Remember that really messed-up Ubisoft story where its executives resigned due to reports of sexual harassment, bullying, misogyny, and overall toxic work culture that feels “mafia-like”? Well it actually affected how the Assassin’s Creed games were initially supposed to be, at least on how they were originally going to focus on female representation.
See, AC characters like Evie Frye, Aya, and Alexios were supposed to have prominent roles in their respective AC games. According to a Bloomberg article by Jason Schreier, the company’s “machismo” culture changed all that for the worst. Examples include:
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate twins Jacob and Evie having a more even split between the two. The AC Syndicate that is released has a 60/40 split between Jacob and Evie after executive meddling via recently-resigned Serge Hascoët.
- AC Origins’ Bayek initially supposed to be killed off early in the original draft of the game before Aya took over for the majority of the game. The final product sees Aya having a minimized role. Again, thanks to executive meddling.
- AC Odyssey originally going to feature just Kassandra as the main character. Hascoët and other unnamed folks within Ubisoft’s marketing department claimed that games with women leads wouldn’t sell, so Alexios was included as an alternate lead.
The latter point is incredibly apparent since Kassandra felt way more integral and naturally written into the story than Alexios. Seeing as Hascoët was Ubisoft’s Chief Creation Officer and was the creative force of the company, he was basically one of the more powerful employees in the company just behind CEO Yves Guillemot.
While it’s commendable in a way that the issue is still being sorted out, it still sucks that this has been happening for far too long and that it also inherently affected the AC games we’ve played since 2015 onwards. God forbid that this would have gone on for too long if this news wasn’t made public.