Earlier this week Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio said that players of the upcoming Assassin's Creed Unity
were initially intended to have the freedom to play as assassins of either gender, but that the option to play as a woman assassin was cut
because it was "really a lot of extra production work."
His comments sparked a wave of criticism from developers and industry veterans, including former Assassin's Creed
creative director Patrice Desilets.
Speaking to Polygon
, Desilets expressed sympathy for the extra work required to create customizable women assassin protagonists but called on Ubisoft -- and the industry at large -- to make the effort.
"It's true. If you do a big giant character and a small character, or a woman and a guy, it's different," said Desilets. "But that shouldn't stop you. With all the time, money and people on that project, you could've done it."
In fact, Ubisoft actually has done it in the past; the lead character of Assassin's Creed III Liberation
was a woman, and Ubisoft Quebec's Jill Murray even gave a talk about diversifying feminine archetypes in games
during last year's GDC Next conference that prominently referenced the game.
It's also worth noting that Desilets was fired from Ubisoft last year and filed a lawsuit
against the company seeking damages and the rights to the 1066
intellectual property he had been working on if Ubisoft chose to abandon production on it.
While speaking to Polygon about the issue of diversity in games, Desilets also took the opportunity to promote his next project. "The game that I'm designing, I'm giving control back to the player," he told Polygon. "Which gender do you want to play? Let's start there."