E3 2014: Ex-Ubisoft Dev Refutes Reported Difficulty of Female Assassin's Creed Characters

Jonathan Cooper says, "Man, if I had a dollar for every time someone at Ubisoft tried to bullsh** me on animation tech..."

A former Assassin's Creed designer--Jonathan Cooper--has responded to the recent claim by a Ubisoft developer that adding female playable characters to the co-op mode for Assassin's Creed Unity would have required significant extra work. According to Cooper, who now works at Naughty Dog, it would be a simpler task than previously described.

"In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two's work. Not a replacement of 8,000 animations," Cooper said on Twitter. "Man, if I had a dollar for every time someone at Ubisoft tried to bullsh** me on animation tech," he added.

To stress his point further, Cooper said the female main character of the PlayStation Vita game Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Aveline de Grandpre, "shares more of Connor Kenway's animations than Edward Kenway does." Connor Kenway was the protagonist in Assassin's Creed III, while Edward Kenway played the lead role in last year's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Cooper went on to say that Ubisoft even created a prototype for an unspecified Assassin's Creed game where if you entered your name as Aleissia (the name of a developer working on the game), you could play as a female character. It's not clear if this game was Assassin's Creed Unity.

Ubisoft technical director James Therien said yesterday in an interview, that had female characters been included in Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft would have had to "redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes." He said that this would have "doubled the work" on those things. "It's unfortunate, but it's a reality of game development," he said at the time.

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Discussion

208 comments
Rashkavar
Rashkavar

Well, granted it will be a lot of extra work.  Even if Cooper's point is correct and the animation is largely the same, there's still the model design to do (here's hoping they'd go with a leaner design like Mary in AC4 or Faith in Mirror's Edge - the lifestyle of crazy parkour acrobatics tends to trim away the majority of body fat), costume design (what looks good on a guy can look ridiculous on a girl, especially in those days when men had complex costumes as well, and the reverse is the case even today).  Double the work seems like an exaggeration, since they've already put the work matching the basic kinesiology of parkour for this game's free-running system; now they just need to animate that using a different model.  If they're doing motion capture (and they probably are, given modern graphics and their lack of leeway with stylized movement), some, if not all of that would need redoing.

TroyTrojanGamer
TroyTrojanGamer

If feminist are going to start crying about female characters in video games then they better do it for COD to.  So moms can start crying about how terrible it is to walk behind and female in a video game and cut her throat and watch the blood hit the floor. While you shoot mow down another girl with a machine gun.


But we all know that wont happen because you can't ever give women a negative situation these days.

shoguntake
shoguntake

I hate when people make excuses. We're your consumer's and as such we would very much appreciate honesty and only that. Don't insult our intelligence by giving us lame excuses like that kid who doesn't want you over at their house otherwise we have every reason to question you.

ashxgeist
ashxgeist

Oh hell, are we going to have a feminist outcry for every game that comes out, that doesn't have a female lead or "enough" females NPC's in it? This is ridiculous, this is just a damn game. Try focusing on actual real world issues that matter.

Hurvl
Hurvl

But why would a big company, interested in catering to a perceived demographic that doesn't include females, lie about such a thing? That's really quite inconceivable.

loriwinters
loriwinters

@rolla020980 

To answer your question why shouldn't they? they act like men are one the onlys to play games and you're wrong about 99% of ac players not caring, infact i think most of them did care and we got our female lead in ac game, so why not?

loriwinters
loriwinters

 This sad cause everyone  knows that most game engines have pre made male and female models, it just silly and lazy dev's not using all their tools, they rather moan and whine about everything instead doing there job, how about this how you guys make us game that we don't have do a day one patch, how about coming something new and instead biting and stealing off each other then claiming it  as you own. so big Dev's let me ask you this before i go, if a flash game dev can spend there time making a female char for their game without the support of team and anything else, why can't you guys do that when you have tons and money and few dozen teams working with you on project? 

rolla020980
rolla020980

OK, OK.... game dev's have to be equal now. This will have to apply to all games, so next year, we will get Super Toadstool Sisters, where Mario gets captured by woman Bowser and Princess Toadstool has to save him by making her way through levels jumping on female koopas. You can even play 2 player with the second player playing a Princess's sister, Luiga.

How far are we going to take this?!?!?

punisher1
punisher1

does anybody really give a fuck about the sex of their assassin?

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

I believe in artistic freedom, which means who ever created it can do with it what ever they want.  If they decide that Assasins should only be man, so be it, if then they decided to add a woman, so be it.

Where is the outrage from men always having to be the Bad guy!

Chatch09
Chatch09

Haaahahaha GOT EM!!! A day or two of work huh? I believe it. Now we'll just see it get released as DLC you have to pay for...

Prometheus
Prometheus

Something, somewhere is not all about women? Misogyny!

Pewbert
Pewbert

Why is this a problem for anyone? When I play Tomb Raider or Mirrors Edge I don't scream and cry because I want a male character to play as. It's these male feminists attention seeking again. They don't give a damn about real female problems (The Middle East for example).

shtiken
shtiken

Again with this crap. Get over it, they don't want a female assassin in this game. Besides, there is more worth while stuff to report on. So how about you do just that.

tomservo51
tomservo51

Joan of Arc would make a good assassin

twodigits
twodigits

Maybe they're saving a female character for the inevitable DLC.

swarthygarfield
swarthygarfield

@ashxgeist  "Try focusing on actual real world issues that matter"

And what are you doing? People complaining on the internet doesn't seem like a world issue.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@loriwinters 

So, if they care so much, then Unity will flop, right? If they buy it anyways, then they supported the game. My guess is that 99.999% of the people who were going to buy Unity (hence AC fans) will still buy it... but I guess we won't know until launch.

Do you feel that AC is the only franchise? How about Halo, Mario, etc? People are confusing equal rights with free speech. Ubisoft has the right to make the character whatever gender they want to. It is their expressive medium.

pezzott1
pezzott1

@loriwinters  Most game engines have Pre made male and female models??? 


You have no idea how a game engine works, do you?

rolla020980
rolla020980

@loriwinters 

Why should they have to? Why just AC (other than a Pi$$ed off former employee bringing it up)? Stupid little flash games don't have an ounce of what it takes to make a big AAA game like Unity. 

Day one patches are more common due to the complexity and cost of developing a modern next-gen game. Would you rather wait a month to play a great new game, or have a 20 minute delay for a day one patch? 

In the end, don't like it, don't buy it. If they lose enough sales, they will change, but something tells me that 99.999% of AC fans don't give a crap. 

swarthygarfield
swarthygarfield

@rolla020980  In Super Princess Peach. Mario and Luigi get captured and peach Saves the day.

There have already been female playable characters in a main Mario games as well. In Super Mario 3D World you can play as Rosalina and Princes Peach.

Contrary to your slippery slope argument I don't see Mario getting ruined.

cyla_is_awesome
cyla_is_awesome

@homey_d_clown And we also have the right to complain when someones artistic endeavor is always full of men. It's called critique - don't publish your art unless you want critique.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@homey_d_clown 

Agreed. Dev's have the right to their own creations. You also have the right not to patronize them if you disagree. All of the people on here that are upset about Unity not have women should simply not buy the game. If it is a big enough deal to gamers (which it isn't), then Unity won't sell and they will be forced to act. That is the free market at work. 

Personally I care more about the gameplay and storyline than the gender of the protagonist and, looking at the last installment of AC, Ubisoft is adding more and more female NPC's. The two main NPC's in AC4 were female.

dark_k
dark_k

@homey_d_clown Equally then there could be outrage about women not being bad guys. I see where you're coming from but the controversy here is coming from many fronts at different levels. Some are arguing that the comments speak volumes about the general lack of femal primary protagonists/antagonists in the AC video games and vg's in general. Some are taking issue to the blatant lies and laziness of the devs when there hasn't been issues in the past games when including female multiplayer avatars.

Geertvdheide
Geertvdheide

@Chatch09 The comments from mr Cooper only address the animations. Female characters would still need their own character models and outfits, which means concept art + modelling + fine tuning + focus grouping + fine tuning some more. So I think the truth is in the middle: adding female assassins would probably be more work than 1-2 days, but less than what Ubisoft is trying to make us believe.


Either way, I don't think Ubi is leaving out the female assassins because of some male superiority or inequality. It's probably just to save them some work and because the franchise started out with male protagonists. There's no obligation on their end to include women as playable characters, although I would like to see them in a future title. All in all: Much ado about nothing.

TroyTrojanGamer
TroyTrojanGamer

@Pewbert Thank goodness someone said this lol.  I'm not against female characters in any game.  I roll a female character in Skyrim because it's a game that involves magic and demons.  Some games are just better suited for male characters like some games are better suited for females.  Do you expect to pick up Just Dance or Zumba and see some big buff male? 

ati-miz
ati-miz

@Pewbert Ya so as me i had no problems playing a female character especially a hot kickass girl...

rolla020980
rolla020980

@shtiken 

It seems to me they are more concerned with developing a good game than decided the gender of the lead. How dare they.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@tomservo51 

No, she wouldn't Joan of Arc was not part of a secret organization. AC is not only about killing people in the sense of the word assassin, but as the organization, the Assassins... not to mention she was caught and burned pretty quickly. It would be a short game.

ashxgeist
ashxgeist

@swarthygarfield @ashxgeist Am I complaining? Or did I simply comment? And nitpicking at the fact that I commented on here achieved nothing if you were trying to make a point. Wait, let me amuse you, "OH! You GOT me!" Feel any more clever? And as for what you said, "People complaining on the internet doesn't seem like a world issue." would apply to almost everyone that gets on to these game descussions, including the people you seem to be defending, in turn you just call them out as well. Considering this wouldn't even be open for discussion if people didn't complain over nonsense to begin with no? Keep that in mind the next time you may decide to complain about something on these discussions, else you may end up being a hypocrite, if you already aren't.

joshuawicht
joshuawicht

@rolla020980 @loriwinters They sure can make whatever they want with their game.

That doesn't mean we can't ask them why the hell they decided not to put women in the game, though. They have freedom of expression, so do we. Two way street.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@pezzott1 @loriwinters 

Yeah, because the characters on Borderlands looked the same as those on Bioshock Infinite, which looked the same as those on Gears of War (all 3 games ran on Unreal Engine 3) 

(/sarc)

tom2750
tom2750

@cyla_is_awesome @rolla020980 it is a bad thing it is much more realistic having a man save a woman in real life when people need saving it is almost always a man putting his safety on the line to save other peoples lives 

rolla020980
rolla020980

@dark_k 

And some people are arguing that we should let the Dev's do what they want and then decide whether or not to buy the game. 

Some people care less about the reasoning and they are convinced it isn't laziness, but just that they didn't plan it.Don't take the word of a former employee... that is just laziness:)

rolla020980
rolla020980

@Geertvdheide 

It would be even more than that, but it could be done. They would need to cast a women to repeat the voice acting since AC characters do talk. They would also need to rewrite some of that dialogue as men and women would react differently to situations. Simple hormone differences could change the reactions. Simply having a woman read a man's part makes no sense. 

dark_k
dark_k

@Geertvdheide It's never been an issue in the past with the previous games' multiplayer in all the instances you mentioned so why is an issue now? Quite frankily Ubi's yearly entries into the series is absurd and a couple of months more to add a few relatively minor features shouldn't be that difficult to adjust to.

swarthygarfield
swarthygarfield

@ashxgeist  Complaining is defined  as

to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault.

You are complaining about people complaining about video games rather then real world issues. You are a hypocrite because you are complaining about something other then real world issues.

My problem with you is not that you are complaining but the fact you are a hypocrite. I am perfectly fine with conversation about things other then real world issues.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@joshuawicht @loriwinters 

Yes, but ultimately they hold creative license and we hold the money. We can ask all we want, but if it is a minority, it will not be heard. We had this same debate on AC4 and Ubisoft didn't change Unity. If enough people are upset about it, we can hurt their bottom line by not buying the game. As long as sales are high, there very well may not be a change. 

cyla_is_awesome
cyla_is_awesome

@tom2750 @cyla_is_awesome @rolla020980 Um, we are talking about games where you travel back in time via someones memories and you can jump off of buildings and land in a haystack and you didn't crush yourself. Realism is out the door already, why bring in realism when it comes to gender in video games? Is memory time travel more realistic than a woman kicking ass to you? You might want to look internally to why you think that way.

Geertvdheide
Geertvdheide

@dark_k @Geertvdheide I definitely agree on AC's yearly release schedule being too quick. It hampers the innovation of the franchise and features like this are cut when they shouldn't be. I was just pointing out that the 1-2 days comment from Cooper may not hold up. There could be additional voice work and modelling involved. And I think the reason Ubisoft is leaving out the women characters is that they have to use their time and resources wisely.

That being said, female assassins do fit just fine in the AC setting and narrative, and it wouldn't be a that much of an extra effort to include them. It's a shame that game developers mostly still seem to think that adding female playable characters is risky or unneccesary since the audience is supposedly all male (which isn't true). Most Bioware games, as well as many MMO's, are setting the right example that a choice between male and female should be included. It should be a regular thing whenever the setting and tone of the game allows it.

@rolla020980: I agree, there'd probably be voice work involved as well.

dark_k
dark_k

@ashxgeist @dark_k @Prometheus Because he's implying that everything these days is about women... which it isn't and in a male dominated industry it is hard to see this especially being males ourselves.

ashxgeist
ashxgeist

@swarthygarfield @ashxgeist Wrong again, I started in my first comment with a question, I then afterward made a statement. There is a difference, and you can define complaining as accurately as you did (thanks to google) as much as you want. This would only be true if my personal intent was to complain, and it wasn't, simply because I made a slightly negative statement about those you are defending, doesn't make it so. You can see it that way if you want, because it doesn't affect me in the least what you assume. And I'm sure the only other reason you are still going on with this is because I was a smartass with you in the last message. So, type and think what you will, but let this be the last correspondance we have on this.I don't feel like repeating myself when I have stated the intent of my message once before, and that is all it should have taken for you to understand. If you do respond to this again, just know I won't care to even read it. If you want to feel better about yourself, there is plenty of people on here who may have been hypocritical with their statements that you can look for and correct.

pakhair
pakhair

@rolla020980 @joshuawicht @loriwinters First of all Unity is not the same, probably we wouldn't even have separate voice actings for each.


And simply putting who cares, I (and tons of others) would love to play as female assassin, and we buy there game every year we have a right to ask ;)