Reports about Ubisoft tell that management minimized female roles in Assassin’s Creed. According to the report, Ubisoft’s top management crushed potential stories for them.
Ubisoft is recently under fire for reports of sexual harassment, misogyny, and toxicity. The machismo culture went so far as to having top brass quashing female-led storylines. The misogynistic culture made a massive impact on the games the company produced.
Report says execs reduced female protagonist roles
For the longest time, many critics have noted how Ubi is unable to create proper female leads. Even back in the mid 2010s, criticism came towards the French game company. They noted how women are “too hard to animate,” warranting backlash from the community.
While this was a small, seemingly non-issue in 2014, the story is clearer now. According to the expansive report, some iterations of the AC games wanted female leads. Furthermore, the report suggests that AC: Syndicate would be a split between Jacob and Evie Frye.
However, executive meddling became the story of the game. Then-Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët was among the execs who shot the idea. The story’s balance moved more about Jacob than Evie, settling on a 60-40 split.
This pattern of behavior became common for Hascoët and his ilk within the company. Assassin’s Creed Origins originally had Aya replacing Bayek into the story. The original plans for Bayek would’ve had him killed early into the game.
By the end, Aya had very little to do with the story. Bayek dominated the missions, having Aya only on a few missions within the game.
Misogyny in Ubi started with Hascoët
The misogynistic culture within Ubisoft further extended in their most recent games. For example, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey originally had Kassandra as the only playable character. Hascoët, together with some people in the marketing department, killed the idea.
Hascoët and others claimed that a female-only lead would not sell games. This prompted the team to shoehorn Alexios as an alternate lead. The move, somehow, likely made the lives of the writers harder.
It doesn’t help that Serge Hascoët, together with many executives, resigned from Ubi. All these come from accusations of harassment, misogyny, and deep abuse internally. Hascoët, for example, was the central character in a scathing expose from French paper Liberation.
Hascoët was the most powerful “creative force” within Ubi, second only to Yves Guillemot. He handled greenlighting games, and everything passed through his desk.
Accusations flung towards Hascoët talked about his “libidinous behaviour.” Furthermore, he drugged employees with food spiked with edibles.
The stories about female leads will likely be never told in their official capacity. The misogyny within Ubisoft was too much, and it extended to the games they made.
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