E3 2014: The Real Issue Behind AC Unity’s Player Characters

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One bit of controversy surrounding E3 games is Assassin’s Creed Unity’s lack of a female player character despite being a four-player co-op game. Looking at the reason behind this reveals deeper issues with the game’s development, especially given Ubisoft’s history with this kind of thing.

When asked why all four of Unity’s player characters are white dudes, Ubisoft revealed that it’s actually only one white dude. Players can customize their tools and clothes, but in fact each one will see themself as the main character — Arno. They’ll see their three friends as slightly different dudes, and apparently including a female option meant double the work on costumes and animations. Their problem here is Ubisoft designed a four-player co-op game with only one playable character.

This is odd given Unity’s co-op has been the main focus of its advertising. Maybe that’s just PR playing up that aspect because it’s the most unique aspect of the game, and maybe the actual developers included co-op as a very secondary feature. If so that’s a side-effect of marketing but also probably a lack of planning on the part of the developers. Ubisoft has handled this before and handled it better than what we’re seeing with Unity.

Far Cry 3’s co-op missions put players in control of four player characters, allowing for a better level of diversity. Far Cry 4 this week has already shoed off a little co-op revealing at least two playable characters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more. That’s not even mentioning the various characters of the competitive multiplayer modes of past Creed games.

Why couldn’t Ubisoft just write four characters and let players select them when going into co-op? Why can’t they just have Aveline from Assassin’s Creed Liberation travel to France (she’s half French) — that’s one character already written. If it hasn’t been confirmed already it seems like Ubisoft wants Unity’s co-op to be drop-in-drop-out, but once again, so is FC4’s.

With all the manpower, work, and detail that goes into the Creed games, and what Ubisoft has done before, it seems really odd to me they’d make and advertise a big co-op game like this with only one real character.

BULLETS:

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