Reasons Why It’s Too Hard to Include Playable Female Characters In Games

There have been some really great takes on just why Ubisoft’s proclamation that it was just a “reality of game development” that their newest title in the Assassin’s Creed series wouldn’t include playable female characters, many of which I covered in Friday’s link roundup.

However, some conversations on Google+ inspired me to do some silly drawings of some only-slightly-less-ludicrous reasons why it’s just too hard for studios to include playable female characters. A picture is worth 1000 words and all that:

It was nice to get a chance to return to my roots, as it were, by doing something silly for once (not to mention taking a bit of a break from Princess Charming); a lot of my posts recently have been rather serious, but sometimes it’s nice to just be silly.

Still, I think it’s worth using this post to make a serious point. Given that Ubisoft has already had female assassins in the series, including Aveline, a title character in her own AC game, it stretches my credulity beyond the breaking point for me to believe that it’s honestly that hard for Ubisoft to include a playable female assassin.

There are existing development assets already, including Aveline’s model and all of the motion-capture done for her animations. Would it really have been so hard to do some color-swapping of Aveline’s model and port her into the game? It certainly wouldn’t have been anything budget-breaking, given that this is a AAA title with a AAA budget. Frankly, female moon pixels and fire-breathing dragons are about as easy to believe.

Ubisoft would have done a lot better to own up to the truth: either they didn’t want to make a playable female character, or they just didn’t think of doing it. Instead, this gutless prevaricating has cost them a lot of goodwill. I’ve seen many long-time fans of the series who had appreciated the diversity of the series and its’ development team saying that they’re not going to put any more money into purchasing future AC games.

All in all, it would be hard to imagine a more bone-headed marketing ploy for a game that needs a large audience to recoup its astronomical development budget.


Self-Promotion Sidebar:

Do you link this post? Do you wish you could buy a print of these cartoons? Good news – you can! And honestly, who wouldn’t want to hang such beautiful satire on their walls? (Don’t answer that.)

 

Friday Freebie: the Ubisoft is full of shit edition

Well, this week is E3, that hallmark of entitlement and sexist bullshit, where the same old shit is paraded by industry insiders as “what to look forward to” in the next year of gaming.

In such an environment, it really takes some effort to distinguish yourself for bullshit sexism. Yet Ubisoft went the extra mile and claimed that the reason there were going to be no playable female assassins in their upcoming Assassin’s Creed title is because it would double the development cost and it was “a reality of game development”.

Uh huh. Because, as someone on my G+ pointed out, you can animate each individual feather on an eagle’s wing, but women? That shit is just too hard.

As you can expect, people have been having a field day with this. So I thought that I would devote an entire links post to the excellent responses that people have made to Ubisoft’s nonsensical assertion that they can’t include playable women because it’s just toooo haaaaaard.

This is one of the first takedowns I saw and does an excellent takedown of the problems with Ubisoft’s logic.

Is ‘we don’t have the resources’ an OK excuse for keeping female heroes out of games?

A stunning showcase of innovative character design: 40 male protagonists at E3 2014

There were more severed heads than women presenters at E3 2014 #yearofthebeheading

An NPR interview with Leigh Alexander and Aisha Taylor on E3 boy’s club nonsense

BioWare’s David Gaider on his personal tumblr, on why game companies need to do better

Over on tumblr, a great comic dramatizing the difficulty of animating female characters

Other game devs calling Ubisoft on their bullshit

Lastly, some super on-point tweets that pretty well summarize how I feel

This game IS NOT bullshit. It is awesome and you should fund it the end.