Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Only Had Kassandra as Protagonist

Ubisoft originally planned for Kassandra to be the only female protagonist in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

Despite belonging to stealth-adventure based Assassin's Creed series delved into action role-playing genre with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, where players would have a choice between two playable characters; Alexios and Kassandra.

According to a recent article by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schrier, developer/publisher Ubisoft didn't allow any female characters in lead role of Assassin's Creed games for a while due to an internal mandate that says "Women Don't Sell".

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey Only Had Kassandra as Protagonist

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In past few months, French video game company Ubisoft has been slammed by widespread workplace abuse. While an investigation is currently ongoing, many employees within Ubisoft have reported of an abusive workplace.

Several team members believe such atmosphere has even affected production of Assassin's Creed games in past. Ubisoft had a long-held belief that female protagonists in general doesn't help sell games like traditional male ones.

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Back in 2014, trouble begin with Assassin's Creed Unity when a creative director of Ubisoft was against inclusion of any female characters because "it was really a lot of extra production work" to add animations and clothing for women.

Their next game, Assassin's Creed Syndicate had a script that allowed siblings Jacob and Evie Fyre to have equal screen time. However, changes were made to favor male protagonist Jacob who became the main character of Syndicate.

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Similarly in Assassin's Creed Origins, original plan for Bayek was to be killed off at an early point to focus on his wife Aya. That plan was eventually flipped and Bayek lived to serve as lead playable character for rest of the adventure.

In all instances mentioned above, Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoët or marketing team has intervened before final release to force developers change story direction to reduce role of female characters or protagonists.

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When working on Assassin's Creed Odyssey, its creative team wanted Kassandra to be only playable character in lead role. Odyssey ended up adding her male sibling Alexios, to allow players a choice to pick between these two.

Ubisoft employees claimed that they often had to distract Hascoët with major compromises to add features that he didn't like to sway his influence from making changes for worse as he was not a fan of cut-scenes or linear storytelling.

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In wake of Serge Hascoët leaving company, Jason Schrier reveals his latest expose on industry practices.


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Serge Hascoët is arguably responsible for cancellation of more than a few promising projects with such meddling. However, his authority within company starts lessening lately after a series of lackluster releases over past few years.

Even though Alexios was forced into Assassin's Creed Odyssey, he actually fits nicely in ancient Greece setting. Ubisoft will also let you choose a male and female version of lead character, Eivor in upcoming Assassin's Creed Valhalla.