Why Aren't More of Ubisoft's Games "Packed to the Gills" with Women?

Women are often overlooked by Ubisoft, maybe because they fear that they will not reach a wide enough audience to sell their games. But is playing it safe stunting the potential of their most powerful titles?

The name Ubisoft can often leave a bad taste in many a gamer’s mouth due to certain policies and stances, such as their clunky PC game client Uplay which imposes strict DRM rules that prevented many gamers from even playing the Watch_Dogs single-player campaign once it was released. Others are opposed to how the publisher went about striking the videos of YouTubers such as “Alchestbreach” who found that Ubisoft did not want him playing Far Cry 3 and advertising it to his hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

While all of this may be true, one thing I believe they deserve credit for is their ability to create interesting, flawed and complex characters… most of the time anyway.

Some of Ubisoft’s star games contain awesome examples of enigmatic (and terrifying) characters

Characters like the delightfully insane Vaas from Far Cry 3 or the cool Jordy Chin from Watch_Dogs. This is something I hope they continue, but I am troubled by the fact that oftentimes women in their AAA game franchises are  under-utilized, or only used as plot devices until they are either killed off or betray the main character in some way in order to motivate him to complete his story.

Ubisoft has recently been hit with criticisms about their inclusion of female characters

This outcry from from the unstoppable army of 'the Internet,' lead to Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson saying that his game is “packed to the gills with women.” And just the other day Ubisoft treated us to a very beautiful cinematic trailer for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity and within this trailer we were introduced to the (presumably) Templar “Elise.” I can’t help but feel that her creation was a bit of an afterthought - that she may only exist as a love interest to Arno and that she will not be a fully fleshed out and interesting character.

Many of you will no doubt also know about the upcoming story-centric DLC for Watch Dogs focused on T-Bone who is the hairier, more homeless version of Aiden Pearce. When I first heard about this it didn't bother me... but I then played Watch Dogs and met Clara Lille.

Why, oh why can we not play as her?

I will avoid spoiling the game in any way but let me say that you will come to find out that that Clara has many layers to her and that she has done a lot of bad things in order to survive. Playing as this conflicted character tickles my gaming taste buds so much more than playing as T-Bone who simply wants revenge and to blow things up. Playing as Clara would also possibly fulfill the promise of E3 2011. Since Clara is not a physical threat, and presumably has no training in heavy weaponry like the one-man army Aiden Pearce, she would have to rely more on stealth and hacking and could only carry a pistol or a sub-machine gun.

However not all of Ubisoft’s games are testosterone fueled rampages

I have faith in Ubisoft. They can change, and I will wait patiently for their RPG based on the life of Aisha Tyler.

Some of their games feature women as the main protagonist, like Aveline in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation and Aurora in the beautiful Child of Light which I am currently playing on my PS Vita. Something to note here though is that these games appeal to a much smaller audience due to their platform or their alternative art style that would turn many gamers away.

Nevertheless I have faith in Ubisoft. They can change, and I will wait patiently for their RPG based on the life of Aisha Tyler.

What do you think? Does Ubisoft even need to change? Which characters would you like to play as in some of their flagship franchises?

Featured Contributor

From an early age I knew I was destined to not only play games in my parent's basement but to also write about them poorly. It is my sincere hope that one day I will achieve my dream and become "CEO of Games". I don't know if that position exists but it should. Please follow me on twitter @SicoShock for absolutely no reason as I am still learning how to use the "ol twitter machine".

Published Jul. 31st 2014

Cached - article_comments_article_15696