Tag Archives: e3

No females in Assassin’s Creed Unity co-op

Alex Amancio, Ubisoft creative director, as quoted by Polygon:

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.

Because of that, the common denominator was Arno. It’s not like we could cut our main character, so the only logical option, the only option we had, was to cut the female avatar.

How was this not mapped out in pre-production?

UPDATE: The Internet is ablaze. The sad part is that this title will still rake in millions, likely billions. We continue to give time to a developer that does not give time to its audience or games. If it’s not ready, don’t ship.

Paul Tassi, writing for Forbes, on the 2013 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag announcement:

I like the Assassin’s Creed series, but indefinite annual releases could prove to be too much of a good thing. Of course, this is asking a company to choose the artistic integrity and quality of its series over money, which in this day and age almost never happens. Ubisoft seems to think they can maintain both, but that seems like a hard bet to take.

I’ve said my piece on Twitter but I’ll repeat: If you subscribe to the idea that it’s just a game, great. Include diversity. If you subscribe to the idea that video games influence behavior, great. Include diversity. If you subscribe to the idea that production time ran out, delay. Include diversity.

Whatever angle you approach this from, whatever lens you look through, there is no good excuse for a AAA game co-developed by ten studios and arguably the most successful video game developer and publisher in the world not to include diversity in a game-mode dependent on diversity.


Official statement from Ubisoft to Kotaku:

We recognize the valid concern around diversity in video game narrative. Assassin’s Creed is developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs and we hope this attention to diversity is reflected in the settings of our games and our characters.

Assassin’s Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op Shared Experiences, you the gamer will always be playing as Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique.

With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we’ve featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in Assassin’s Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity.

This statement feels pretty vapid.

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Diversity at press events

Danielle Riendeau, Polygon:

It wouldn’t hurt the publishers to pay more mind to diversity when choosing people to speak at press events. And it would certainly help make E3 a slightly more welcoming place for the rest of the 75 percent or so of people that make up the population. White men are a minority in the world, and video games have an international audience.

My E3 2014 Genre/Gender Breakdown data is still in the works but this makes me think I should include ethnicity as well. View my current data here.

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Because, it’s Nintendo

Nintendo did not apologize or ignore; they listened. Playful jabs at current conversations (eerily close to the last IGN NVC) and admittance of shortcomings was a nice touch to the digital event. That said, the 46-minute presentation left something to be desired. A blowout of late 2014 Smash Bros. content will not be enough to whet the appetites of naysayers.

Nintendo is wise to focus and build out the Mushroom Kingdom with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, more Yoshi, and Amiibo. Even wiser to remind audiences where their gaming experiences started.

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Only on Playstation, Bro

Sony has an IP problem. Short of Little Big Planet 3 and Uncharted 4, none of the other titles seemed to grab. While the exclusive experiences are interesting, their application to existing and expected titles feels lackluster. The chunk of time dedicated to the Playstation ecosystem felt like a slow, redundant message from announcements past. Sony needed to display PS4’s ease of development with ready-to-go titles rather than a collection of non-surprises releasing in 2015.

In 2013, Sony promised potential. In 2014, they are having a hard time executing.

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Microsoft at E3

Keith Stuart, The Guardian:

Broadcast live over the internet to millions of viewers the world over, the message couldn’t be more clear: last year’s emphasis on the strength of the Xbox One as a multimedia and live TV platform was a mistake. This is a games machine that also does other stuff that no one here really wants to hear about.

At the end of a pummeling 90 minutes of game announcements and confirmations, Spencer took to the stage again and said, “thank you for making your voice heard, thank you for helping us shape the future of the new Xbox.” Basically, it’s what Microsoft has been saying for the last six months – we listened, we changed, now eat this.

The 2014 Microsoft sounded a lot like the 2013 Sony. I would have loved for Microsoft to double-down on their original DRM and Kinect strategy, offering up an entertainment ecosystem that could have set Xbox One outside of the HD Twins comparison. Alas, their indie games showcase offered up impressive tiny titles that could end up system sellers, and that says a lot.

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Polygon: ‘E3 is loud, expensive, sexist and violent: It’s also the only place to be next week’

Ben Kuchera, Polygon:

The features you enjoy, the in-depth interviews you want to read, and the informed work that comes from your favorite sites will often start at a conversation at a bar during an event like E3. Every conversation at E3 is an opportunity to find and share information about the industry and games we all love, and that’s why we go. The giant video screens are a distraction from the real work, not a part of it.

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E3 2013: Genre/Gender Breakdown

Curious about male protagonist dominance in video games, I decided to do a little research…

The following post was originally published on my IGN blog on 6/15/13. It went on to be featured on the front page of IGN.com.

After all of the announcements at E3, I was curious to find out the genre breakdown between the games announced at E3 as well as their protagonist genders. To delve into this information, I pulled the original Big Games at E3 2013 list (156 games), mapped the platform section into a quantifiable “TRUE”/”FALSE” list, gathered genre lists from both IGN and Wikipedia, and researched the gender of the protagonist of each game.

Elaborating on the gender categories:

“Multi” being either:
– a) multiple characters to select from (ie. Mario Kart 8 / Killer Instinct receive 1 count for “multi” although there are several characters to select from)
– b) customizable gender
– c) large customizable party

“n/a” being a
– a) gender ambiguous character
– b) God-view game
– c) first-person with no direct gender association


Some key points:

– Sample size = 156 games
– 9 exclusively female protagonists (Bayonetta 2, LocoCycle, Transistor, Barbie Dreamhouse Party, Beyond Two Souls, Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014, Mirror’s Edge 2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, Time and Eternity)

The most interesting bits of data show PS3 receiving more releases than any other console, Sony in general receiving more releases than any other brand, and Nintendo catering to female and multiple choice protagonists more than any other brand.

The following charts represent IGN’s Big Games at E3 2012 list:

Some key points:

– Sample size = 55 games
– 1 exclusively female protagonist (Tomb Raider)

This is still very much a work in progress as there is plenty of unknown data. Seeing as these charts only map E3 2013, there is no current assessment of industry trends; however, I am currently adding previous E3’s to this research. I may be reaching out to the community for assistance in updating this data to slim down on the amount of unknown and update on previous E3s.


UPDATE; 2013-06-15, 12:15p: Added platform spread for announced games.

UPDATE; 2013-06-17, 12:15p: Added Genre breakdown based on Wikipedia classifications, Protagonist Distribution per brand, and Protagonist Distribution per Wikipedia Genre classification.

UPDATE; 2013-06-20, 12:10p: Wikipedia video game genres have been simplified for broad classification. Wikipedia classifies “Shooter” as a sub-Action genre. For the purposes of this study, “Shooter” has been given its own classification.

UPDATE; 2013-06-21, 9:15a: Added charts for Genres Per Platform and Genres Per Brand. Thank you all for your feedback and comments! Loving the discussion!

UPDATE; 2013-06-22, 3:45p: Changed Genres Per Brand charts to pie chart form. I will be adding IGN genre comparison soon.

UPDATE; 2013-06-25, 7:00a: Added data from E3 2012, refined key points including sample sizes and exclusively female protagonist counts.

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