Assassins Creed III developer says female assassin would be “kind of wrong”


As a female gamer, I believe there is a lot wrong with video gaming when it comes to treating women with respect. I’ve been called a noob for being a gamer (by a 15-year-old, nonetheless… ha!), but I’ve also been called the “c” word. This is especially prevalent on MMO’s and part of the reason I no longer play them.

Let’s face it, there are a lot of male gamers that are outright jerks. Certainly not all male gamers, but enough to justify running women away from gaming. Those women who do choose to game choose to do so alone and silently. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this.

If you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “Girl Gamers Harassed.” It’s disgusting the amount of forum threads and blog posts and articles that come up.

However, part of the problem lies with the game developers themselves. They refuse to see women as gamers and in many games, women are treated disrespectfully. Yes, Grand Theft Auto games, I’m looking at you.

But it’s also the lack of games that allow us to play female characters that also raises my ire. Sure, I’ve played my share of male characters in video games. We all have. It’s not like we have a choice. And I have gone on record as stating that I enjoy those games. But my favorite games are all ones where I’ve been allowed a female character, either by choice (the Mass Effect series, Skyrim, the Dragon Age series, the Fallout games) or the lead is written as female (Dreamfall, Mirror’s Edge). I have also enjoyed games that have strong female characters included (the Half Life series).

This is probably due to the fact that there just aren’t a lot of women (or men who don’t think with their private parts) making video games. Many of these video game companies are idiots because they honestly think that there is no way that women even play games, much less enjoy them. They still create games for those 15-year-old horny boys. Which is odd considering that most studies now state that most gamers are older and include a LOT of women.

But that mentality continues. And most video games tend to be oriented towards young males. And we get great games like the Assassins Creed series which refuse to allow women to be a part of their environments.

Alex Hutchison, the creative director for Assassins Creed 3, was asked about the possibility of a female assassin in the new game. His answer?

“”It’s always up in the air. I think lots of people want it, [but] in this period it’s been a bit of a pain. The history of the American Revolution is the history of men. It felt like, if you had all these men in every scene and you’re secretly, stealthily in crowds of dudes [as a female assassin], it starts to feel kind of wrong. People would stop believing it.”

(Pardon me while I cringe at Hutchison’s usage of the word “dudes.” Do you see what I mean about the mentality of the people creating the games?)

Did you catch that? The history of the American Revolution is the history of MEN.  I guess Hutchison has never truly studied history, though. What about Catherine Moore Barry, who helped General Morgan lay a trap for Cornwallis and his men? That could not have been done without her input as she knew the lay of the land. What about Margaret Corbin, who loaded cannons during the war and was the first women to receive a lifetime pension for wounds suffered in battle? What about Nancy Ward who literally took up a bow and arrow with a Cherokee tribe and fought in the war? What about Betsy Ross? Do these women mean nothing?

“There are a few people, like John Adams’ wife, [Abigail]–they tried very hard in the [HBO seriesJohn Adams] to not make it look like a bunch of dudes, but it really is a bunch of dudes,” Hutchison added.

(He said “dudes” again. Really. I can’t help but to respond with an eye roll.)

So once more, women’s contributions to history are ignored. But worse, Hutchison went on to say that a female assassin would be unbelievable. But a guy running around in a Middle Eastern-inspired assasins coat is, apparently, not.

So who else is saying “WTF?”

Personally, I believe that not only would a female assassin be plausible, but also extremely effective. Because the “dudes” would never see her coming and wouldn’t expect a woman to be capable of such violence.

I understand why the main character wouldn’t be female if we’re discussing the gameplay, looking at things through Desmond’s eyes. I do get that. But that’s not what Hutchison said. And the mini film that was released about the end of Ezio’s life did feature a female assassin. However, the only other woman assassin in the game, Lucy, was killed. It’s almost as if the series doesn’t think the women assassins are as good as the men.

I guess I’m dreaming when I think how nice it might be to choose a male or female throughout the Assassins Creed games, but let’s face it, Ubisoft isn’t nearly as creative as a studio like Bethesda or Bioware. Unfortunately, most gaming studios aren’t as open-minded either. And it’s a shame, because there is a lot of money out there that women gamers could be spending and aren’t.

This leads me to my final point. Two of the most anticipated and highest grossing games of the past year both featured characters that could be played as female: Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim.  If that isn’t proof that more female video game lead characters are a good idea, I don’t know what is.

9 thoughts on “Assassins Creed III developer says female assassin would be “kind of wrong”

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

    There are a lot of people out there who, with basic ‘what if’ writing skills and their American History textbook, could come up with a really cool female assassin, probably taking *advantage* of the fact that in that time period, such a thing would be unimaginable.
    They’d be looking for a man… which is to the benefit of the woman.

    • March 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      That’s exactly why I’m thinking a female assassin would be extremely believable. It would make for some really interesting gameplay, as well.

  • March 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Agreed! I love that the lead (though you rarely see her) in Portal is a woman. Did you play Journey? Besides being a wonderfully gorgeous game, the main character is gender ambiguous. So it could totally be whatever the player wants.

  • March 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

    wait, unbelievable?  pfft, heck the assassin could be a Molly Pitcher type, women were all over and more than that they were ignored, no one would expect it.  Heck I think even back then people thought most women incapable of murder… more excuses for sexism, he could have simply said “It’s not our plan to have a female assassin simply for consistency sake.  We want to tie all of the games together.” but instead of giving a semi logical excuse he goes into this “women weren’t around” BS that is more that wrong, it’s insulting.

    • March 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

      I couldn’t agree more! There is a decent reason why the main assassin in the new game would not be female (as the person living out the memories of the assassins is a man), but that’s not what he said. 

      A female assassin would be much more effective, I feel, because like you said, it wouldn’t be expected.

  • April 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    And he’s the creative director of a history-heavy game series? I weep for his brain and for us, because we love video games and are offered this garbage.

    What willful ignorance to believe the history of the AR was men’s history. It’s a complete denial of reality. And it’s not just that there are prominent women, like Robin listed, who participated. Ordinary women were part of the war, too. Frontier women fought. Women impersonated men and fought. And people of color fought. Slaves fought for the British to earn their own freedom. Native American nations participated in the war on both sides to protect their own interests. How OLD is this man? His attitude reflects a pre-1970s grade school history textbook.

  • December 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Honestly, I learned nothing about women in the Revolution in History. So I can see what Hutchinson means… honestly, the best option for AC in my opinion, is to do what countless RPGs have done in the past… let you choose your character’s gender. Mass Effect’s canon has Shepard as a male, as does Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic with Revan… but they let you play as a female if you want. Bioware even went as far as having fans vote on the official “FemShep” for Mass Effect 3, even though canon had Shepard as a male until then. With ME3 I believe they more or less said Paragon choices are canon, but gender doesn’t matter anymore. This could easily be done with just about any game. Halo kind of needs Master Chief to be a guy, since they’ve already stated as much in the books and such, but thankfully, there are female Spartans. So when Microsoft forces someone to make the inevitable Halo RPG… women won’t have much to complain about (hopefully) lol. Gears Of War 3 also finally allowed gamers to play as women, and Sam was a total badass in my opinion, and Anya was cool too. Hopefully, Ubisoft finally puts a woman option in the story for AC5. At least there’s Aveline in Black Flag 😛

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