Following E3 Controversy, New Assassin's Creed Unity Trailer Shows Off Female Character

Arno attempts to rescue Elise from execution in the new CG trailer.

In Ubisoft's upcoming free-running game Assassin's Creed Unity, you take control of an Assassin named Arno. He fights in the French Revolution against tyranny and, of course, the Templar organization. But the newest Unity trailer published today suggests that Arno's motivations aren't nearly so clear, and that he seems to be involved with a Templar woman.

In the trailer, Arno races through the streets of Paris to a city square where an execution takes place. He's too late to rescue all of the victims, but that seems to not be the point: the Assassin cuts through the French soldiers guarding the guillotine and reaches the last person in line. This person is a woman, who we know is named Elise. She will be featured prominently throughout the story as a main character.

Most notably, however, is that she wears a Templar cross. Arno collaborates with her, fighting against soldiers who encircle them. According to a press release, Elise is "an independent young noblewoman [who] is determined to secure her place in the Templar dynasty amidst the chaos of the French Revolution. Her quest leads her to cross paths with Arno and establish an unlikely bond with him."

This trailer and the announcement of Elise follow several weeks of controversy after an Ubisoft developer stated that making female playable characters would have doubled the workload. Ubisoft later clarified this, explaining that everyone will play as Arno and that there would be strong female characters in Unity.

Recently, Ubisoft said that Unity will be the "best entry point since Assassin's Creed 1." A previous trailer also showed off the revolution and Arno's motivations for joining the rebels. The game launches on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

What do you think about this friendship between a Templar and an Assassin? Let us know in the comments.

Alex Newhouse is an editorial intern at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @alexbnewhouse
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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255 comments
alexiaeppes
alexiaeppes

*sigh* OK, I better get this out of the way...I am a female gamer. 


*readies herself for bombardments of 'well I bet you're all whiny at Ubisoft about this' and 'I am offended by Ubisoft about this and you are too'*


Before anyone starts saying these sort of things at me, I am going to be quite clear about this whole ordeal. I am NOT taking sides on this. Both sides have brought up some good points that I respect and maybe even agree with. I don't agree with everything that is said, but both sides have presented their fair thoughts.


To the people who are upset with Unity's lack of females, I do understand that the subject upsets you and I cannot say that Ubisoft's statements on the matter have cleared the air, so to speak. I know that female and male gamers may end up feeling alienated by their female avatars being removed from the game. Heck, I was a little upset that GTA didn't introduce a playable female option until GTA Online, but that did not stop me from enjoying the core elements of the series: story, entertainment value and the ability to be as evil as you want! The AC series has had many a strong female character throughout their games that have personality, strong personalities and aren't overly sexualized, so I wouldn't exactly draw the 'Ubisoft is sexist' conclusion. Now, if every female in the AC series were skimpily-dressed flirts with the personality of cardboard who were all over the leading man, then there would be a problem and then I would definitely call that offensive. However, when it comes to likable, strong and important women, I have always felt that the AC series has delivered!


To the people defending Ubisoft in these debated times, I do agree that the game should be enjoyed for gameplay, story and character likability (regardless of gender). I plan to get this game, females or not, and enjoy everything it has to offer for me. Arno sounds like an interesting protagonist and I look forward to seeing what he and this Elise can do (the fact that she's an aspiring Templar makes her even more interesting). However, there are going to be some people who maybe aren't comfortable playing as a male lead, and while I do agree that everyone shouldn't stop what they are doing and accommodate that, their concerns should at least be respected well enough. One of the arguments I've heard is that that the historical settings are not meant for or would not make for an interesting female character. I must respectfully disagree. The taboo idea of a woman taking initiative in a time when the female role was quite diminutive would make for an extremely 'forbidden-type' story. A story that could really capitalize on the 'underground society' element that is the Assassin's Guild!


So, while I do agree with points from both sides, I also have to disagree with some of the arguments made. Feel free to express your opinions to me. If you want to contest my thoughts, great! Just try to refrain from bashing my opinion (key word: my OPINION, not something I claim as a big fact that everyone must say is true). If I have to, I would rather debate like friends than argue like enemies.


So, to the people who defend Ubisoft, I shall be playing this game alongside you and enjoy following every bit of Arno's adventures! I will see you all on Online mode (where I will no doubt be killed. A lot) when this hopefully great game hits the shelves!


To those who wish for more females in AC, do not lose hope. The massive and amazing world of video games is a mysterious place. Don't count out female-centered DLC for ACU just yet! Remember: the next female Assassin could be just around the corner!

Zloth2
Zloth2

<sigh> and another massive spamming because I forgot to mark a topic "unfollow."

blaqsailens
blaqsailens

This is nothing new, AC has always had female leads in the game, and she isn't a playable character so what does this have to do with he E3 controversy?

Pewbert
Pewbert

I have a sneaky feeling Ubisoft is mocking all the sjw's with this trailer. 

Well played Ubisoft! :D

anitasockmywang
anitasockmywang

Ubisoft is a very mysoginist company.  All the main characters need to be strong female warriors.  All the men in the game need to be weak.  This is how equality works.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

HOORAY, now everyone's equal and free!  Guess we can all shake hands and agree video games are totally OKAY now, right?  Or, perhaps everyone's arguing about pixelated genitalia.  As far as 1st world problems go, this is the most superficial of accomplishments ever.  Well, maybe taking 2nd place to Trump's comb-over.

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

Good job, Ubisoft 


Woman character who needs saving by a man - STILL SEXISM

qtmew
qtmew

Great!! Now I can sleep in peace! I have been really worried!!!

solid_snake1461
solid_snake1461

I hate it when these guys can't stand their ground. If they think that having a female lead is bad from the start then they should go through with it till the end. This just show that they have no idea of what they are doing. No vision at all.

balrogbane
balrogbane

And this is significant because......?

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

We've seen something like this in the series before. Remember Altair and Maria?

raag009
raag009

Seriously...there was no point in creating a controversy let alone prolonging it... the story of the game is more important rather than the characters.. The story itself defines the characters.. Did everyone forget why Ezio became the most popular protagonist of the entire franchise.. only because of the story he was involved in.. Just because some people want to see a female character as lead in the game, Ubisoft cant spoil or change the entire story line..


Ubisoft has been giving importance to female characters in the franchise...did u guys forget just because of James Kidd aka Mary Read, Edward changed his path ? Didn't this female character had an important role in changing the life of the male protagonist ? People accusing Ubisoft should dig the past once and get their facts..



As far as the new story trailer, why do u guys think this looks like a Damsel in distress episode ? She was fighting beside Arno at the end of the trailer.. There are lots of instances where male characters needed saving...So will you still sneer and make these kind of comments at those characters ? 


Each and every character in AC Franchise has its own importance in the game... Even Elise will have the same in this game... but looking at the trailer i believe she will have equal importance as that of Arno...

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

I dont know why people assume that they just did this to please all those people. Remember Ubisoft said that there will be no female PLAYABLE characters, but not that there wont be any female chars at all.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

She is so independend, we make her a damsel in distress

howiex89
howiex89

they shoudn't have done this trailer, people will assume its down to e3 rather then it already being part of the story

mihael88
mihael88

all those feminists should be hospitalized they are delusional schizophrenics.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

Seriously? Since when the hell did not having a playable character with a skirt was a World Problem?

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

I'm hoping Ubisoft actually changed it's mind and didn't have this planned in the first place. Thin line between good publicity and bad publicity.

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

OMG DAMSEL IN DISTRESS OMG *rage mouth foam*


"Following E3 Controversy" Yeah, sure had a lot to do with it.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

I know a lot of people are claiming to boycott this because once again the only female characters are plot devices, (I say claiming because they always buy it anyway otherwise they wouldn't still be making these games), but am I the only one who is not buying this because of the awful setting? I mean hell this concept was made for feudal japan and now they expect us to be FRENCH?!?!?!?!?! WHO WOULD WANT THAT!?!?!?!?!

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

Besides the Assassin's Creed series had plenty of female characters although only one playable protagonist.

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@raag009 I couldnt agree with you more. Theres tons of games without any kind of female characters even involved or having a strong pressence unlike AC where theres tons of important female chars. Hell theres even an AC game with an female protagonist, yet people still complain about it...oh well.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

@ArchoNils2 What do you mean by Damsel in distress? She's just as helpless as the other captive men who just got their heads guillotined.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@howiex89 I rather thing about where the "Making the female models would take too much resources and time" excuse went... Took them little time to make this, didn't it?

mihael88
mihael88

@AuronAXE they gonna sell their asses for money and if you didnt figured it out all this political correctness is exactly what kills all the fun and good stuff in games thats why games sux in late time they gonna focus on subliminal messages of correctness more than anything else.. they even get money from specific lodges for brainwashing children with modern and "correct" stuff lmao

crimsonhands95
crimsonhands95

@AuronAXE A strong female main character is a good thing. I do not see why Ubisoft would change their minds about that. Plus this scene might not even happen in the game. It might have been created for the soul purpose to introduce us to Elise. Maybe the trailer is trying to communicate to us is that they are allies who trust each other. For all we know, this could have been a set up made by Arno and Elise to get close enough to Arno's target. Elise could not have taken on all those guards by herself anyways. The same can be said about Arno.

crimsonhands95
crimsonhands95

@Yamakoichi The setting is anything, but awful. Many people seem to like it and I'm sure there are those who wanted to experience the French Revolution. Plus the setting seems to bring us back to the roots of the first two titles, which is a good thing. Also Arno is not entirely French. He is French-Austrian, a fact many seem to not pay attention to unfortunately.

superjak95
superjak95

@Yamakoichi Well the French Revolution was a interesting time. Plus who wouldn't want to meet that damn midget Napoleon, and see the French before they brought out the white flag every two seconds.

alexiaeppes
alexiaeppes

@JohnTheLyrical Thanks. I just wanted to confirm that I'm not taking sides here and that both sides do make good points.

JosephCain
JosephCain

@Acillatem1993 @raag009 One game... and a side game no less. In an age where games are writing around the ideal of gender neutrality, rather than writing the story based on the ideal that your character is a certain gender, it's become rather bland to believe that games like these still exist. Even if it is the story of a "certain character", they could just rewrite bits and pieces and change them out for the Female, while still preserving the narrative of the story itself.


Also, the reason why AC is being called out is because it's such a big name, and continues farting out games rather quickly. Women also want to be represented. There are PLENTY of girls playing these games, and would like a female protagonist to play as. Some don't care, they play it for the overall experience... but some would like to see women in the game, preferably NOT needed constant saving. It's not to say you haven't had to save plenty of men in the games either... but it'd be nice if the women did the saving too.


Would it honestly hurt your experience if women were playable? Would it? You're certainly acting like it. It certainly hurts some experiences not being able to, especially now the first female we see in the game is a damsel in distress. Hell, it could have worked, too. If Arno DOES end up with Elise, and Elise was an Assassin, why the hell isn't she playable? Wouldn't she be in Desmond's genetic code? It could have been such an epic set up... but they didn't tap into that, and left a huge, gaping hole in the story logic.

Then again, they may not hook up. She may end up getting axed at some point. Who knows? I'm just seeing potential wasted, and once again, women being sidelined to calling for help from a dashing young man... like pretty much every other game ever created, and the idea of breaking this trend somehow sends terrors into the men that play it.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

@gamefreak215jd @ArchoNils2 Well it is a pretty stupid video to show while calling her "independent" when she is totally dependent of the main character to save her

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@mihael88 @Bumblebee1138 Feminism has been around since forever, but what's up with all these rants on Assassin's Creed specifically? There are like A LOT of game series out there that are doing fine with only having playable male characters and I don't see any hate against them.

roganth
roganth

Yeah, if you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one.  Violent action games are primarily a young male fantasy.  You can change stuff to please the feminists but they will always complain, plus you will piss-off your core male audience who the game was targeted at in the first place.  I have no problem with female characters in a game, I'm just saying you shouldn't bend over backwards to please people who you aren't selling to. Hamburgers - now with 50 % less meat, to appease Vegans.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

@superjak95 @Yamakoichi actually Napoleon was bigger than the average human back then, the english guys just made an error when switching the measurement unit

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@JosephCain @Acillatem1993 @raag009 You are completely missing the point. Im not saying there shouldnt be no playable female characters, but why do people act as if Ubisoft is the only one doing it? I never played as a girl in many AAA games either and yet noone complains.

howiex89
howiex89

@Acillatem1993 @Warlord_Irochi @howiex89 if it was done between now and e3 then yeah warlord, but it wasnt and probably took as long as other charachters before e3.


it was a silly thing to saying in the midst of a media campaign targeting the brand unfairly 

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

@Bumblebee1138 @mihael88 That's what I am asking myself. After all, AC at least hat a female lead in the spinoff Liberation. There are series out there which did not do that at all

longestsprout
longestsprout

@Acillatem1993 @JosephCain @raag009 Because ubisoft's inept pr department makes them such great targets for the bent up frustration gamers have with the situation. Anybody trying to feed us the same lines of bull they did would have the exact same people all over them.

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@longestsprout @Acillatem1993 @JosephCain @raag009 Well they said that it would be too much work, but they corrected themselves quickly as the problem is not that it would be hard to include female characters to the co-op. The problem is that everyone plays as the same character in the co-op missions, only other players see them differently. So I dont see where the problem is?

longestsprout
longestsprout

@Acillatem1993 @longestsprout @JosephCain @raag009 Yeah sure, they probably did at that, but the cat was out the bag already. People looked at the franchise and saw something utterly dominated by generic white males. A few halfhearted attempts were made to diversify, which I don't think received much acknowledgment, deserving or not. Assassin's Creed is the perfect poster child for what they dislike, a franchise full of repetitive white male protagonists, lacking in diversity. Which they must have realised, reflects the current condition of most of the industry.

Acillatem1993
Acillatem1993

@longestsprout @Acillatem1993 @JosephCain @raag009 Wow...actually only 2 protagonists until now have been white males, one is from the middle east and the other is a native american. There is even a black woman. Not to mention they really did a good job with the cultural accuracy and the mohawk language. AC is actually one of the most diverse series in this aspect. Most other games just go with white males or if they choose other races they are usually stereotypical as all hell.

longestsprout
longestsprout

@Acillatem1993 @longestsprout @JosephCain @raag009 I mostly agree. Assassin's creed is currently probably the most advanced series when it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity, which is exactly the reason I feel the industry is in such a shitter right now. Altair might be middle eastern, but it certainly isn't easy to tell the difference. Connor might be a native american, but he is also half english. Haven't played AC3, so I couldn't comment more on that. But from what I heard it didn't do enough of a difference in the end.  But props for them for liberation however, personally I very much liked the idea behind the game. The problem came when the game wasn't given a proper budget, then put on the handhelds, and lacked any marketing. Plus, the execution itself was lacking. 


Sure AC is better than most, but that's not saying much in my opinion. It sure didn't save them from the criticism when it came down to it.

raag009
raag009

@Acillatem1993 @longestsprout @JosephCain @raag009 My God man...seriously..you are talking about race now...this discussion is getting nowhere i'm telling ya... C'mon people..not need to fight over this... This is a game for God's sake.. not a real world political or ethical problem.... Enjoy the game...instead of fighting over it.... I am guessing this is gonna continue until its released... <sigh>