Sources: You Can Play As A Woman In Assassin's Creed: Syndicate

Sources: You Can Play As A Woman In Assassin's Creed: Syndicate

Almost a year after publisher Ubisoft made headlines for not including female protagonists in Assassin's Creed Unity, today we've got news that there will be a playable woman assassin in the next entry of Ubisoft's mega-series, according to two people familiar with the game.

This fall's Assassin's Creed, which will be officially announced tomorrow as Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, will give players access to two main characters: Jacob and Evie (pictured above in concept art leaked to Kotaku). They're brother and sister, said a source, and they will be heavily involved in the criminal underworld of Victorian London, where the game is set. (We hear it will be out this fall for PS4, Xbox One and PC.)

There have been playable female heroes in Assassin's Creed games before, most prominently in 2012's Assassin's Creed: Liberation, which starred an assassin named Aveline and was reissued for consoles last year. Still, Ubisoft ran into backlash last year during E3 after Assassin's Creed Unity creative director Alex Amancio said in an interview that the dev team cut female assassins from that game's co-op because they'd require "double the animations". Amancio's comments were mocked by those who felt that the couple hundred or so developers working on the average Assassin's Creed game could surely have managed. A subsequent statement from Ubisoft noted that "we recognise the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative," and pointed to the diversity -- in terms of gender and ethnicity -- of past Creed protagonists.

Shortly after Amancio's remarks at E3, Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson said that his team was close to adding a female hero but "[didn't] have a female reading for the character" or "all the animations" in place. He described the omission as frustrating and predicted that such options would be easier to implement in the future.

These soundbites, extrapolated and turned into headlines that didn't always do justice to the complexity of the issue, led game developers and critics to speak out against Ubisoft on Twitter using the hashtag "#womenaretoohardtoanimate". So it wouldn't be shocking to see Ubisoft play up Evie's role as they start marketing Syndicate tomorrow and at E3 in June.

From what I've heard, Jacob will still likely qualify as the game's main character. The balance in story missions may favour the brother about 75% to 25%, according to a person familiar with Syndicate, who spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk publicly about the game. Syndicate will not have any multiplayer modes, according to that source, but you'll be able to swap between Jacob and Evie while exploring the world between missions.

Ubisoft did not respond to a request for comment this morning.

Whatever workload issues were affecting Unity don't seem to be slowing down the Assassin's Creed series; Ubisoft seems committed to releasing at least a handful of Assassin's Creeds, big and small, every single year, and in fact, there are already three others planned for 2015: last month's Assassin's Creed: Chronicles: China and two upcoming sequels, set in India and Russia (the China game stars the female assassin Shao Jun). Last year's main entry, Unity, was a mess in many ways, although the last-gen Rogue was lauded by critics. We're all hoping this one will be more like the latter.


Comments

    I'm glad it's become easier to animate women. Must have been a hell of a hurdle.

    (On a less snarky side, her outfits are 10/10 good).

      Not sure if you even read the article... Difficulty wasn't the issue. ACU wasn't even a polished product with their male lead, adding another female character (voice acting, animating, bug fixing, designing, rendering, modeling...) got tossed aside more because of time frame. Or Ubisoft hates women, whatever angle you prefer to take.

        Pretty sure jane was being sarcastic.

    Another assassins creed game? This is becoming worse than COD.

      Yeah, hasn't there been 2 THIS year so far?

        Yeah it's definitely a franchise that Ubi's beating to death - I much prefer games have breaks and don't spam out a bunch of games so similar you feel like you have played them all after playing one.

        That said - I'm also not a fan of "oh hey look they finally made a girl playable" - I would prefer the media leave them be and just accept both male and female characters for who they are - not something as trivial as - this game is bad because it only let me play as 'X' and not 'Y'...

        I like my characters when they are interesting, have a well written backstory that you can believe and share emotion with - it doesn't matter what they have downstairs - doesn't even have to be human for that matter.

      It is getting a tad ridiculous at this point. They're honestly coming out faster than I can even find the time to play them.

      These days I just buy them when they're discounted on steam, because I doubt I'm going to catch up at the rate they release them.

      The china one was a shitty mobile one More or less.

      Im stunned though. Good look for a victorian era femme assassin.

    The game has to actually run for you to play as a women, or man.

    Victorian era London you says? I might actually be interested in an assassins creed game for the first time since 2!

    An indictment on society/the industry that this is actually considered news.

    Last edited 12/05/15 8:59 am

      Yeah. Equality is one of those weird things where you can only achieve it if you celebrate one side and condemn the other. Of course eventually there's a balance point where you achieve equality and it means everyone stops caring so I guess it kinda makes sense if you look at it from the perspective of condemnation and celebration cancelling each other out.

    I'm glad they are dropping the multiplayer. AC has been a great single player game, but when the mulitplayer was added it seem to be at the detriment of the single player campaign

    Hang on, why was everyone upset about the "no female protagonist" thing? If you change your protagonist, the story likely won't make as much sense, right? Plus, nine-out-of-ten games these days don't have female playable characters anyway. I'm all for equality and whatnot, but I don't see the big deal...

      So your argument is it's always been a certain way so there's no need to change?

        No it is just ridiculous how everyone is making such a big deal and want to hang and burn every developer to the stake for not having a "female protagonist".

        Male or female let the developers decide what protagonist gender they want. I am all for equality but these days people are expecting every game to require a "strong" female protagonist who doesn't require a companion, let alone a man to help them.

        If the feminist/feminazi's want to cry then go create you're own man bashing games and stop playing the victim card.

        Last edited 12/05/15 11:20 am

          I actually said nothing about the game in question; I for one support story integrity over gender equality in an art form. However vale's argument for why this is wrong is inherently flawed. Just because something has always been doesn't it always has to be. If this was the case we'd still have black slaves and the klu klux klan. Evolution and societal improvement happen because people decide something that has always been needs to change.

          To be fair with AC I honestly could not give a crap if the main character was male or female because at the end of the day the story since the end of the original arc has been weak as piss and changing the gender would have had little to no impact on making it any better/worse.

          And with gender equality for the gaming industry on a whole; it is dismal and it's been this way because to start with the audience was inherently white & male however the times are a changing and the industry is changing accordingly as well. People who look to force this change and those who stand against it are both inherently moronic because change will happen at its own pace as and when its needed not wanted.

          And finally I realize the irony in trying to argue rationality with people who've decided to cry havok over me typing a single sentence. Please take your white knight social justice warrior syndrome elsewhere and make it someone else's problem.

          The feminists DID try to create their own games, ones that appealed to them; Depression Quest, Gone Home, etc. They were attacked by people for "not being real games" and "pushing a feminist agenda".

          Did your other account get banned for too much MRA trolling? Hint - change the icon.

        Well, it was already set in stone, wasn't it? Ubisoft said "here's our protag, he's not female" and everyone cried foul. It's the same with The Legend of Zelda; everyone seems to have this weird mentality that Link has to be a girl in the next game. And I just don't understand it. The game's protagonist will be whatever damn gender the devs want them to be so that it best fits the story and structure of the game.

        Besides, there's definitely no shortage of female protagonists. Tomb Raider, Mass Effect, Velocity 2X, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Super Metroid, Alien: Isolation, Child of Light, Final Fantasy XIII, Kameo: Elements of Power... There's some off the top of my head. Not to mention all those games like Pokemon that have both genders.

        So, no. It doesn't need to change all that much.

        Last edited 12/05/15 11:40 am

          It wasn't really the fact it was a male protagonist; it was the piss-weak excuse of "women are too hard to animate" when asked about a possible female protagonist. Personally, I'm all for a bit of diversity, because while I can't speak for anyone else, I am definitely sick to death of playing as a never ending stream of identical, generic white adult males with short brown hair. Especially when I already am one myself.

          What you think happens
          The game's protagonist will be whatever damn gender the devs want them to be so that it best fits the story and structure of the game.
          What actually happens
          The game's protagonist will be whatever damn gender the publisher thinks will sell the most copies.

          Additionally you're implying that 90% of the time a female protagonist is the wrong choice. I find that concerning coming from someone who is supposedly "for equality".

            Sigh. This is why I don't internet. Well, I'm just gonna go play a video game and enjoy it, like they're supposed to be. Screw it.

    I think this might be the most innovative feature for this year's AC game....

    A female protaganist!? I say. In this day and age too, whatever has become of the place

      They were going to use a female lead for AC III.

      But she kept attracting the bears.

        You hear that ubisoft? Bears. Now the whole Order is in jeopardy.

    Too late. Perhaps the games should be developed more before released. Glitches are expected of this game and I didn't even finished unity. After playing unity, I doubt I will be playing any assassin creed games for a long time. Unless I get a bunch of friends to play brotherhood or the next one win that cool mp mode.

    As a long time fan and owner of every game so far, my enthusiasm is reaching its limits. This might be my first 'pass'.

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