Ubisoft Trying to Fix Criticisms of Having Bland Characters in its Major IPs
Ubisoft claims that it intends to diversify its characters, but its recent showings suggest otherwise.
In an interview with CVG at E3 2014, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot claims that his company intends to expand and improve its character creation processes due to criticisms of “bland” characters in its major IPs. The only problem with this is that when it comes to diversifying characters in response to criticism, Ubisoft’s recent track record suggests otherwise.
“We knew it would be polarizing,” said Guillemot in reference to the backlash against Watch Dogs’ snooze-worthy protagonist, Aiden Pearce. “Some people loved the characters and some didn’t. It was difficult to please everybody with that character. Now, having seen the reaction, we know what we will do next to improve that.”
Yves Guillemot went on to explain Ubisoft’s plans to have deeper characters and to offer more variety in terms of who you get to play and what that person is like.
“We are working on that,” he added. “We want to spend more time on the worlds and characters in our games… you will see more and more of this at Ubisoft. We’ll try to be less like we have been in the past with some characters. We’ll try to extend more diversity.”
The major problem with Guillemot’s claims is that Ubisoft immediately turned its back on what he said just days after this interview was made. After Assassin’s Creed Unity’s multiplayer demo ended, the masses were letdown upon finding out that there would be no female characters in its online co-op gameplay. Ubisoft announced there would not be a playable female character in Far Cry 4 (even in its online co-op as well) because it would have to make brand new animations for a female character, which the company said was the same reason for the lack of playable females in Unity. On the other hand, the female protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Liberation (a PS Vita spin-off of Assassin’s Creed 3) shared a plethora of animations with the male lead of AC III. Many animators claim that video game character movements tend to be unisex as opposed to having distinct masculine or feminine traits in a character’s movement.
Lastly, the animation director for Assassin’s Creed III refuted Ubisoft’s claims that adding a female co-op character into Unity would increase the workload and require a ton of new animations, saying that only a few days work would be needed by an animator to create the female model. Since the Assassin’s Creed series is one of Ubisoft’s best-selling properties, we don’t see why Ubisoft just won’t give the fans what they want. The only explanation left would be that the extra money and resources needed to include female assassins in Unity outweigh Ubisoft’s value of its critics.