far Cry 3 and Watchdogs) and Jonathan Cooper (Animation Director of Assassin's Creed 3) agree with Patrice Désilets that they could have and should have included it. Jonathan Cooper even indicated on his twitter he played a build that had a female playable character before he left Ubisoft in February of this year. Makes you wonder just how recently they decided not to bother including her.


I don't need to rearrange Ubisoft's accounts to justify my right to complain. I am perfectly comfortable just taking my business elsewhere. Somebody wake me when they make Beyond Good and Evil 2.

lotussan
lotussan

@domisbatman Because every game after Brotherhood had female representation, maybe? 

heiraven
heiraven

@RC-Sev That videogames aren't only for white men who look pretty similar, and that they have more imagination, and are a creative group?


(Plus: the most famous assassin from the French Revolution, Charlotte Corday, was a woman. So, it would be historically accurate.)

othergonzo
othergonzo

@luoluyao Ever think that there's people who don't want to play as a dude?  Options are always an improvement.

heiraven
heiraven

@luoluyao  I think you didn't got the point: No one is saying that you have to play as a female character. Why would you have to do that? They already have male characters. Choose one of them.

The problem here is that Ubisoft is putting poor excuses to not create a female character for women who don't want to play as the male chacracter.


But imagine that Ubisoft decides to create a multiplayer game with only female characters, and later they say that they don't have the time for male characters. You don't want to play as one of the females... Now, do you understand? Is that simple.

deltron77
deltron77

@black_nirvana_ think of how girls/women have felt for a long time, video games are male-centric. im not sure how you can not put yourself in their shoes thinking the way you do.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@black_nirvana_ Hm, to each their own. But it really wasn't a big issue for me to play Lara Croft in Tomb Raider or Aveline in AC Liberation and to enjoy these games. I think the whole issue is far overrated and media-hyped...

moozeditty
moozeditty

@LordCrash88 Dan Lowe (senior technical animator of Far Cry 3 and Watchdogs) and Jonathan Cooper (Animation Director of Assassin's Creed 3) agree with him. Check their twitters.

nephanor
nephanor

@moozeditty First off, your dismissal of anyone who doesn't speak what you like it very telling, especially since you know nothing about me or my experience.  Even in text, the tone the beginning of your message conveys is quite condescending and confrontational.  That says a lot about how the rest of your message should be taken, so let's get into it with facts, not fancy or hopes.


Actually, Dan Lowe said that mo-cop was no different in Watchdogs for male and female.  Of course, they didn't have the women performing acrobatics or assassination moves, in WD, there were no super moves by anyone in the game.  No acrobatics, no gymnastics, no jaw dropping moves at all.  Everything was perfectly natural.  And of course, since his twitter feed is where it was supposedly said, he has since protected, so we have no idea if that is even true.  And then let's look at Jonathan Cooper, who now works for Naughty Dog, a COMPETITOR to Ubisoft.  If you think a competitor would actually support a decision that Ubisoft would make, especially if it can net them some more sales, then you really need to re-examine your thoughts.  He didn't say anything about Unity having a female character, he said their last prototype, not mentioning WHICH game this was.   Even if it was Unity, there is more to having a female character than just a model and animations.  There is texturing, and considering there will be outfits in the game, that means two outfit versions.  There is also voice acting.  There is UI to determine this.  This is NOT just simply a matter of a mesh.  And Jonathan Cooper agrees, he said this in twitter  "That said, character models, voice acting and the systems to switch them take more time."


What does all this make me wonder?  If the people complaining really understand what it is like to program a game like this for a Triple A Gaming company.  If people complaining have ever dealt with budget and time constraints.  If people complaining are not just complaining because they want a reason to complain about someone.  Those in competing companies coming out against Ubisoft, I don't hold it against them, provided they actually are honest.  They are TRYING to get more business, and trying to appeal to people is one method.  Many are falling for it.  You did.  Those coming out against it who have a grudge against Ubisoft, like the one in this story, well, their motives speak for themselves.


And just like you don't need to rearrange Ubisoft's accounts to complain, Ubisoft has just as much right to assume you probably wouldn't have bought the game to begin with and not be concerned about your opinion.  The true fans of gaming know what's going on, and aren't swayed by the whining of those with an overinflated sense of entitlement that seems to be common among people these days.  I know I will be enjoying games of quality, not games that pander.

luoluyao
luoluyao

And that's fine, and if they ever do a game about shao Jun the Chinese assassin, I may even get it even though it features a woman protagonist, on the basis if a good story, strong character, and Chinese background. But they chose Arno, and that's just the way it is. Ubisoft shouldn't have to justify this decision time anyone.

On the point of choice, I'm assuming that the game will still have the same multi player introduced in AC 2, which allows for female playable characters. This article seems to talk about the coop mode, and as others have pointed out, in that mode, all of the participants are supposed to be Arno. So it would probably be odd to. Suddenly introduce a best. Character under this mode. Again, this is a design choice that shouldn't have to be justifies.

luoluyao
luoluyao

I understand your view completely, and Itoo am disgusted with Ubisoft 's weak assume response. If they made certain design decisions, they should just own up to it. At the same time, I don't think a game studio should be persecuted and crucified for making design decisions. They make games, not social manifestos...

luoluyao
luoluyao

That is completely fair. Please don't feel compelled to buy the game then.

luoluyao
luoluyao

It is a sad sad day when personal preference can be called sexism...

black_nirvana_
black_nirvana_

@ctlaltbatman @black_nirvana_ Not afraid to speak my mind, it's not sexism, I just said what most men or afraid to say; that they're just more comfortable playing as a male. Women are speaking their mind on the issue, so can we.

black_nirvana_
black_nirvana_

@deltron77 How the hell am I supposed to put myself in someone else's shoes? They should try and fill mine first that'd be a bit harder. This is a ludicrous topic.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@deltron77 There is nothing wrong with women demanding more female heroines. The disgusting part is the gaming media - which also mostly consisted of men - pretending like it would be some kind of anti-female agenda...

In the end it's just creative freedeom and Ubisoft's decision to make a male hero because still the biggest part of their audience is male. There is on a general level nothing wrong with that.

moozeditty
moozeditty

@nephanor  Yes, your apologism is very interesting in all its sweatiness and your acumen in detecting my sarcasm is massively impressive. Congratulate yourself on your endorsement of non-pandering gaming companies like Ubisoft, who promise only the finest of Gamestop exclusive day one DLCs and churn out only the most innovative Tom Clancy sequels. I doff my Watch Dogs promotional baseball cap to you, gent, as your passionate defensiveness bespeaks your surely superior taste in games. I probably just pay attention to gamespot and various game developer twitters and gaming news to be contentious... yeah, that's got to be it...

lotussan
lotussan

@luoluyao but that's the issue. You say "Don't buy the game" And I won't. Ubi's many excuses and recent BS between ACU and FC4 have really turned me off to the purchase of their games. But you're basically telling 45% of gamers to not buy the game because they want to play as a character they identify with. 


When a game as "macho" as Gears of War gets with the program and gives women the option, you know you're behind the times a bit. RPGs have been giving women this equal representation for ages, as have many non-RPGs (ACB - ACBF, Tomb Raider, Hearthstone (A CARD GAME), Starcraft, MOBAs in general, the next Call of Duty for Christ's sake, Arkham City, Left 4 Dead, Orcs Must Die, Portal, and Borderlands, to name a few). 

Assassin's Creed devs have zero excuse with playable women at this point in time.

rooftopberry
rooftopberry

@black_nirvana_ @ctlaltbatman Men are not mis and under represented. Yes you are free to speak your mind but you are not in a level playing field. You've already wont the bloody game.

niamh944
niamh944

@black_nirvana_ @ctlaltbatman and more women find it comfortable playing a female. so why cant we have a choice as even a side character in multiplayer. you dont have to play the female you can play the male if you want. its your choice

niamh944
niamh944

@LordCrash88 @deltron77 I dont mind if the main character is male or anything but like if you're going to have multiplayer it'd be nice to have the choice to pick a side female character who might even not have any back story or not.


nephanor
nephanor

@moozeditty Your sarcasm tells us everything we want to know.  You don't care about the facts.  You don't care about what is needed.  You just wanted something to complain about, and this was convenient.  You didn't respond to a single point I made against your argument, instead you stooped to attacking me, and my tone.  Congratulations, you just proved that I was right.


You social justice warrior types don't care about what is good or right, only what you want.  And in this case, you wanted a reason to complain about something completely inconsequential, and to hell with facts that showed your complaints as just whining.  The truth is, Ubisoft is doing things right, but they didn't cave in and give you what you wanted.  Ubisoft doesn't OWE you or anyone else a thing.  They make products, and people buy them or not.  If a bunch of people with an overinflated sense of entitlement want to throw a temper tantrum because they didn't get something they want, they only have themselves to blame.  If you think you can do so much better, go out and make a game.  I dare you.