When I had thought about the title for this, I honestly thought that I should have called it: “How I might be able to get a lot of people to hate me in one post or less’. Well, here it is. The topic I have spend a good part of the month dissecting, debating and preparing for. Assassin’s Creed Unity and why a playable female assassin won’t work.
Ubisoft Sucks at Public Statements.
First and foremost, I want you to understand that I definitely think that Ubisoft is pulling excuses out their ass to pretend like they are being politically tolerant on the issue. There really is no need to be if you do one simple thing: JUST TELL THE FUCKING TRUTH. It isn’t. Making a playable female isn’t that hard to do. Dead or Alive does it and they made the horrible creation of ‘jiggle physics’ and if it was hard, Nintendo wouldn’t be sprinkling female characters in Smash Bros like they were going out of style. I’m certainly no game designer but I know that designing one doesn’t take millions of dollars. You might as well have just said “It’s because we’re a bunch of sexist twats.” because that wouldn’t have done any more damage than “It’s too hard.”
Why a Female Assassin Wouldn’t Work
But why wouldn’t a female assassin work? Because of how the approach to the game is going to work. I think a lot of people were under the impression that co-op in first person meant that you your fourth of the four person party was important to the plot. I think we’ve grown used to this in other games like the Left 4 Dead series and Portal 2. Both two great games where you see all the characters that participate in the gameplay and are also represented in the story. So I think that is where a lot of people were wanting this to go.
Even with the previous entries in the game where you have “Wolfpack” mode in multiplayer, I can see where people are coming from. You want to select your character so you can play as your character because it’s a representation of yourself. That work in multiplayer because there is no story to “Wolfpack”. You run, you kill, you run again, you kill. You run some more, you kill some more. But there is no cutscene besides the one where you see the player who got the most accolades or a random accolade.
In Assassin’s Creed: Unity, you play a character named “Arno” and it’s his story. It makes more sense in my eyes and is more cost efficient if the players constantly see themselves as Arno. You don’t have to write everyone in and have different stories. If you have a specific female assassin and it’s added into the story, you would have to create two more characters to accommodate for each player’s unique storyline. Time, money and effort. That’s what it would take and that means changing the story, the plot and the game when it’s nearly complete. It would simply cause the game to be delayed possibly till the summer. And let’s not even get into talks about proper spotlight equality between all four characters.
Females and the Assassin’s Creed Storyline
Something that I would like to note in the section ahead:
It’s no secret that history has not been good to women. Slavery, the right to vote, equal pay, etc. It’s not rocket science to figure that females have had it rough. But we can even apply this to Assassin’s Creed and it’s historical accuracy. It’s not hard to see that writing an ambiguous story line for a female and male version of Arno would be a hard task. In history, people act different depending if you are male or female. I could bet you that you couldn’t replace any of the male main characters in this series and say that people would react the same way.
Assassin’s Creed 3 and 4 are both perfect examples on how genders were handled different. In AC3, we have Connor Kenway and Aveline. We also have Connor’s father, Haythem, who underestimates Connor’s mom, Kaniehti:io, by speaking slowly and demeaning her. Hell, in that game alone, you have a character that refers to his female lover as a fussock. Literally a “fat, dumb person”. This is how characters handled other female characters.
In AC3: Liberation, the female lead Aveline must dress appropriate to fool other people. Either as a well kept lady, a slave or an assassin. Just to traverse town. Connor, in AC3, literally can just walk around and have no problem being in only his assassin’s uniform.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag also brings us Edward Kenway, James Kidd and Anne Bonny.
Now when I say James Kidd, he is actually the female on the right. In history, Mary Read was a pirate known for dressing up like males (James Kidd) and hiding it well that only Anne Bonny (on the left) and her husband really knew first off. James/Mary is a perfect example on why something like an androgynous Arno just wouldn’t work. Mary Read had to disguise herself as a man to convince and have people treat her like a man. Even Edward’s own shock at the revelation at James being Mary. “Your name’s not James, is it?” “Not most days.”
So in 1600s and 1700s, women really had to either prove themselves because they were treated as dumb or not capable. Or in the case of Aveline, protagonist of AC: Liberation, she had to disguise herself as a slave, a lady or an assassin. Or else she would stand out like a peach in a patch of apples.
So really, Ubisoft can’t make an androgynous Arno without making vast changes to the script that just wouldn’t stay historically accurate. Even feminists would be able to agree that women and men simply were not and still aren’t treated equally historically.
So how can female assassin’s work in AC:Unity?
Quite easily actually. If the story is the only thing that keeps players from being a female assassin, then you can just make a mode where it you can free roam without any story and just do missions. Or even Wolfpack missions. A simple fix. Something that could be DLC but shouldn’t.
So that’s why and how females shouldn’t, couldn’t, could and should be in Assassin’s Creed Unity.