Ubisoft really can’t get out of its own way. It feels as though the company is constantly apologizing for some form of social faux pas, and this week is no different.
Just a few weeks ago, the company was forced to apologize for its mobile game Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, where the game’s main villains use a black fist logo that was practically identical to the one used in Black Lives Matter protests.
Of course, this came after a horrific few months in which the company came under fire for sexual harassment claims filed against many of its chief figures. There were also several leaks that came out of Ubisoft surrounding the company’s feelings toward female protagonists, and its seeming refusal to give women any kind of major role in the Assassin’s Creed games.
Ubisoft released an Assassin’s Creed video that was celebrating the hidden blade, the signature weapon of the Assassin brotherhood. It did this by showing off many of the assassins who have used the weapon throughout the years.
Of course, it only featured male Assassin’s Creed protagonists, with no female representation whatsoever. Even the few female protagonists the series has offered up were completely left out of the video. Most notably absent was Eivor, the star of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, who can be either a male or female depending on the player’s choice.
We clearly missed some great assassins in this video, and we apologise. We've updated the asset to highlight ALL the assassins who master the hidden blade. Thanks to our passionate community for their input. pic.twitter.com/xqzL9Cd2yn
— Assassins Creed UK (@Assassins_UK) September 22, 2020
That put Ubisoft back on the defensive, issuing an apology in a tweet and releasing an updated video.
“We clearly missed some great assassins in this video, and we apologize,” the company said. “We’ve updated the asset to highlight ALL the assassins who master the hidden blade. Thanks to our passionate community for their input.”
The new version of the video included Eivor, along with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s Evie Frys, and Shao Jun from Assassin’s Creed Embers and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China.
While a move like this might have gone overlooked if it were done by a different company, the optics of Ubisoft omitting female characters after recent events is not good.
When your company is accused of vetoing several female protagonists because, “women don’t sell,” it’s not a good idea to feed into that stereotype.
Recently, the CEO of Ubisoft was forced to address the various controversies, appearing on Twitter in a video that aired before an online showcase event. He acknowledged the problems within his company and promised to do better in the future, creating games that everyone can enjoy.