The Assassin’s Creed games, especially the latest reinvention of the series, were supposed to have much larger roles for the women in the cast. However, a handful of meddling executives resulted in that not happening.
A new report on Bloomberg by Jason Schreier dives into the many reports of harassment, toxicity and abuse at Ubisoft, painting a picture of a publisher with a culture of misogyny.
Many attempts have been made by developers to have more female representation in Assassin’s Creed over the years, but Serge Hascoët the “Chief Creation Officer” who has now resigned and some in the company’s marketing department pushed back against this, saying that “women don’t sell”. Before resigning, he was accused by French newspaper Libération of toxicity, misogyny, homophobia, “libidinous behaviour”.
Developers, both current and ex, describe their ideas for the various games and how they were nuked from orbit by Hascoët and company. in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, there was supposed to be an even split between Jacob and Evie Frye, but things were skewed in Jacob’s favour. In Assassin’s Creed Origins, Bayek was to die early on in the game, with Aya leading the story. Instead, Aya was reduced to a minor playable role for the few naval combat missions in the game.
For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Kassandra was to be the only playable character. In the books she is the canon hero and the game was to continue on that beat until, once again, Hascoët and marketing department people forced them to run it as a choice. As a result the writing team had to go to extra lengths to make sure the plot and dialogue worked for both characters, rather than drilling down and creating more nuanced stories.
Many questioned why we only saw male Eivor in the reveal of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and this puts things in a new light.