In a satirical statement through the medium of Cosplay, a photograph was taken at the GaymerX2 conference that takes a good old stab at AAA title producing publishers, Ubisoft. All down to a statement made to Polygon by Alex Amanica, creative director at Ubi at E3 2014.
He claims that introducing female characters alongside the rest of the cast of Assassin’s Creed Unity would have been “A lot of extra production work”. As reasonable as this may seem, the gaming industry have been mixing and matching male and female characters side by side for generations, mostly in the genre’s of fighting and RPG games, so why not for the next iteration of the AC series?
According to Mr. Amanica, it would require double the work, where animating, rendering and voicing the fairer sex being the issues brought to the forefront. Also, the customisation of assassin’s gear would require more time from the art department.
On Twitter, Feminist Frequency, who cover articles dealing with the representation of females in popular media, posted the snap of two women dressed aptly in a mockery of Ubisoft’s statement. Both wearing black cardboard boxes with blatant reference to Assassin’s Creed and the slogans, “boobs?” and “2 hard 2 render” painted on the front, it smacks of the distaste shown by the lack of inclusion of both genders.
Ubisoft are not the only publisher who have been targeted for this sort of protest, as Capcom have had similar treatment regarding their failure to add women to its upcoming, multiplayer RPG, Deep Down. Basically, the same argument of production costs and doubled work were highlighted.
“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.” – Alex Amanica
Gaming has always had its ups and downs while tiptoeing around the subject of gender equality, the representation of females and their sexualisation in games and the sexuality of both male and female characters in our virtual worlds. The realism is that while publishers could easily give their developers more time to explore the possibilities of widening their spectrum when it comes to fairness, most AAA games are stuck in a yearly release rut and it’s more than likely a timing issue rather than a lack of tact.
While that looks like an excuse, it’s probably a realistic evaluation of the thoughts of publishers, eager to keep up with their fan-base. It would however have been welcome to see a varied cast to Assassin’s Creed Unity than a hooded sausage-fest, where the protagonists all look as if they’ve just walked out of a cloning center, wearing the same clothing.
Maybe this is what we should be seeing instead…