If you are up to date regarding Assassin’s Creed Unity, then you know it is the latest game in the world-conquering Assassin’s Creed franchise, which has sold bazillions of copies to date. This game is set during the French Revolution, a period of history in which the citizens of France showed how upset they were with their tyrannical king and overthrew him. There was a lot violence, pillaging and many other nasty incidents going on during this period. And executions. Lots of executions. These were carried out using the infamous guillotine, which was used to behead “the enemies of the revolution”.
As a matter of fact, in the trailer which you can watch below, the protagonist Arno races through the chaotic streets of Paris to a town square in which people are being executed. Well he doesn’t exactly run through streets. This being an Assassin’s Creed game, he climbs walls and runs on rooftops like he had been raised in the jungle. He eventually gets to the town square, fights several guards with bravado but is too late to prevent the execution of several anonymous men, who were just extras anyway. But he spares a woman named Elise from a nasty beheading. This is a good thing considering what a pretty lady she is, by the way.
But no matter how beautiful she is, however, she is a damsel in distress. And this is the kind of character most women in video games are. Ubisoft, the publisher behind Assassin’s Creed, got a lot of flak at the E3 show for stating that Unity would not include any playable female characters, because it would have “doubled the work”. They later felt the need to make up for that statement by saying that their forthcoming game Far Cry 4 would be “packed to the gills with women”. And in a press release about Elise, the woman that appears in the trailer, they claimed she is “an independent young noblewoman”.
So it would be a sad thing if this woman seen in the trailer, named Elise, is just in the game to be rescued by protagonist Arno, or to be his partner in a gratuitous love scene. Considering that nowadays almost half of all gamers are female, Ubisoft’s “too much work” excuse for not including playable female characters in Unity is not really convincing.
And by the way, Assassin’s Creed already had a female protagonist. It was in the Liberation expansion for Assassin’s Creed 3, and it was decent to say the least. Other game series such as Mass Effect have always had female protagonists, and they are better off for it. So here’s hoping that the ladies finally get the Assassin’s Creed female lead they deserve.
Note: You will be able to run on Parisian rooftops to your heart’s content on the 28th of October, 2014. This is the day Assassin’s Creed Unity will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC.