Cosplayers Poke Fun at the Idea That Women Are "Too Hard To Render" in Games

Pair of cosplayers at this weekend's GaymerX2 conference dress up to make a point about Ubisoft's decision to not include playable female characters in Assassin's Creed: Unity.

The discussion around women in games has intensified since Ubisoft announced at E3 2014 that Assassin's Creed Unity would not feature any playable female characters. Now, a pair of cosplayers at this weekend's GaymerX2 conference have poked fun at Ubisoft's decision, specifically jabbing at one Ubisoft designer's statement that women are more difficult to animate than men.

The photo above comes from Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian. It shows two cosplayers dressed in cardboard boxes that have the words "BOOBS?" and "2 HARD TO RENDER" written on them. They are also wielding inflatable Assassin's Creed swords.

This is a clear reference to the words of Ubisoft technical director James Therien, who said during E3 last month that female characters were going to be included in Assassin's Creed Unity, but were scrapped because of the additional work that would have been involved.

"It was on our feature list until not too long ago, but it's a question of focus and production," Therien said at the time. "So we wanted to make sure we had the best experience for the character." He also said that if female characters were indeed included, Ubisoft would have had to "redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes." In effect, "It would have doubled the work on those things. And I mean it's something the team really wanted, but we had to make a decision... It's unfortunate, but it's a reality of game development."

This assertion (which would be contested by a former Ubisoft employee) set off a debate about the topic of women in games. Ubisoft issued a formal statement on the matter, saying the company recognizes the "valid concern around diversity in video game narrative." Rust developer Garry Newman says it would "undoubtedly" be a good thing if there were more female protagonists in video games, but maintains that Ubisoft was unfairly singled out.

In addition, high-ranking people from game companies like Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft, and Paradox Interactive have all sounded off on the topic of women in games.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Assassin's Creed Unity?

Assassin's Creed Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity

Follow

Discussion

267 comments
colbster
colbster

I feel bad for the guy. Having never seen a woman naked, he probably had no idea how to create the model for the game.

DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

what about different races in games instead of it constantly being just white main character?

ritamray32
ritamray32

You people cant be that stupid

Female character doesn't mean an animation of male character with boobs

They have to add a lot of detail. Female voices. Cut scenes. Basically do the entire story of ACU again with a female counterpart

ALSO it depends upon the story. If the lead character has a love interest they have to make a male and female character for that. Which would change some part of the story. As a annual franchise, so much to think about would ultimately make a glitchy game

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

Why couldn't I play as a male in Heavenly Sword or Mirrors Edge? :(


Check mate!

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

erm ok idont play follow the creed so I could be wrong but

wasn't there a lead girl asasian in one of the games as I say I don't really know and again but wasn't that on the vita or something???

sorry in advance if I'm wrong

Geogyf
Geogyf

They can do the Female Sheppard Model/Animations like in Mass Effect.

Add Female Face+Boobs to Man body.


Ofcourse it would look ridiculous in AC with all this jumping


yellaatung08
yellaatung08

For those who are saying that we should just "suck it up and play as a man" and "It's not a huge issue." 

It is a huge issue for me as a girl. I don't like playing as a male character. I've never played an A.C game because of that. I just can't relate to the character. I do like to watch my boyfriend play a game with male characters only for the story.


I'm not saying that all games should have an option to play as a girl though.

isshiah
isshiah

Anita had something to do with this picture? I've suddenly lost interest. 

mr_nee
mr_nee

L35bians are only good in p0rn. Don't like 'em in real life.

muzza93
muzza93

Do they realise that assassins creed liberation had only a female character to play as? They should go play that before complaining, but they are women  

CoCoBean1
CoCoBean1

They aren't even making fun of the right game. There are no pirates in Unity.

RevLux
RevLux

I'm pretty sure the reason for not including playable female characters in A.C. Unity was because everyone is playing the same character, which is the protagonist of the game. You can change up what he wears but I can understand why they wouldn't want to simply attach breasts to a male character. That said, I'm sure nobody would be offended if Ubisoft simply coded a brown box labeled with the word "boobs" over one of the assassins. It's just crass enough to work. Great idea ladies!

edant79
edant79

I'd love to play a female assassin so long as they're hot and slutty, ...but they're dumpy and creepy.

In which case, is sexually offending, and I'm calling the cops!

lilflipp
lilflipp

Maybe you ladies should stick with The Sims aka Housewife simulator. What do you think? You can make sammiches for everybody, even the people that just walk in the house uninvited.

You can wash the bathroom because everyone always leaves a puddle when they get out of the shower. Then you can watch your character crack and complain halfway through chores as her stats dramatically drop.


No but really, you can always go and play those Dead or Alive volleyball games. Most accurate representation of a woman ever. No sarcasm, just truth.

delta5931
delta5931

Just play as man, you losers.

I play as a woman in plenty of games, suck it up and play the game. I mean it can't be that serious of an issue, or they would vote with their wallets.

TacticaI
TacticaI

Something tells me it was a lot easier to cosplay as "2 Hard 2 Render" than it was to dress up as Aveline from Liberation, so I'm sensing a little hypocrisy here. 

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

yes it is VERY hard to render a female without some femnazi talking bout sexism. men are much easier because he can look like a fruit or a MOUNTAIN of muscle and nobody would care

SoulScribe
SoulScribe

Although I dislike ubi with a passion, but I have to play devils advocate. I took 2 years life drawing studying human anatomy and study a broad range of human bodies. Simply adding boobs on a man does not make a woman. Women have different shoulder, ribcage, and hip structure as well as different body posture from men. Even the most masculine women bodies still follow these subtleties.  

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

"Boobs?"-- Probably none.

"2 Hard 2 Render" -- Shouldn't have been so ugly.

Lol jk. Whatever, get over it now.

rayankawash
rayankawash

if it was a male complaining about this . all he would get is "grow some balls "

red_city
red_city

They didn't want a female lead. Get over it.

fede018
fede018

queue the usual sexist, misogynist comments from the lovely Gamespot community. Bill O' Rilley has a better sense of humor than you.

NiteX
NiteX

They do understand that Ubi just doesn't give a damn and they'd rather save money than bend to the minority right?

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

How are the (pretty bad) cosplays of some random girls newsworthy?

nurnberg
nurnberg

These are the ugliest cosplayers I have ever seen.

yellowsanchez
yellowsanchez

i understand that they made that decision but in future games they should consider including playable female characters in their stories. if they can.

dexter-404
dexter-404

@ritamray32 dude the old dev said it would take just another WEEK to do all that we are not saying have women everywhere just girls in general in the game

skyke101
skyke101

@RSM-HQ yep, its kinda stupid, but I have to say that its Ubi fault too to bring up this kind of "unnecessary" discussion

bnmp
bnmp

Can you see the flaw in this question?

Torcha09
Torcha09

@digitalgawd Haha, hey, if they get AC on PC, the talented Skyrim modders could just port over their body meshes... get some lovely DOA style breast physics in. That'll show Ubisoft. Refuse to put female models in?? Well, we'll just MAKE women who have overly gratuitous bouncing assets!!! That animate like men... ;)

Pro-Aktivity
Pro-Aktivity

@muzza93 If anything your statement only validates their argument even more, since it proves the statement by Ubi they're arguing against is BS.

Torcha09
Torcha09

@muzza93 See, this is making me wonder why the big studios can't do a similar thing that the VITA studio for liberation did. I mean, is it really that hard if the little guys could pull it off? If modders can make huge caches of new animations in other games? Obviously there's one tool in charge who told everyone they just weren't gonna do girls, and no one complained because it saved them a few hours.

Jasbro
Jasbro

@CoCoBean1 Were are you getting that they are cosplaying as pirates?.

hystavito
hystavito

@SoulScribe Yes, and it's also about how far they take things, how much work they actually put into that stuff.  I can imagine big companies with lots of money might go all out, working on every little subtle detail for characters, even things that might not be noticed by most users but that they can brag about.


I'm not saying Ubisoft definitely does that, but they might, and so you could even argue that them not putting in a female character is a testament to their commitment to a very high level of quality in their characters.  That doing so would have truly required a lot of extra effort and expense because they put so much work into making the characters.


Again, I am not saying that this is certainly the case, just that it is possible they really did consider it and the number of players who would enjoy it was not enough to justify the expense.  I also fully realize that some people believe the first step, doing it regardless of cost, is necessary to move things forward, someone has to make the first moves when it's not necessarily a great business decision in strict money terms.  That is also a valid argument.

fede018
fede018

@rayankawash yeah, poor us white men, we have it so hard in life :(

RevLux
RevLux

@yellowsanchez  You can actually buy an Assassin's Creed game right now that has a female protagonist. Aveline is one of the best in the franchise imo. It's called AC III Liberation and you should be able to find a digital copy on every console except the PS4 and XB1.  

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@skyke101 @RSM-HQ Indeed, games in general are created with a creative set of goals & Ubi shot themselves in the foot. 


None-the-less the public need to stop acting like they have a right & control over any gaming project they have no clear part in. They're the customers; not the developers.


This kinda reminds me of freelance journalist Jason Schreier bashing Vanillaware founder George Kamitani last year on women in games. 


Gaming isn't politics people!

igorphoenix
igorphoenix

@Torcha09 @digitalgawd @Torcha09 @digitalgawd  nobody said that is technically impossible to implement female characters. But in reality the bigger the project gets, more restrictive gets the budget.

Making female protagonist would require all new set of animations (you can't just take standard walk animation an use it for female character, it would look unnatural), which requires quite a lot of work considering how heavily AC relies on all the fighting and parcour stuff, plus there's all the props that rely on that animations, script differences etc.

What I mean here is that "female model" and "female character" are not the same. Great exemple is P3P where they added female protagonist with completely reworked script, S.Links (and that's about 50 hours of story), UI theme, equipement and all the small details. Sure AC is not that kind of game (I lost interest in series after Brotherhood ending), still - if something worth doing, it's worth doing well.

But then again, while I like female characters in games, I think that the issue is greatly exaggerated. And it sure isn't the biggest broblem Ubisoft should worry about.

CoCoBean1
CoCoBean1

@Jasbro @CoCoBean1  The pirate sash, the pirate swords, and the assassin logo on the sash is distinct to black flag

lilflipp
lilflipp

@fede018 I know. But at least, we don't have to worry about very important things like having mass murderers being females in games. Every mass murderer is by default, a male. It is known.

bluesbird11288
bluesbird11288

@RSM-HQ  "The public need to stop acting like they have a right & control over any gaming project they have no clear part in. They're the customers, not the developers." As the customers, we determine a game's sales. We have every right to state what we want. 


When half of your audience is tired of being relegated to passive roles (eye-candy or rescuee) 90% of the time, then providing them with an alternative is just damn good business sense. 


The default choice of a white male protagonist has become a symptom of creative laziness and perceived "risk" aversion, rather than a creative choice on the developer's part. 


"Gaming isn't politics people!" Mass-distributed video games, along with music and movies are chosen by those with power, whether it's the executive producer or the customer. The almighty dollar selects the stories that "deserve" to be told. That's VERY political. 

bnmp
bnmp

What is "standard walk animation"? That statement seem to be implying that male = "standard." And that fits the general mindset of this industry - and therein lies the problem. Male is not standard.

igorphoenix
igorphoenix

@bnmp really? Of everything I said you choose to comment on that single word?

Ok, I may've used the wrong one. By standard I meant animation that they did initially (and probably reused throughout multiple titles), I wasn't implying that male protagonists are industry standard.

And is it really a problem? There are some great games with female lead and there are some sh*tty games with all-male cast. It's not what makes certain game good or bad. And for Assassins Creed it's certainly least of the worries (first they need to do something about repetitive gameplay which gets only worse with every new installment).