Wednesday, 11 June 2014

On the Subject of Female Assassins

Sometimes I just wonder what people think when they blurt out something so profoundly stupid that it seems impossible to rationally defend their line of thinking. Ubisoft did something like that when they told us there is no female assassin in the latest iteration of Assassin's Creed because they lack the resources.


You lack resources?

Well, that certainly explains why every assassin through every age, time, and place is using the same combat style. You seem to be lacking the resources from the second game onward. How did you ever get to, what is this, fifth? Sixth game of the series? You lack the resources...

Of all the lame excuses you found the lamest of them all. It's not like you could have taken any female assassin model from the previous games and make it playable. What would that cost you? Making a new face? My God, Ubisoft is so tight on money, they cannot afford to make a female face texture. If there is such problem with money, you might want to rethink what you are doing, try something else.

Here is how you defend, why you do not have a female assassin Ubisoft. Pay close attention, I will say it only once. I will even allow you to copy this if you want, in order to avoid future embarrassment on this level. Here it goes:
There is no playable female assassins in our series because it would require of us to actually innovate and change something we did not change since the second game onward. We feel really good about our current combat system, and introducing a female assassin would only complicate things. Essentially we are lazy and try to keep the same formula for as long as it works. Female assassin would demand of us a different approach, an actual emphasis on stealth and deception beyond flinging coins in the air, and acting like a medieval version of commando. Also, we wanted to avoid the backlash of the community finding out that in the spirit of historical accuracy, female assassin would be physically weaker than the male counterpart and thus suffer a great disadvantage in direct combat.
Truth is that unlike soldiers, assassin can be anyone. Were you making a game called Knight's Code, I would probably agree with your decision, simply by the logic that women have no place on the battlefield, especially not in history. There were exceptions, but they were just that exceptions that proved the rule. Today is different of course. But assassin is a different thing. As you presented it, assassin can be anything from a spy to outright killer. A swashbuckler, thief, murderer, courtesan or bandit. You presented the idea that anyone can be an assassin, and that everyone can contribute in their own way.

Why is then of the four new protagonists, at least one not a female? Don't tell me it would break a game when the motto of the French revolution was Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death! (yes, the death part was later dropped out, though it is still reflected in the French National Anthem) I will agree that this was more of a fight for eradication of classes than the differences between genders, but you always presented your assassin's order as somewhat progressive, where anyone had a chance to prove themselves. It never payed any attention if the potential assassin was an indian, muslim, christian, man, woman, child, black, white, criminal, noble, peasant, or judge. They were all the same, fighting for the same cause.

Damn you Ubisoft, if you intend to make excuses, at least base them on a basis that will not fall apart at the first angry look it gets.

Franky, we are at a point where we should be able to create our own assassin and play that character through the game. It is after all a game within a game game. If you lack the resources, fortunately Abstergo does not.

Here is an idea of how to introduce the female character, just make the option of the Assassin being male or female. Then, if you still don't know how to incorporate in your story, say there was some strange data lost and Abstergo is not certain how to restore the memories, hence they hire one more researcher that is female in order to explore all options. Problem solved. The way game is played is should matter not if the protagonist is male or female, it is not like you care, or that it would influence the game in any shape or form. It is not like you are going to have to design 10 different bikini assassin outfits just because the assassin can now be a female.


  1. All the hero assassins have the same physical build and same model rigging. If you put in a female there while trying to use the same setup she will stand and move and fight exactly as her male counterpart, which might be weird if she is designed to be smaller or less muscular for some reason. Also it would probably be easiest to make her flat chested / as tomboy as possible because boob and butt jiggle are extra. Besides being super attractive is not ideal when you want to be stealthy.

    Add in if she behaves differently from the male assassins, like she has different moves or can't pick up big swords whatever. That's all cost cost cost. Then the enemies might need new animations to match whatever she can do to them.

    So yes, there is an extra resource cost that grows depending on the extent of variation. It's not just a pretty face. :P

    1. That would actually imply that Ubisoft changed something over the course of time. I could swear that the best AC game I played was AC2 Brotherhood. Since then every game is just worse than the one before.

      We could go forever with the list of things that are wrong with the series at this point. What I wanted to say is that they don't deserve to use the excuse that is lack of resources in the name of polish and perfect game, when they swim in half-assery of their own doing.
      If they could be lazy about the game for so long, then it is not like them to change their stance all of a sudden. It sounds weird, attacking them just because they could not put some effort in their game. I am angry because I they are hypocrites,

      In my opinion "lack of resources" is just a convenient excuse they used in order to try and mitigate the wrath of internet.

  2. Having literally just finished AC2 Brotherhood, that they would say this saddens me. When given the option to start recruiting assassins to join my order, I went and recruited nothing but women (every time I came across a guy being beat up, I just let them go). The animations seemed no different when they would swoop in and go to town on the bad guys. I loved it. The fighting style really wouldn't have to change. Just because women have been pegged as being weaker 1) doesn't mean they actually ARE weaker and 2) the fighting style is more about opportune hits than physical strength. And also, isn't that one of the points of being an assassin, being able to make yourself just look like one of the crowd? To not stand out?

    Overall, I agree. They could use a lot of the same animations, and I don't think anyone would be the wiser.

    The only caveat I would allow them, on this stance, is when it comes to the story, and the AC plots so far have very much centered around the assassin themselves. Changing the character completely changes the story. The lead protagonist is a huge part. If they want the story to be about a male assassin, then it's a guy. If they want it to be a female assassin, then it's a woman. The story becomes better when they add the touches that you simply can't do with both sexes (the scenes between Christina and Ezio come to mind)... but then that doesn't mean you still can't have other female assassins, or create a story that trades off characters, having multiple protagonists, etc. but then would they need to do that for every game thereafter? It's adding restrictions to art where there shouldn't be any.

    I'm fine with it, storywise, if we can't play as a female assassin, but choosing not to add them entirely (or even just as a PvP avatar) is just lazy and, as you say, completely goes against the theme of equality they've built up.


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