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.