This year's E3 has given us plenty of new information regarding Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Unity, and how the game's French Revolution setting will mark a return to the major city landscapes from earlier titles. One of the game's key elements will be the ability for up to four players to tackle missions co-operatively, something that was showcased during Microsoft's press event. In an interview with Polygon that was published last night, Ubisoft explained that fans would not be able to play as female characters this time around.
The decision to not include female characters seems like a strange one for Ubisoft, who recently featured a strong female as the leading role in Assassin's Creed: Liberation. Female characters have also been available throughout the franchise's multiplayer modes, another aspect that will not be appearing in Unity. Alex Amancio, who acted as the game's creative director, stated that female Assassins were initially planned for the game, but that they had to be scrapped due to the “reality of production.”
It's double the animations, it's double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets. Especially because we have customizable Assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.
Players will always view themselves as Arno, the game's main protagonist, though they will have custom gear while playing co-op mode. Amancio stated that Arno was the common denominator, and that they obviously couldn't cut their main character. This led Ubisoft to believe that cutting the female avatar was the only logical option. During a different interview with Polygon, Bruno St. Andre, the game's level designer, estimated that over 8,000 new animations would have had to be created on a different skeleton in order for female characters to make an appearance.
As for the future of Assassin's Creed, Amancio stated that, while he cannot speak for the future of the brand, fans should expect to see female Assassins return in future installments. We can't help but wonder why Ubisoft hadn't considered these obstacles from the start, and how becoming an annual series may have hindered Assassin's Creed's growth in the long run. Unity is expected to launch for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on October 28th.