Home Gaming Fight for freedom and equality in Unity…unless you’re female

Fight for freedom and equality in Unity…unless you’re female

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ACBros

Sexism in videogames in an unfortunate reality. Player character Women in games aren’t well represented. Barring a few notable exceptions Invariably, they’re either damsels in distress or bad ass ass-kickers who favour wearing skimpy, revealing clothing. Or in the case of Assassin’s Creed Unity, wholly absent. The game allows you to team up with buddies and slay people as an avatar of your choosing…provided that character doesn’t have ovaries.

I’m not one to jump ion the usual feminism bandwagon. Often times I find it to be a situation of people trying to find problems in everything. Game creators should be allowed to make the games they want to make, with the characters they want in them – but when you include a m entire selection of avatars, that changes.

And it’s even worse when the excuse for not including women is frankly, pathetic. According to Ubisoft, including women player characters would have been too much work.

“It was on our feature list until not too long ago, 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,” technical director James Therien told Videogamer.

“And I mean it’s something the team really wanted, but we had to make a decision. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality of game development.”

I’m not going to bang the drum too much here, as I’m generally of the mindset that I don’t care what race, gender or creed I play as in a game, as long as it’s good. That said, it’s the excuse of it being too much work to include female avatars that gets my goat; Ubisoft has 9 teams working on the game. I’m sure they could have some of them work on creating a few female avatars.

On the other hand, the co-in this game has each character seeing things from the eyes of the main protagonist, and having them appear as females might be a disconnect so maybe it’s all just a storm in a teacup.  What do you think? Is this blatant sexism, or just another reason for people to complain?

Last Updated: June 11, 2014

91 Comments

  1. Rags

    June 11, 2014 at 10:34

    Game developers should develop what they want. Artist should make what they want. Writers should write what they want. The end.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 11, 2014 at 10:46

      Just gimme a good story, I don’t give a tiny rat’s ass about the gender of the person I’m jamming as

      Reply

      • CodeName Tailgunner

        June 11, 2014 at 10:50

        Jamming ass?

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

          June 11, 2014 at 10:51

          Being a Tailgunner I can see you thinking of ass

          Reply

          • CodeName Tailgunner

            June 11, 2014 at 10:55

            Any ass, ass long ass it is not a tiny rat’s ass. lol

    • Hammersteyn

      June 11, 2014 at 10:53

      Agreed.

      Reply

    • derp

      June 11, 2014 at 11:46

      Then you get games that never get released, such as HL3

      Reply

  2. eXpZA

    June 11, 2014 at 10:40

    “A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation”

    Is that not a valid excuse? Having watched a few “making of”s in games, the MoCap sections appear to take a lifetime. If you watch The Last of Us’s making of, they state MoCap was a substantial portion of the budget. I’m sure for games like FIFA, which is more like Assassins Creed than TLoU (typical motions of persons), there is an insane amount of data to capture.

    Women move differently to men, in general, so different MoCap would be needed. Am I wrong?

    I think this is a bit too Tariq. This isn’t “Women drool men rule!”, there’s a valid claim to this – much like stating “we didn’t add 4WD Drive cars to our game because they handle differently, and it’s too much work. We’ve only added Front-Wheel Drive cars.”

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      June 11, 2014 at 10:42

      I’m not too sure; There are female NPC’s in the game, and we’ve had a female protag in AC before, so half the necessary mocap is essentially done. Yes, it would require some mocap, but it’s not like a) they don’t have the budget and b) don’t have the resources. I’m genuinely conflicted.

      Reply

      • eXpZA

        June 11, 2014 at 10:47

        A NPC walking around is very different to a full on character. For every cutscene captured, a Female Mocap cutscene would be needed as well – essentially doubling the work. Considering there are up to 4 players per cutscene, and any ‘player’ could toggle between man and woman, there would be 8 MoCap ‘items’ per scene (instead of 4) – that sounds expensive to me.

        Reply

        • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          June 11, 2014 at 10:50

          Yes.. but on the other hand, have you seen the quality of assets in AC: Unity? I’m sure Ubi can afford both the time and resources. It’s just such a giant back and forth.

          Reply

          • eXpZA

            June 11, 2014 at 10:52

            *shrug* take budget away from those assets and put them towards female characters, maybe those assets don’t look as good any more.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 11, 2014 at 10:55

            And we want female characters with good-looking assets #AMIRITE! 😀

          • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

            June 11, 2014 at 10:56

            If it fits the narrative, and all of the co-op players are meant to each somehow be the main protag..then I really do think this is loud noise for nothing.

          • HvR - THE Average GAmer

            June 11, 2014 at 10:56

            Isn’t a question if Ubisoft can afford it or not. Projects have strict budgets and timelines. Everything you do costs money and time.

      • MichaelMatusowsky

        June 11, 2014 at 11:16

        They have both a and b. What they don’t have is c) time. Because they’ve annualised the fucking “trilogy”.

        Reply

    • Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

      June 11, 2014 at 10:44

      “too Tariq” – I fucking lolled XD

      Reply

    • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

      June 11, 2014 at 10:46

      Well, I mean, they made Aveline so….I don’t know. Seems lazy to me that’s all. You would think these things get done while the development is on it’s way…How much extra work could it have been also if it was too much work to reanimate females, why not an all female cast? I don’t like feminist issues, but this just seems lazy, Tomodachi type laziness

      Reply

      • Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

        June 11, 2014 at 10:48

        Aveline yes. Unity is build from the ground up using a brand new engine.

        Reply

      • Rinceinantici

        June 11, 2014 at 10:50

        Don’t remind me…

        Reply

      • eXpZA

        June 11, 2014 at 10:51

        yeah but… at what point do we stop saying devs are lazy. “They only added one ship to Black Flag. They should’ve added submarines and rowboats and canoes and and and and and and”

        Reply

        • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

          June 11, 2014 at 10:55

          Yeah well ships don’t play games, humans do. Females do. I don’t have any stance on the whole feminist issues that goes around. I believe that you enjoy the game for what it is. But when you throw in an avatar creation…with NO female option…then yeah….Ya alienating a portion of the fanbase. Especially when your excuse is it was too much work

          Reply

          • eXpZA

            June 11, 2014 at 10:59

            You make a very good point. Never thought about it like that. As a Man, I suppose it doesn’t matter to me because I’ve never really had the feeling of being “left out”.

            On the other hand, I feel like it’s just a game. I didn’t get miff when I couldn’t play as a human in “destroy all humans”.

          • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

            June 11, 2014 at 11:05

            Yeah no, I feel ya, but the thing is if, it’s very weird if I have to put it that way to have any form of character creation where you create humans(lol not Destroy all humans) and you can’t create a female. I’m not calling them out as sexist though, I don’t believe Ubi is that at all

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 11, 2014 at 10:53

      If this wasn’t a massive big budget AAA franchise I’d agree with you. If (redacted PC game name) can do it, see no reason why they can’t.

      Reply

    • Tauriq Moosa

      June 11, 2014 at 12:43

      >> “I think this is a bit too Tariq”

      Who’s “Tariq”? And what does “too Tariq” mean? And why am I laughing?

      Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 11, 2014 at 10:43

    This is one of the few times that it does seem like a pretty strange omission, and the excuse is one we hear all the time.

    Reply

  4. The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

    June 11, 2014 at 10:48

    Also I must be the only one in the world that thinks this game looked meh….Step back from Black Flag

    Reply

    • Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

      June 11, 2014 at 10:50

      Definitely the only one. Unity looks nothing short of GOD TIER

      Reply

      • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

        June 11, 2014 at 10:58

        God tier? It looked uninspired, I’m sorry 🙁 I know you’re a huge fan, not trying to step all over your fav game though, but….the setting and even gameplay looks like it’s going backwards. BF has amazing islands, naval battles, things that no other AC game had and did that well. Unity looks like AC 2 HD

        Reply

        • Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

          June 11, 2014 at 11:14

          Spoken like a true Templar.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

            June 11, 2014 at 11:17

            LOOOOOOOOOOOL

          • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

            June 11, 2014 at 11:22

            I stab you in the neck heathen! I won’t even look back

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      June 11, 2014 at 10:50

      I think it looks amazing. Those crowds, my god man.

      Reply

      • The Fires of Suzaku Burns!!

        June 11, 2014 at 11:01

        Yeah, but….I mean, we’ve seen crowds, given, not that amazing looking though, but we’ve seen it. BF felt fresh and new, a world that’s intriguing and begging to be explored. I (Personally) feel like it’s a world I’ve already seen

        Reply

  5. Hammersteyn

    June 11, 2014 at 10:52

    Because a women would only ever use a knife in the kitchen…………..to make sandwiches?

    Reply

    • Jonah Cash

      June 11, 2014 at 10:56

      This…………….

      Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 11, 2014 at 10:56

      Think of all the money they save by not having to model shoes!

      Reply

  6. HvR - THE Average GAmer

    June 11, 2014 at 10:53

    Given the choice between an option to play a female character and 5 to 10 extra hours of game content which will you choose as a gamer?

    Reply

    • Dutch Matrix

      June 11, 2014 at 11:02

      Mass Effect.

      Reply

      • HvR - THE Average GAmer

        June 11, 2014 at 11:10

        Mass Effect is that type of game, lots of paths, everything makes a difference etc etc.
        But it has longer dev cycle and higher budget.

        BUT

        AC is the annual money maker, will have a strict budget to make it viable. So it is definitely a question of adding something here means taking away something at another place. To satisfy everybody you to have a character from every ethnicity, sexual orientation being able to have a relationship with everybody and his dog in the game etc. And with the typical annual release budget you will end up with a 4 hour CoD campaign or no game at all.

        Reply

    • Rags

      June 11, 2014 at 11:02

      Depends on the quality of her buttocks. 😛

      Reply

      • HvR - THE Average GAmer

        June 11, 2014 at 11:03

        LOL, your and Dutch Matrix comments were perfectly timed.

        Reply

        • Rags

          June 11, 2014 at 11:32

          Hehe, he used fewer words to say the same thing. 😛
          But seriously I don’t think ME is too good an example, female characters where always planned from the start and its just different dialog mostly.

          Reply

      • derp

        June 11, 2014 at 11:42

        Well that is the *real* reason most guy want female characters :3

        Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 11, 2014 at 11:03

      Seeing as they never presented that as the choice they had to make, I’ll take both 🙂

      Reply

      • HvR - THE Average GAmer

        June 11, 2014 at 11:25

        Yes it was: “not too long ago, but it’s a question of focus and production”

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          June 11, 2014 at 11:29

          You may want to go read his quote again. No mention was made of the choice being to cut content otherwise.

          Reply

          • HvR - THE Average GAmer

            June 11, 2014 at 11:32

            No it is implied. They get x hours for the game.
            Doing a takes y hours
            Doing b takes z hours

            If y + z > x something needs to go.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 11, 2014 at 11:38

            No it wasn’t implied. He specifically said it would have doubled the time it would take to do animation & costumes, which is why they chose not to do it. Cutting content is your addition to his point.

          • Rinceinantici

            June 11, 2014 at 11:39

            Now now girls. Kiss and make up *readies camera…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 11, 2014 at 11:42

            lol – but if we have to dress up as girls we’d have to undergo wardrobe & make-up 😀

          • Rinceinantici

            June 11, 2014 at 11:43

            SNAP! *That was the camera.

          • HvR - THE Average GAmer

            June 11, 2014 at 11:46

            I do not think you know how development works. At the beginning a project gets a budget. That budget is translated into development hours, so for the project you have x hours. More content = more time = more money needed

  7. MakeItLegal

    June 11, 2014 at 10:54

    Oh well … Another reason to complain for me , at the end of the day it’s a bunch of polygons …

    Honestly

    Reply

  8. Alex Hicks

    June 11, 2014 at 10:58

    I’m not sure the excuse is valid. A completely different reason, which would make a lot more sense, would be the time period involved.

    Admittedly, I’ve only seen a small amount of gameplay; but that showcased running about in the streets of Paris doing various outrageously energetic acts while completely ignoring any and all thuggery going on around me.

    I’m not sure that would work as a female protagonist in the revolutionary era. My history is fairly rusty, but although a great number of feminist movements arouse during and out of the revolution it wasn’t till the second republic that women began to get more than the “mother and spouse only” role. Although a fair amount of popular imagery shows women at the forefront – so not sure.

    Basically, the excuse may be valid from a time perspective but it sounds like a bad reason to exclude a female protagonist – however, in terms of the game, I’m not sure a female protagonist would have been valid.

    Reply

  9. Brenz

    June 11, 2014 at 11:00

    Really, more sexism in gaming nonsense.
    The world is not equal, the world is not fair, get over it.

    Reply

    • Rinceinantici

      June 11, 2014 at 11:06

      But I bring the FAIR!

      Reply

      • Brenz

        June 11, 2014 at 11:07

        You cant! There is none to bring!

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        June 11, 2014 at 11:20

        That you do Eliza.

        Reply

        • Rinceinantici

          June 11, 2014 at 11:28

          It’s good to be right all the time.

          Reply

  10. Dutch Matrix

    June 11, 2014 at 11:03

    I have two words for you: Mass Effect.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 11, 2014 at 11:04

      DAT LIARA!!!

      Reply

      • Brenz

        June 11, 2014 at 11:04

        I nailed that….

        Reply

  11. Rinceinantici

    June 11, 2014 at 11:07

    Unity: But only between sausages…

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 11, 2014 at 11:07

      O_O

      Reply

      • Rinceinantici

        June 11, 2014 at 11:13

        Unity: Bending over backwards for equality?

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          June 11, 2014 at 11:15

          I don’t think that’s what’s being bent over here.

          Reply

          • Rinceinantici

            June 11, 2014 at 11:16

            Unity: Not over there, over here?

  12. Dutch Matrix

    June 11, 2014 at 11:09

    Sigh… I am dealing with a bunch of oversexed children again today…
    What I meant to say was with my Mass Effect comments: ME showed me that there is NO reason to not have a female character/avatar in a game these days. In fact, Femshep got so popular they included her in the special edition tin case ME3 artwork.
    The “We had no time…” thing smacks of bullshit and lazy planning…

    Reply

    • Brenz

      June 11, 2014 at 11:10

      Your real point is rather boring in comparison,

      Reply

      • Dutch Matrix

        June 11, 2014 at 11:15

        Your comment is about as exciting as watching paint dry… 😛

        Reply

        • Brenz

          June 11, 2014 at 11:16

          I tried to add more but I keep getting distracted by this naked picture of Liara I keep on my desk.

          Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          June 11, 2014 at 11:17

          You could google Mass Effect & body painting 😉

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

            June 11, 2014 at 11:18

            Well there goes my productivity for the day, gee, thanks Trev

          • Brenz

            June 11, 2014 at 11:18

            Ill watch that paint dry all day…

  13. MichaelMatusowsky

    June 11, 2014 at 11:14

    Just another reason for people to complain.

    Reply

  14. Kensei Seraph

    June 11, 2014 at 11:22

    DLC.

    Reply

  15. CypherGate

    June 11, 2014 at 11:33

    Its there game. They can make it however they want.

    Reply

    • derp

      June 11, 2014 at 11:36

      *their

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

        June 11, 2014 at 11:40

        There their they’re, it will be ok

        Reply

      • CypherGate

        June 11, 2014 at 12:01

        LOL thanks for the correction. I always damn make that stupid mistake.

        Reply

  16. Sageville

    June 11, 2014 at 12:37

    Reading these comments its seems most feel the urge to defend Ubisoft;s male focus.That makes me sadface.

    Oh well, guess the ladies can play kitchen simulator….

    Reply

    • CypherGate

      June 11, 2014 at 12:55

      Not defending, but it is their choice though even though for a woman it would be a turnoff because that option isn’t there. Their excuse for not putting it in is pathetic I must admit. Its a skin basically and that shouldn’t take a load of time. Only thing that i see that will take a load of time is all female clothing, weapons and accessories.

      Reply

  17. Tom Krager

    June 11, 2014 at 13:30

    Well if ppl don’t like the excuse why ask? I mean shit .. . a female protagonist isn’t in the game big deal . . . why does there always need to be a male AND female protagonist? Sense when have women historically been of the military class? I love games with good story. I literally couldnt care less about the gender or race of the characters involved. If you do care, I think it shows your own bias personally. The last Tomb Raider game was one of my favorite modern games btw.

    Reply

  18. LyannaStark

    June 11, 2014 at 14:33

    Yeah i totally agree with you.
    More over that it’s an excuse so stupid that one!
    If it where true also in ME you couldn’t make a female Shepard…
    Ubisoft is so lame.

    Reply

  19. CAE9872

    June 12, 2014 at 08:43

    In the context of this particular game it is very odd. If you create a specific story and choose to go male/female then fine. But in something that asks for co-op then don’t see the problem in creating the content? Surely it cannot take that long to create female character and extend from there – like a male ones?

    Reply

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