E3 2014: Ubisoft Clarifies Assassin's Creed Unity's Lack of Playable Female Leads

The publisher addresses the controversy involving the lack of female playable characters.

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Over the last day, a controversy has emerged surrounding the lack of playable female characters in Assassin's Creed Unity and the developer's explanation that including such characters would have "doubled" its work. Following comments from a former Ubisoft developer refuting these claims, Ubisoft has published an official statement on the subject.

"We recognize the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative," Ubisoft said in a statement issued to GameSpot. "Assassin's Creed is developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs and we hope this attention to diversity is reflected in the settings of our games and our characters.

"Assassin's Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op Shared Experiences, you the gamer will always be playing as Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique.

"With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we've featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in Assassin's Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin's Creed Unity."

In an interview with VideoGamer, Ubisoft technical director James Therien explained that female characters were planned for Unity before they were cut due to the amount of work involved. He claimed "the team really wanted" them, but described the cut as "a reality of game development."

This explanation was met with a great deal of criticism, in part because a total of 10 studios are working on the game, so it seemed absurd to suggest female characters would be too much work. This was only made worse when Assassin's Creed III animation director Jonathan Cooper estimated it would take only "a day or two's work" to make happen. He also claimed that, at one point, an Assassin's Creed prototype allowed you to play as a female character just by entering a particular name.

Assassin's Creed Unity is scheduled for release on October 28 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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