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Video game developer Ubisoft fell under heavy criticism this week for their choice to drop female playable characters in the latest Assassin’s Creed game.

Creative director Alex Amancio spoke to gaming website Polygon.com in an interview published on 10th July. In it, he explained that the option was abandoned from the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity multiplayer due to “time constraints“.

He said the feature would require “double the animations, […] double the voices [and] double the visual assets”, which would be “a lot of extra production work”.

And in a separate interview, level designer Bruno St. Andre claimed that implementing female characters would have required the creation of “more than 8,000 animations“.

However, the response to these comments has been less than positive.

Assassin’s Creed fans of all genders have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure at Ubisoft’s decision through the hashtag #womenaretoohardtoanimate.

And other industry professionals have cast aspersions on Amancio and St. Andre’s claims.

Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper, who was animation director for Assassin’s Creed 3, spoke to Polgyon.com on 11th June.

According to Cooper, female character skeletons are “typically not that different” and should take “a day or two’s work” rather than 8,000 new animations.

Cooper also observed that heroine and protagonist of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, Aveline de Grandpré, received the majority of her movement animations from Assassin’s Creed 3‘s male protagonist Connor.

Ubisoft have responded to the negative feedback by issuing a statement of diversity, also reported on Polygon.com.

The company claimed it will “continue to look at showcasing diverse characters“, and said that they “look forward to introducing [us] to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity“.

But will it be enough to appease outraged feminist fans?

The controversy over Assassin’s Creed Unity came at the beginning of this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which seemed to continue the theme of excluding women.

Vlmabeer developer Rami Ismail pointed out there there seemed to be more severed heads than female presenters at the convention, which Polygon.com author Danielle Riendeau confirmed.

And with mainstream gaming feeling more and more like a boys-only club, it seems likely that female and feminist gamers will look elsewhere for games.

And that can only mean bad things for Ubisoft’s bottom line.

What do you think about the lack of female characters in the Assassin’s Creed Unity multiplayer? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter (@HerCampusCCCU).

Penny Gotch is an Essex girl living in Kent, where she's studying Creative & Professional Writing. She dabbles in everything. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, script: you name it, she does it. In her spare time, she likes music, baking, and watching wrestling. For more information, please check out her website: www.pennygotch.co.uk
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