I know the title seems extreme, but I’m just being real here. I don’t “dislike” these gender-options in the Assassin’s Creed games, I absolutely hate them for one particular reason, they add nothing to the experience. And with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the horizon, I want to talk about it.
I think I may have spoken about this a few months ago (I did), but to this day, I still heavily dislike the approach that Ubisoft has taken when it comes to creating a protagonist for their AC games. Hear me out on this as I’m only referring to the Assassins Creed franchise. Giving people options seems like a sure-fire way to please everyone, but sometimes it can have the opposite effect and end up diluting the experience overall.
The main and only reason why myself and many others got into the Assassin’s Creed series in the first place was for the stealth portion of the game and most importantly, the strong story that it told, which used to be 80% based on historical events and 20% magic and fantasy sprinkled in the mix to spice things up. Now, things have changed, and not for the best.
I understand why Ubisoft is going in this direction, for the inclusivity, diversity and whatnot, but this is not the way. And I say this because of what Assassin’s Creed used to be. The core premise of the games was about us following key individuals throughout history as we follow the journey to face off against the Templar.
It was never for use to “completely” immerse ourselves in their shoes, but more so to pierce through the veils and see what they saw! I mean that’s what the Animus was designed for, the core plot-point of the whole series. And don’t give this “but it’s improved and upgraded to….”, Nah, that still doesn’t’ make any sense with the world that they’ve built. Strong characters tell strong narrative. That’s how it’s always been.
For example, in their last game, Odyssey, they’ve stated in some obscure books that Kassandra was the true main protagonist of the series. This bothered me for a number of reasons. If they had to classify a “main” protagonist in a game that gave us options, why not just make her the sole character that we play as in the game so that the story remains cohesive.
I didn’t understand why they didn’t just focus on her and tell the story from her perspective alone. Despite what the media and journalist would like you to think, most gamers wouldn’t have hated or boycotted the game if the lead was female, if anything, what any Assassin’s Creed fans care about if the stealth aspect and a solid story. And when you look at games like Tomb Raider, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mirror’s Edge, Beyond Good & Evil and Nier Automata to name a few, it is possible and has been for a while now.
Just commit to a character’s gender and traits and be done with it. I get that what I’m saying is a hard sell for most people, having the option in games is never a bad thing but when the writing, narrative, and cohesiveness of a game series start to get impacted, which is what games were known for, someone has to ask if more is better.
Let me know what you guys think about this.