A Bloomberg article focusing on the alleged history of sexism and abuse within Ubisoft was released today, and with it, a number of details have been unveiled regarding the ever-popular Assassin’s Creed series. While the article’s main focus is on the toxic culture that festered within Ubisoft until the allegations were made public, the article alleges that the toxic work culture affected the way players experienced a number of games.
According to the article, aside from the alleged toxic work culture making Ubisoft a place unsafe for women, the culture also reportedly altered how players would have experienced several Assassin’s Creed games. An example of this can be seen from a quote by a creative director regarding the inability to play as a female online in Assassin’s Creed Unity when the director stated that “it was really a lot of extra production work,” to add female clothing and animation. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate also reportedly was going to give equal amounts of screen time to both Jacob and Evie, but in the end, Jacob was given the larger amount of screen time in the game. Even Assassin’s Creed Origins as well as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey apparently had female lead roles that were greatly diminished. According to the article, in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Bayek was initially going to be killed early in the game, and the player would be able to experience ancient Egypt as Aya, his wife. In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, while players were able to enjoy the game as either Alexios or Kassandra, the article reports that initially, the game was supposed to have Kassandra as the lead, until they were told that it wasn’t an option. The article places the blame for these decisions to deprive players of a female perspective in Assassin’s Creed with the marketing department as well as Hascoet who allegedly stated that female protagonists wouldn’t sell.
While players may have been deprived of larger female leads in past Assassin’s Creed games, it is unknown how this alleged toxic environment may have been affecting the development of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It is possible that this alleged toxic environment has not affected the way in which female Eivor will be allowed to shine, as players can swap between genders in the game at any time, as well as romance a number of different people as either gender.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be releasing for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on November 17th, 2020.