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Female Assassins in Assassin’s Creed: Unity “Would Have Doubled the Work” (Update)

June 11, 2014 Written by Jason Dunning

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Update: Ubisoft responded to Kotaku (via GI.Biz) about the lack of female assassins in Assassin’s Creed: Unity:

We recognize the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative. 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.

Original Story: When Ubisoft confirmed that Assassin’s Creed: Unity would include 4-player co-op, the footage they showed of the game revealed that all four assassins were male.

To get their explanation on why a female assassin wouldn’t be playable in Unity, Polygon spoke with Creative Director Alex Amancio, who said that it was due to the “reality of production:”

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.

Although female assassins were originally planned for the game, Unity’s character customization options allow you to change the gear, but you’ll always view yourself as Arno, the game’s main character, in co-op. The other people you’re playing with, however, will be shown as different characters with different faces.

Amancio added:

Because of that, the common denominator was Arno. It’s not like we could cut our main character, so the only logical option, the only option we had, was to cut the female avatar.

Also talking to Polygon was Level Designer Bruno St. Andre, who said over 8,000 animations would have had to be recreated for a female assassin, adding, “We started, but we had to drop it. I cannot speak for the future of the brand, but it was dear to the production team, so you can expect that it will happen eventually in the brand.”

In another interview, VideoGamer spoke with Technical Director James Therien, who said a female assassin was on their features list, “but it’s a question of focus and production. So we wanted to make sure we had the best experience for the character. A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes… It would have doubled the work on those things.”

After saying how a female assassin was “something the team really wanted” and the lack of any is the “reality of game development,” he responded to the statement that they have the resources available to them to make this happen:

Again, it’s not a question of philosophy or choice in this case at all… it was a question of focus and a question of production. Yes, we have tons of resources, but we’re putting them into this game, and we have huge teams, nine studios working on this game and we need all of these people to make what we are doing here.

What do you think about Assassin’s Creed: Unity lacking female assassins?