Five Reasons Why Ubisoft’s Statement About The Lack of Female Assassins in Unity Is Bogus

Ubisoft believes that a female assassin would take too much production time. Here's five reasons why they should make the time.

Ubisoft believes that a female assassin would take too much production time. Here's five reasons why they should make the time.

Earlier this week Assassin’s Creed Unity creative director Alex Amancio told Polygon that there would be no playable female assassins in the game, blaming the need for extra work.

“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets, especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.”

Unity’s level designer Bruno St. Andre echoed Amancio’s sentiments, estimating that “more than 8,000 animations would have had to be recreated on a different skeleton.”

Usually one wouldn’t glance twice at a statement like that. Not including a female character isn’t exactly new nor is it unheard of to cut things due to development constraints. In the case of Assassin’s Creed Unity, however, excluding female assassins is a bigger issue. Here’s five reasons why women should be included among the assassin’s ranks.

1. Women played a prominent role in the French Revolution.

One of the key moments of the French Revolution was the The March on Versailles, a march that was started by women angered by the inflated price of bread. The march would end with the king forced out of Versailles back to Paris at the enthused behest of the now violent protesters.

Other women such as anti-Jacobin Club writer Olympe de Gouges could easily make in appearance in Unity, especially since a gameplay trailer from the Ubisoft E3 conference shows that at least part of the game takes place during the Reign of Terror. There were even female assassins during the French Revolution. In fact….

2. The most famous assassin of the French Revolution was a woman.

Jean-Paul Marat was a well-known figure of the Revolution and writer of the paper L’Ami du peuple (“The Friend of the People”) who supported the Jacobin Club’s rise to power. Unfortunately, he was also a leading figure in the Reign of Terror and played a key role in the September Massacres. He’s exactly the kind of guy you’d see as a late-game target in an Assassin’s Creed game.

Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing Arno take him down if Ubisoft wants to preserve historical accuracy.

On July 13, 1793, Marat was stabbed to death in his bathtub by Girondin sympathizer Charlotte Corday. She would be quoted to saying “I have killed one man to save a thousand” at her trial before being put to death by guillotine on July 17th. That kind of attitude and her actions would have made her a perfect fit to be an assassin in Unity, or at least have an assassin heavily based on her. Unfortunately, we can’t see that since Ubisoft doesn’t have the time to create a female assassin model. Well, maybe it wouldn’t take that much time since….

3. Ubisoft’s estimate for resources needed to make female assassins is heavily exaggerated.

Ubisoft’s claims about needing to do things like create “8,000 new frames of animation” for a playable female assassin are being debunked by industry professionals. The most damning of these are from Assassin’s Creed III‘s Animation Director Jonathan Cooper, who claims that making a female assassin would only take “A day or two’s work” by simply changing a handful of key animations.

It’s hard to disagree with Cooper, especially since Ubisoft’s claim of needing “double the animations” implies needing a brand new set of animations just for women. Could you tell the animation difference between a man and a woman pulling themselves up to a rooftop? What about crouching on a ledge? So many animations in Assassin’s Creed are already so androgynous that you could copy and paste most of them and have fans be none the wiser.

It’s not even like the Assassin’s Creed series doesn’t have any women to base things off either, since….

4. Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag has playable female assassins.

Four of them, to be precise. The Firebrand, Lady Black, Puppeteer, and Rebel character options in Black Flag’s multiplayer all use female models. This is literally the last Assassin’s Creed game Ubisoft made and it even appeared on next-gen systems, so what is so different from those models and the models used in Unity (especially since both games run under the AnvilNext engine)? I’m not a 3D modeler, but why can’t the models be carried over or at least their skeletal structure? Why could it possibly take double the assets to make something you’ve already created before?

It is true that additional assets would be needed, like added voice acting and a few extra visual things, but double? Not very likely. Even if it did, it’s shocking the Assassin’s Creed team wouldn’t push harder for it since….

5. Diversity is a pillar of the Assassin’s Creed series.

You see it at the beginning of every Assassin’s Creed title. “Assassin’s Creed is developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs.” It seems like a statement to protect themselves from any cultural backlash, but it’s really reflected the incredible diversity seen between game to game. From Altaïr to Ezio to Connor, we’ve jumped between cultures in nearly every game with great attention to detail. They even had Native American voice actor Noah Watts play Connor in Assassin’s Creed 3

With that level of respect for diversity, why would creating a female assassin suddenly become too much work in a setting where it would make perfect sense?

That said, let’s not lose our heads about the issue.

I’m not looking to villianize Ubisoft with this list. I think they’re a great company who does fantastic work. I’m also not looking for them to replace Arno with a female protagonist.

With that level of respect for diversity, why would creating a female assassin suddenly become too much work in a setting where it would make perfect sense?

All I want is to see them try harder than hiding behind weak excuses and help show an important piece of French history from the perspective of someone who would be directly affected by it. Maybe they could create a DLC pack down the line with a female French assassin. Maybe they could even make an entire spinoff title based on the concept.

In any case, I have faith in Ubisoft. Here’s hoping an announcement for Assassin’s Creed: March on Versailles isn’t too far away.

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