Assassin's Creed Odyssey was hailed for its incredible leaps it took for a franchise many considered going stale. From the romance mechanics and freedom of choice that impacted the story, there was a lot to love. Moreso than that, gamers enjoyed the fact that they could choose a male or female character from the start, giving even more layers of immersion for the story. While Ubisoft mentioned hat Kassandra was the cannon pick, it seems that she was originally meant to be the only pick until higher ups made the decision that "women don't sell."
Ubisoft has been in the hot seat for the past several weeks with staggering reports of sexual misconduct and coverups provided by the company's HR. This isn't even the first time the studio has come under fire regarding women characters. Prior to Syndicate, Ubisoft devs mentioned there were no female assassin's because their body types are "hard to render," which immediately received backlash from gamers and other developers alike. While that philosophy has obviously evolved, it doesn't seem to have disappeared completely according to a recent report from Bloomberg News.
According to the report, many of the devs working on Odyssey originally wanted Kassandra to be the only protagonist, not just the shielded "cannon choice" but the marketing team put a quick stop to that. According to Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, "Ubisoft's marketing team and creative lead Serge Hascoët wouldn't allow it. Women don't sell, they said."
What is interesting about this is that polls post-launch showed that Kassandra, not unlike the Jane Shepard choice in Mass Effect, was the popular option by a longshot, regardless of the player's gender. A large part of that was due to her incredible voice acting and numerous side quests that were bolstered by choosing her over her brother Alexios.
So far, Ubisoft has not addressed the latest report but it looks like that philosophy still holds true with Valhalla that also features an option to choose a male or female. Before you get upset, having more options is always better, it's not that there was a male option that raises a few red flags but the reasoning behind it. Many games forgo having the option of choice because of the nature of the story. Some have male-only characters, some have a female lead. Others offer both, but given the allegations coming from the HR, marketing, and various other departments, it seems, in this case, it is rooted in a deep-set state of mine that women are somehow lesser, a thought that is very much reflected in the now hundreds of stories from the people that experienced it first-hand.
Tomb Raider, Mirror's Edge, Beyond Good & Evil ...
We will update this story when Ubisoft makes comment.
As for the latest Assassin's Creed game coming soon, be sure to check out our game hub here for Valhalla to learn more about the journey ahead, as well as a few of the other announcements revealed by Ubisoft this month:
- Far Cry 6 Revealed With Two New Trailers
- Hyper Space Open Beta Starts Today
- Ubisoft Shares More Of Watch Dog Legion With First Look At Villain, New Characters, and More
Assassin's Creed Valhalla makes its debut on Xbox One, PlayStation5, PC, and next-gen upgrades on November 17th.