Female Assassin's Creed lead 'wouldn't be surprising' says Ubisoft

Game director says concept of female assassin in future core entry "not something we're trying to avoid."

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All mainline entries in the Assassin's Creed franchise have starred male protagonists, including the just-announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. But could a future installment feature a leading lady?

"It's a bit of a tough question," Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail told IGN.

Ismail explained that Ubisoft had planned out a story arc revolving around the Kenway family for a long time. This arc was always going to focus on Edward, Haytham, and Connor, he said.

"This was actually years ago, we had this," Ismail said, adding "we actually never thought, 'could this be a woman?'"

For Black Flag, Ismail added that though there were a handful of famous female pirates, this was uncommon. "So we didn't want that element to be a detail people got stuck on," he said.

PlayStation Vita game Assassin's Creed III: Liberation featured a female lead, but would a mainline entry in the series do the same?

"I would say it wouldn't be surprising to see a female assassin coming up in a mainline Assassin's Creed," Ismail said. "But for us, for AC4, it was always Edward."

Epic Games art director Chris Perna said in February that female lead characters for the Gears of War series could negatively impact a game's sales potential. "If you look at what sells, it's tough to justify something like that," he said at the time.

IGN asked Ismail if keeping with a male protagonist was a branding decision for the Assassin's Creed series, and he said the idea of a female assassin for future games is not off the table.

"I actually don't know what the brand team is working on for the next few games," he said. "But the concept of a female assassin, I can tell you it's not a no-no, it's not something we're trying to avoid at all."

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is due out October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Wii U, and other next-generation platforms. For more, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

276 comments
christomlin
christomlin

Well in AC3 we played as Haytham, little Connor, and then big Connor.  Surely they could throw in a different viewpoint like they did with Haytham.  Just have it be a woman...something different.  Part of the game you're the Male protag, and they can market the shit out of him, then part of the game you're a lady assassin!  Stealthy and sexy and badass.  yes.

darkcomedian
darkcomedian

Honestly- who gives a flying fuck what the gender of a lead character is?

stev69
stev69

Couldn't care less which gender a future lead might be, as long as the game is enjoyable to play.

melodiousfunk
melodiousfunk

Helloooo..? Anybody watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? There's plenty of female badasses in martial arts movies... and surely a logical step for a story about assassins would be towards the orient.. rather than america... or the high seas? These idiots have their heads screwed on backwards...
Another point about female leads... GTA5??? Why isn't at least one of those lead characters female?

DarthLod
DarthLod

A female lead MIGHT just being me back to the franchise. I quit at Revelations.

AlexFili
AlexFili

The question is whether this game will be better than Watch Dogs and whether the focus on naval combat but not large cities will draw people away

Humdinger80
Humdinger80

A female assassins creed lead is an okay idea. A whole new IP starring a female would be much better. They should have done it with Watch Dogs.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

I really don't like that this keeps being brought up. A female lead assassin is fine with me, lets just not make it look like Ubisoft is caving to pressure when they do it though.

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

Expect this comment section to get flooded... Yaaaay.

Whatever. Liberation was largely a failure, and was noted for how shallow of a character Aveline was. If you can't write a good female character, don't.

Besides, AC always had male lead roles, and a fanbase rooted in that. To change it midway for the main games would be a very bad decision that would make alot of people go "WTF".

This is something that should be tried with a new franchise, not a well-rooted one. You are risking too much market for attention whoring. Even Ubisoft won't take that risk.

To be honest though, i'm puzzled as to why we are having a new Protagonist at all.

I mean, we already know what happens at the end of AC3, and that kinda makes the whole battle pointless.

And didn't they say the series was planned to end as a trilogy? Guess they don't give a shit about promises when AC3 sold 12 million.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

AC needs a female assassin which will be on the home consoles. anyone who never played liberation needs to go find a vita, right now and play it. 

AlcadeiasLOS
AlcadeiasLOS

AC is no more like previous....now ubi just taking regular concept and making protagonist (if male) more bad-ass ..(if female) more pretty...and if pretty doesn't resolve...then we all know answer "Big Titties" 

fillup0
fillup0

I don't see the AC team having a slutty female as an assassin. I expect more of a Kill Bill type of deal.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

A female assassin would be cool. like mass effect did :)

fillup0
fillup0

Assassin's Creed is not an overly masculine game, so it could work very well.

ZetA_LatA
ZetA_LatA

Contemplated getting a PS Vita solely for the AC game. The female lead looked like an utter badass.

MarcusFeelius
MarcusFeelius

I could easily go for a female lead. It's not going to turn me off a game unless you've blatantly put here in there to A. push some kind of agenda, B. create sales through sex appeal. I think AC4 would have been great either way, being a female would just add to the mystery of the character in my opinion. I don't think that a game should ever put in a female character because it's "due", if you do it'll come off as forced. But if it does happen, I think it will be great and I'll buy the game just like I would the previous installations.

blueboxdoctor
blueboxdoctor

Look, male characters obviously sell because companies are too scared to make a female lead.  A female lead will never sell if a female lead is never made by a dev who says it won't sell (I think that made sense).  They should be worried more that people are getting tired of AC, because that seems to be the buzz around the internet right now. 

pgrammus
pgrammus

Female characters can be great in video games. Games like Heavenly Sword, Beyond Good and Evil, even those insane people who chose to be a female Shepard in Mass Effect... but a female character suddenly thrust into a world where a man has been the main focus, is a death sentence. For 5 games, AC has been about Desmond and the ancestor you could see him in. Not some female who we just take as a descendant because the game tells us she is.

Those other games worked because we were presented with the female hero to BEGIN with. And it was accepted that this is who you are in the game. If anything, they should give the players the option to choose a male or female character, and not limit it to one or the other.

Adding a female character now would be just another reason to ignore what will surely be a disappointing release in the AC series. It sounds bad, but if the AC series had a woman as the protagonist, I'd become seriously disinterested. And yes, because it's a woman. Not only are the time periods that we're playing in make it extremely unbelievable that a woman could rise to such legendary power, or even excel at it with how society treated women back then (although they've got Connor summoning ghost wolves and going invisible in the new Tyranny expansion... worst DLC ever), but we're expected to believe she'd be a pirate? 

Please... No one would take her seriously. Even with all the assassin training she'd get. She certainly wouldn't be taken seriously as a pirate, someone who is out in the open and needs to use fear as a weapon. And then we get to have every enemy she comes across underestimate her because she's a woman and then surprise everyone when she whips out the assassin skills... wow the female lead surprises everyone with how she can run with the big boys... that's never been done before... and yet, that's how EVERY female character introduced AFTER the fact is presented. Ubisoft just keeps the shit rolling downhill.

Saketume
Saketume

I'm all for women in video games. I love playing as female characters. When there's a choice I usually pick the girl characters. I don't identify myself with the character I'm playing I see them more like companions through the game.

Why do we have to change established franchises though?

I'd never dream of demanding male leads in Metroid, Heavenly Sword or Tomb Raider.

Speaking of that.. where the hell is the sequel to HS?!

emidas
emidas

Shao Jun, please! Oh god, please!

Slade968
Slade968

@sgt_F79 Wasn't there a female inducted into the order in one of the Ezio iterations? His cousin or sister I thought. Its been a while sive i've played them. Anyone care to calrify?

dani_i89
dani_i89

@DarthLod Why would a femail assassin bring you back?

I won't buy a game with a femal protagonist

drseuss13th
drseuss13th

@AlexFili Better or not than Watch Dogs doesn't matter..  But yeah, I for one, hated the naval parts in AC3.. just doesn't fit in the Assassin world to me. I want running, climbing, sword fighting, assassinating... not to take command of a slow ship in a slow naval battle...

LightRukia
LightRukia

@TohouAsura FF had mostly male leads in the beginning of history and when the decided to make female leads no one really has a problem and the games still sold well. Sure there have been females in all FF titles but the females weren't the center main characters.

  They were really supports for the main male leads in the games. So no I don't think it make a lot people go WTF. Especially since there are plenty of AC fans who like the idea of a female assassin in AC.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

@TohouAsura largely a failure? it was one of the best rated titles on the handheld. why the hate. plus, why can't there be a female lead? you are aware the animus in ACIII:L was based on an unknown person, NOT desmond, right? but that still does not answer or make your statement valid. the person in the animus for that could be male or female, so... yeah, i would not have been angry if desmond's legacy had a female in it. it would have really shown folks that hey, a woman can do the same thing a man can. 

jecomans
jecomans

@mrzero1982pt2 I think the current problem is more that in the historical time and context of the previous AC games the likelihood of a female assassin being a reality was highly unlikely. If they move forward in time they will be in eras and places where a female in that role becomes more plausible. 

pgrammus
pgrammus

@blueboxdoctor Female leads sell when they're presented to be the main focus from the beginning. Look at Heavenly Sword, Beyond Good and Evil, FF13, there's plenty of them. But combine a female lead with an increasingly declining series and 5 games of male familiarity to the fans, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

LightRukia
LightRukia

@pgrammusYou do know there were female pirates right? Including one the most famous ones Anne Bonny. Not to mention apparently you didn't pay close attention to the statues in AC2. 

 As there was at least one woman who looked to be Egyptian, clearly she was a very legendary assassin. So actually it's more unbelievable to not have major female assassin in AC and even more unbelievable to not have a female pirate.

fillup0
fillup0

I disagree. Assassin's Creed doesn't have very many masculine overtones. With strong enough writing, any character can be taken seriously.

petez34
petez34

@pgrammus thank you! you summed it up perfectly. Let me be the first to give you a like. 

murph85
murph85

@Saketume Tomb Raider is Tomb Raider because of Lara Croft. Obviously the protagonist in Assassin's Creed does and can change.

drseuss13th
drseuss13th

@emidas That would be great! Not only to have a female lead, but set in China! :D

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

@mrzero1982pt2 @TohouAsura I'm not going to get into an argument with you on that last statement, for I really don't care for it.

If you would've read what I said, you would've known that the reason isn't because a female role doesn't fit. It's for the sake of continuity and keeping the franchise consistent. The main games have male lead roles. Time and sales have shown this is the most effective decision. Had the market been different, we would've seen a female instead.

Let me ask me this: Would you take it kindly if Tomb Raider had a male lead role suddently? I sure wouldn't.

The very fact people are asking "why isn't there a female lead yet?" is wrong. It's not there because they decided it doesn't work just yet. And I totally respect that, I hate it when companies conform to social conditioning just to look good. Ubisoft doesn't have to prove anything to you, they probably have more female staff than any other studio. The project leader for AC2 was a female.

Also:

http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-vita/assassins-creed-iii-liberation

It's extremely average, not befitting the high quality of AC games. Even GS gave it a 6.5.

Yes, it is one of the best rated titles for the Vita. It also happens to be one of the only titles currently available to the Vita's tiny game library, if you can even call it that.

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

@jecomans @mrzero1982pt2 Actually, if we go into ancient times, female assassins are extremely likely.

But still won't work. The lady's blade is poison and seduction, and AC is more well known for grandiose battles, the playground for men. Maybe Egypt.

fillup0
fillup0

@petez34 @fillup0 Gears, games involving explicit use of the word "bro" and "dude" as well as very few female characters.

danielmbg
danielmbg

@petez34 @fillup0 Soccer, War like Call of Duty, and many others, How stupid would be a Fifa game with women? Or a CoD game with a female protagonist?

LightRukia
LightRukia

@pgrammus BG&E and Heavenly sword didn't really sell well in fact BG&E is considered to be a title like Okami. Most female lead games don't sell well at all. Save for few females like Lara Croft. FF13's female lead had help selling because it was another FF title.

So in the sense I could see a AC game with a female lead still selling very well because like FF13 the female already is associated with a well established and profitable franchise.

petez34
petez34

@fillup0 play ac2 and brotherhood and revelations then reread your comment.

drseuss13th
drseuss13th

@TohouAsura @mrzero1982pt2 Tomb Raider is Tomb Raider because of Lara Croft. Assassin's Creed is Assassin's Creed because you play on the Assassin team against the Templar team. Don't make illogical comparisons.

LightRukia
LightRukia

@TohouAsura Even though female assassins in history were known to use poison and seduction that doesn't mean that she has to be like that AC. 

 AC games don't follow history to the T. So they can easily come up with a female assassin who can fight. She won't be as physically strong as the male leads but she can still do acrobatic moves and be agile on the battlefield.

jecomans
jecomans

@TohouAsura @jecomans @mrzero1982pt2 Good point. A full AC game playing as a proper stealth character might be too much of a departure (and need to be better than the poor stealth segments of Brotherhood) for the series, but a shorter DLC based on a stealthy, seductive femsassin would be cool, and they could gauge whether a full-game is feasible.

petez34
petez34

@TohouAsura @fillup0So you're saying girls wouldn't and don't enjoy fragging you retards? Ah yes they must too busy playing with Barbie and helping mommy in the kitchen.

fillup0
fillup0

@petez34 @fillup0 Dude I played them all the way through last month. It REALLY doesn't have too many masculine over tones. If you're on about Ezio fucking everything that moves, women have sex drives too.