Ubisoft Exec Didn’t Want Female-Led Assassin’s Creed for a Long Time, Says Report
A new report penned by Jason Schreier for Bloomberg follows up on the culture of sexism that was apparently rampant at Ubisoft among executives.
One specific example is that of the Assassin's Creed franchise, where the mantra was '(protagonist) women don't sell'. As early as 2015's Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the developers at Ubisoft Quebec wanted the game to have an even split between Jacob and Evie, the Frye siblings, as protagonists. However, the final game actually featured Jacob a lot more than Evie (which was the first female playable character of the series) in the gameplay sections.
The first story draft of Assassin's Creed Origins in 2017 seemingly had Bayek injured or outright killed early, with his wife Aya taking over the mission from him. Once again, the final version had Bayek as the main character with Aya relegated to a minor role.
Lastly, 2018's Assassin's Creed Odyssey was supposed to have only Kassandra as the playable character, but they were told that was not possible and the final game featured a choice between siblings Kassandra and Alexios.
Marie Jasmin, a former Ubisoft Montréal UI/UX designer now working at Bethesda, confirmed all this in the following tweet.
I was in the Montréal studio on AC 2 to 10 (origins) and Ubi execs said "women don't sell" EVERY SINGLE TIME.
I am in awe of the Ubi Québec staff who fought teeth and claws to get Evie, and later Kassandra, to even exist. Know that, before them, many battles were lost.
Interestingly, this year's new installment (titled Valhalla) will provide gamers with the ability to switch their character's gender at all times instead of having to make a fixed choice at the beginning of the game as in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Valhalla is set to release on November 17th for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Google Stadia.