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Subject: Really disappointed in Ubisoft rss

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Amy
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I love the Assassins Creed series and was looking forward to continuing to play it. This has really soured things for me. When their stories were very story line focused on one established character I can give them a bit of a pass on not including a female equivalent. But when they have a game that has multiple characters they can't include any women or any racial diversity?

Ubisoft Cut Plans For Female Assassins In Unity

With the amount of characters they included no racial diversity was really horrible since all they would have to change is the skin tone!

I don't buy at all that it would have taken twice the development time to include a playable female character. Women aren't a completely different alien race. We aren't that different than men and doing the same actions we don't move that differently. In fact, the extra time a lot of developers use on women models is often ridiculous including boob and butt movement engines or women running in completely ridiculous ways. But I'm not expert. Jonathan Cooper is though and he called Ubisoft out on their BS.

A Mass Effect & Assassin’s Creed Animator Called Ubisoft Out


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Alex
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The whole thing's been pretty gross, for sure. Especially since literally the most famous assassin of the period was a woman.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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And two weeks from now, when they've had all the hits and free mentions on gaming sites they need to remind people of their newest title, they'll "give in to the fan's wishes".

I can't think of any other reason why they'd kick off such a predictable shitstorm when they of all people certainly have the money and people to get it done.
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Luke Stirling
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“Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction as designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs”

Unfortunately our production staff is unable to comprehend the fact that women play our game, and the notion that gender could or should be an option in avatar creation in a multi-player game is utterly bewildering to us.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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paralipsis wrote:
“Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction as designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs”

Unfortunately our production staff is unable to comprehend the fact that women play our game, and the notion that gender could or should be an option in avatar creation in a multi-player game is utterly bewildering to us.

I doubt that, they do have women on staff after all. Wanna bet that they'll "remember" and then "change" their plans soon? Maybe even get some brownie points for being "progressive" and "listening to their fans"?

I don't believe for a second that anyone over there actually cut that feature, it would be career suicide.
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Jason Birzer
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Well, Ubisoft dug themselves a bit deeper when a developer from another of their games spoke.

Far Cry 4 devs were 'inches away' from women as playable characters

Well, if you were so damn close to getting women as playable characters, how about instead of saying, "Maybe next time." you actually finish the work?

BTW, I'm still waiting for Rockstar to put a female character as a lead. It was kinda disappointing that GTA V had three leads, but couldn't make one a woman. Course, given how women are treated in GTA IV, maybe I shouldn't be expecting much.
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Luke Stirling
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Flamin_Jesus wrote:
I doubt that, they do have women on staff after all. Wanna bet that they'll "remember" and then "change" their plans soon? Maybe even get some brownie points for being "progressive" and "listening to their fans"?

I don't believe for a second that anyone over there actually cut that feature, it would be career suicide.
I wouldn't be so sure of that. I always like to keep Hanlon's Razor in mind when considering these things. I think it far more likely that people were telling the truth, as they saw it. Game production is a messy process, and features come and go throughout. I think it far more likely that the decision got made without proper consideration as to how dumb it would look. Conspiracies happen, sure, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that a dumb thing that developers say and then later rectify is some carefully planned bit of spin doctoring.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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paralipsis wrote:
Flamin_Jesus wrote:
I doubt that, they do have women on staff after all. Wanna bet that they'll "remember" and then "change" their plans soon? Maybe even get some brownie points for being "progressive" and "listening to their fans"?

I don't believe for a second that anyone over there actually cut that feature, it would be career suicide.
I wouldn't be so sure of that. I always like to keep Hanlon's Razor in mind when considering these things. I think it far more likely that people were telling the truth, as they saw it. Game production is a messy process, and features come and go throughout. I think it far more likely that the decision got made without proper consideration as to how dumb it would look. Conspiracies happen, sure, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that a dumb thing that developers say and then later rectify is some carefully planned bit of spin doctoring.
Eh, it's possible of course, but you'd have to be pretty unaware of what's going on in video games these days to not notice that sexism is pretty much the number one subject right now.
I can believe that one producer might miss that, even that his ego might prevent him from listening to his developers when they tell him that he's being crazy, but I can't believe that a professional company would let that get into an official statement without someone double-checking the decision.

Cutting a feature is one thing, that happens all the time, but turning it into an official press release? That's not a slip-up of one person, that requires a concerted effort!
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Benj Davis
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TheLongshot wrote:
Well, Ubisoft dug themselves a bit deeper when a developer from another of their games spoke.

Far Cry 4 devs were 'inches away' from women as playable characters

Well, if you were so damn close to getting women as playable characters, how about instead of saying, "Maybe next time." you actually finish the work?

BTW, I'm still waiting for Rockstar to put a female character as a lead. It was kinda disappointing that GTA V had three leads, but couldn't make one a woman. Course, given how women are treated in GTA IV, maybe I shouldn't be expecting much.

What do you mean? They represented all walks of life: a rich white guy, a less rich white guy and a black guy.
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Krzysztof Zięba
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This discussion has been making the rounds with my friends for the last couple of days, so I can safely say that I've got a pretty educated opinion at this point.

First of all. That former Ubisoft animator is either full of shit, trolling on purpose, or didn't bother to add a plethora of qualifiers to his statement about how long it takes to create a proper model, with AAA-quality animations, textures etc. This is a MAJOR problem in my eyes, as people outside the industry already have extremely unrealistic expectations as to the time it takes to make these things. Literally nothing is ever a "two day job", and that goes double for gargantuan teams like Ubisoft tends to have for their titles.

Second of all. Read this http://www.reddit.com/r/assassinscreed/comments/27ut97/disti... This is a producer's point of view, and he raises some extremely important points about why, at this point (far into the development of the game), deciding to add ANYTHING may not be impossible, but is certainly undesireable.

BUT, third and MOST important of all:

Ubisoft showed that they are idiots.

They showed they are idiots by NOT taking something as basic as a female character in a multiplayer mode into consideration.

If they did, but dropped it because of the system they envisioned (according to rumours, how it works is that in multiplayer you always see yourself as the protagonist, Arno and you see the other players as other dudes - this approach DOES limit how they can change up the appearances of characters), then they are idiots for planning on a workaround like this, instead of making it a basic assumption that they would need a female model (if out of nothing else, then out of common f-ing courtesy).

They are idiots for using the "time/money/economical" reasoning in a game which has a ridiculously detailed simulacra of Paris in an open-world setting. If they planned this right, putting in those characters would've been doable in the same (or very similar) budget. However, the counterpoint to this can be that they're a juggernaut of such size at this point, that coordinating stuff is becoming near impossible... which they're not entirely to blame for, but that's another discussion (about the budgets and teams behind AAA titles these days).

And finally, they are idiots for not backing out of this discussion as quickly as possible with an apology and explanations that aren't PR disasters. This shows they haven't really got the know-how for dealing with controversy like this in the modern video game culture landscape.


One thing that bothers me more than a bit, is that in the eyes of many people, the higher-up decisions (like dropping the female character to focus on animating crowds, say) are thought of as the dev's decisions, and it's the dev team that takes the brunt of the blame, being called out as sexist, insensitive, stupid etc. While an inherently backwards way of thinking might be what's behind this entire controversy, to me it's mostly a major screw up on two fields: production management and then PR. I do agree that the fact this was an issue AT ALL is symptomatic of a larger problem, but I would just refrain from putting the blame on the developers, most of whom, I am sure, are hardworking and passionate people who, if it was possible, would like to accomodate for the needs of all gamers.

So try and see both sides of this, because this is a multi-faceted case and simplifying it to "Yet another example for how the game industry is backwards and sexist" isn't really helping anybody, and especially not the people actually doing the work.
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Lord_Kristof wrote:
So try and see both sides of this, because this is a multi-faceted case and simplifying it to "Yet another example for how the game industry is backwards and sexist" isn't really helping anybody, and especially not the people actually doing the work.

Gods, someone's questioning the black-and-white morality standards around here and it isn't me? Who put acid in my Cuba Libre?

Edit: Kidding aside, while I don't fully agree with you (Ubisoft really DOES have the means to make this happen, they of all people can't really use money as an excuse, especially since we're talking about a feature that WAS actually planned for and indeed DID exist in earlier games), I'm just so fucking happy that someone else around here is acknowledging that live isn't a good vs. evil story, I really am.
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Phil
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Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
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Flamin_Jesus wrote:

Edit: Kidding aside, while I don't fully agree with you (Ubisoft really DOES have the means to make this happen, they of all people can't really use money as an excuse, especially since we're talking about a feature that WAS actually planned for and indeed DID exist in earlier games)

For the sake of clarity, you may have misread me, as I totally agree with this I haven't used this argument directly, but I did mention the weird thing about AC: Unity - that they had money for next-gen Paris, but skimped on something that, as you said, they basically already had from previous games.

If anything, that's a symptom of how ass-backwards the industry has become in their quest for simulation and graphical prowess over everything else, including gameplay, story AND common sense. But again, that's a separate topic.
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Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?

a) Mirror's Edge 2 is story-driven, therefore has a specific protagonist. Multiplayer modes in all games, even those story-driven, tend to leave more room for player input, so it's natural that player expectations are different and customisation becomes preferable.

b) There are far less games with male protagonists that you can't change, than they are those where you have female protagonists that you can't change. So there's always going to be a different approach to these things, because one takes place far more often than the other - and that's exactly why this is an issue, given player demographics (players are currently divided very closely to 50:50 Male-Female). If 90% of games were FPS titles, I don't think anyone would ask why the 10% of TPS games aren't FPS as well, or don't give an option for an FPS mode.

c) Kind of following the previous point - variety is good. It's easier (for the most male-centric players) to "swallow" a female protagonist given that's it a rarity, and adds some variety to the game (with its voice-over and animations, if nothing else).

d) Finally, and this is probably a stretch, it might be important for the story that Faith is Faith and not Faithsteban or Faithaurice. It probably isn't (because these things rarely do have an impact on actual story outside of potential love interests), but the point still stands.
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Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
I'd say it's because no one has the right.
What bugs me is that no one has the right to complain about male protagonists either, but that still has become a shorthand for "this must be sexist" regardless.
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Flamin_Jesus wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
I'd say it's because no one has the right.
What bugs me is that no one has the right to complain about male protagonists either, but that still has become a shorthand for "this must be sexist" regardless.

I think it's just being seen as somebody complaining that he's asked to forgo his preferances so that somebody else can have his or hers fulfilled.

It's like when a guy who likes meat goes to a vegetarian restaurant and complains he can't have steak for dinner, or not seeing that a lack of vegetarian options in a restaurant is sort of stupid. Liking meat is fine, the thing is that if you tried out more veggie dishes you might broaden your tastes and actually enjoy the variety
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Lord_Kristof wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?

a) Mirror's Edge 2 is story-driven, therefore has a specific protagonist. Multiplayer modes in all games, even those story-driven, tend to leave more room for player input, so it's natural that player expectations are different and customisation becomes preferable.

b) There are far less games with male protagonists that you can't change, than they are those where you have female protagonists that you can't change. So there's always going to be a different approach to these things, because one takes place far more often than the other - and that's exactly why this is an issue, given player demographics (players are currently divided very closely to 50:50 Male-Female). If 90% of games were FPS titles, I don't think anyone would ask why the 10% of TPS games aren't FPS as well, or don't give an option for an FPS mode.

c) Kind of following the previous point - variety is good. It's easier (for the most male-centric players) to "swallow" a female protagonist given that's it a rarity, and adds some variety to the game (with its voice-over and animations, if nothing else).

d) Finally, and this is probably a stretch, it might be important for the story that Faith is Faith and not Faithsteban or Faithaurice. It probably isn't (because these things rarely do have an impact on actual story outside of potential love interests), but the point still stands.


I agree with this, I do however have some criticisms about how this is handled by many players.

I remember a VLog about the Bechtel test that essentially went into how it is a usefull tool to illustrate a problem with the entertainment industry (Very skewed towards white male heterosexuals), but that it's not an appropriate tool to judge individual works (ie. it is a problem that the overwhelming majority of entertainment media fail the Bechtel test, but failing the Bechtel test is not necessarily evidence that any one particular work is sexist/X-ist).

But what many translate this into is incredibly simplified claims such as "Having a male protagonist is sexist" (Direct quote, I could dig up the link from this forum if pressed), and the standard reaction that having a female protagonist is "better", regardless of whether she's actually well written or not.

I know it's a pipe dream, but I'd prefer that old stereotypes be replaced with freedom of choice (Whether that is the choice of character to play for the player, or the choice of character to portray for the developers), not with new stereotypes, but what I actually see is pimply 13 year old boys terrified of playing a character with boobs lest they be mistaken for gay and frustrated 13 year old girls terrified of playing a character with a dick lest they be mistaken for traitors of their gender.
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Lord_Kristof wrote:
Flamin_Jesus wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
I'd say it's because no one has the right.
What bugs me is that no one has the right to complain about male protagonists either, but that still has become a shorthand for "this must be sexist" regardless.

I think it's just being seen as somebody complaining that he's asked to forgo his preferances so that somebody else can have his or hers fulfilled.

It's like when a guy who likes meat goes to a vegetarian restaurant and complains he can't have steak for dinner, or not seeing that a lack of vegetarian options in a restaurant is sort of stupid. Liking meat is fine, the thing is that if you tried out more veggie dishes you might broaden your tastes and actually enjoy the variety

What I see is a lot of vegetarians complaining about the existence of steaks, and a lot of meat-eaters complaining about the existence of salad. Both is equally stupid, but depending on the decade you happen to live in, only one is ever actually acknowledged as stupid.

Edit: Damnit... I'm like the magician of thread-derailing when it comes to sexism issues...
Sorry, I'll shut up now, I still think they're going to reverse course on this (at least they should, if they haven't planned on it from the start).

Edit2: OK, one small addition: I realize this may not be immediately obvious from my posts, but I DO think the industry is richer for having more non-male-white-heterosexual-protagonists and should continue to increase their number and variety, I just also think that having a male white heterosexual protagonist shouldn't immediately be considered a black mark either.
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Flamin_Jesus wrote:

Edit2: OK, one small addition: I realize this may not be immediately obvious from my posts, but I DO think the industry is richer for having more non-male-white-heterosexual-protagonists and should continue to increase their number and variety, I just also think that having a male white heterosexual protagonist shouldn't immediately be considered a black mark either.

And again, in this we can agree. I'd love to see more variety, but I don't think I feel comfortable with "male white heterosexual shaming", as it were.

Instead of hearing "I don't like that the protagonist is so and so because it's sexist" I'd rather hear "I don't like that the protagonist is so and so because I've already seen those a lot and I'd like more variety". Its more inclusive that way. And I definitely see myself in that second camp.

It's not that I feel like I *need* to see more variety for my sake (since I'm a member of the majority, my need are basically being satisfied as we speak), though I like more variety in my games, but rather I wouldn't *mind* having a protagonist who represents something I'm not, because at the same time I'd be happy if somebody else felt like it helped him or her to enjoy the game. I think this is a healthy approach to have.
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Alex
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Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
For the same reason nobody is pissed that IBM doesn't have a male CEO.
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Phil
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tankexmortis wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
For the same reason nobody is pissed that IBM doesn't have a male CEO.
Looks like one, doesn't count.
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Lord_Kristof wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?

a) Mirror's Edge 2 is story-driven, therefore has a specific protagonist.

So, just like the new AssCreed game then?

In the multiplayer mode, you're playing the same character as you play in the single player campaign, with the other players seeing /their/ single player character in their game.

Horribly handled PR by Ubisoft.
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Harlekin wrote:
tankexmortis wrote:
Harlekin wrote:
Why is no one pissed that Mirrors Edge 2 has no male option?
For the same reason nobody is pissed that IBM doesn't have a male CEO.
Looks like one, doesn't count.

Not cool, Phil.
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How about the GTA series? Particularly V? No woman player character as of yet and they are usually relegated to strippers, prostitutes, nagging wives, etc.
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If it were so easy for Ubisoft to add different (be it female of whatever) characters then they would do so. As if they ever missed an opportunity for DLCs. But I can imagine that everything that has a different skeleton (shorter arms etc.) requires to replace all animations. AssCreed is no normal shooter where the only interaction with the environment is through bullets but a game where you climb a lot and therefore the animations (hand positions, feet positions) have to match predefined positions (handholds etc.). Change the length of the limbs and you have to redo the whole sequence. The same with the combat: Most moves are perfect-fit combinations of the enemies movements and your own.

But since the assassins are hooded most of the time and not really the social type: who cares? Wouldn't notice the difference anyway. There might be Goofy under the hood and it wouldn't change the game (or experience).
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