Go on, have a women character, I promise it won’t hurt.
Women, you know those things, seen them walking about, looking at loafs of bread, picking their teeth, who knows, maybe you’re a women yourself. Women can stab people, women can shoot people. So why won’t Assassin’s Creed just let them do so?
Anyone who watched the news coverage around this years E3 will know that Ubisoft courted controversy this year by showing off Assassin’s Creed Unity, in which four white fellers, all of the same body type, height and weight went about stabbing people. The only differences between them were their coat colours, which either suggests they are power rangers or that they may forget their own identity without colour coding.
What followed was the fairly typical ‘why can’t I play a women character’ from fans, which was answered by one of Ubisoft’s team as that they wanted to have them, but with the further animation costs, voice acting etc it would be too prohibitive. (this from the company that makes multi-millions on every new addition on their franchises). What this points to of course is that game development at ubisoft is hideously bloated and out of control in terms of budgeting but everyone has talked about that, I’m here to talk about the lost opportunity to have a bit of diversity in the main cast of one of the biggest franchises on earth.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité or Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood was the motto of France, spawned from the fires of the revolution. Women were fighting for their rights on the barricades as much as any man, and for a short while equality for women was looking achievable, alas the government installed after the over throw of the monarchy thought otherwise. Now imagine playing through that story as women assassin. An equal to any man on the battlefield, doing your part for your comrades, only for victory to be declared and you are cast back, and told you are not a citizen. A kick to the ovaries for sure.
It’s an interesting concept for a story, and one that would fit perfectly in with Assassins Creed’s theme of individual freedom. Remember when ‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted’ was the series catch phrase? Although it hasn’t really been mentioned too much since Altiar popped his clogs, it’s still around. A young women, sick of being oppressed joins a band over revolutionaries who turn out are also assassin’s and is told ‘the world is yours for the taking’ but finds once the revolution is done, that her many acts of murder and treason have made her as much a villain as those she fought, she is then hounded out of Paris by the Assassin order, only to be met by Templars, who instead of being cartoonishly evil are sympathetic to her cause, and help her take revenge on those who used her.
So here is the story
- Young women, we’ll call her Belle. Finds that she sympathies with the revolutionary thinkers of the time and starts attending meetings, she is shunned by the men, but sits quietly and listens to the speakers.
- At one meeting she meets an old man, the old man walks her home, where they are harassed by soldiers, the old man kills the two. Belle gives him shelter at her home.
- She asks him to teach her how to defend herself, The old man says he can’t, but she can find those who can if she leaves the city with him that night.
- The two leave and go to a small village outside of Paris, this is the Assassin’s Headquarters. Belle is welcomed by the bohemian esqe Assassins and her training begins
- After a year, she is considered ready for field work, sent back into Paris to do some light work that shouldn’t involve killing.
- A simple job goes wrong and she is forced to kill for the first time.
- As time passes and the revolution gather pace, she commits herself to the work of the revolution, thinking it will give her a better position in this world, and for all women.
- She Encounters her first Templar, we’ll call him Gaston, a mid ranking Templar and friend of Robespierre. The two fight but neither can kill the other so Gaston leaves.
- Having taken a key role in the operation to capture the king and end the fighting in Paris. Belle is side lined by other assassin’s because she is a women.
- Belle is called to the village outside of Paris, where she is told that her life is forfeit and that she needs to die in order to hide the truth that a women did the assassin’s work
- Belle, fights her way out and flee’s Paris, journeying in the countryside until she by chance meets Gaston, the two do not fight but talk, he explains the Templars goals of true equality. The two form a partnership of sorts, with her no longer an assassin but not a Templar.
- Picking off members of the Brotherhood, while Gaston works politically to make changes for women. Belle is left questioning the Assassin’s methods, and if they ever get real results.
- With the revolution coming to an end, but unsure of her place in France, and unable to totally commit to the Templar ethos, she leaves’ Paris, possibly to go to the new world
It’s bare bones to say the least, but hey until Ubisoft start paying me (call me) i’m not giving too much for free. Now I know the series has had a women main character in Assassin’s Creed Liberation in the form of Aveline de Grandpré, who was not only a women, but also black! See Ubisoft, you can do diversity, it would be nice if you didn’t relegated it to the handheld markets for a year and a half, of course in Black Flag, there was the Freedom Cry DLC where you got to play as Adewale, the former slave turned assassin. These characters clearly show that Ubisoft can do it, they can be diverse, but not in the main game series.
The series will move past the french revolution, to Victorian London maybe, or Shogun Japan (PLEASE GOD DO THIS) and other interesting locations, but if the protagonist remains the same white bread handsome bloke, have we really progressed from Ezio?