12 June 2014

That Ubisoft Thing

If there's one thing I don't blow nearly enough then it's probably my own trumpet (NOISES OFF: Friends and family ROFLTAO). It is certainly true that if you are related to me, or you are in my circle of trust, then there is really no space for doubt regarding how boss the thing I'm working on right now is. Despite this I don't tend to wander into random gatherings spouting off about how great my stuff is, often because that's frowned upon as a social faux pas, but also because it's a tricky thing to get right.

You know, like putting a female protagonist into a video game.

As any one nearby will attest I am a massive Assassin's Creed fan, the reasons for which actually have something to do with history. Although I fully accept that most of what happens in any given AC game is made up tosh there are nuggets of actual history in there, to the extent that the series has been accused of Forrest Gump-ing its way through swathes of history inserting Scowly McPointysleeves (as all AC protagonists are secretly named) into every major event in the historical era in which they existed.

So you do need to be able to discriminate what was made up from what is really true, the joy of it is that I'm not entirely sure some of the time where the history ends and the making stuff up begins. You get character bios for real historical figures (e.g. Paul Revere in ACIII) but you also get bios for people like the Assassin Recruits you conscript into your order. Are these people real? I don't actually know. How many of the main bad guys really existed, I would have to check. That's the delight for me... I would have to check. I can't clearly call some game artifacts lies without looking them up for myself. That's an effective blurring of fact and fiction right there.

So, anyway, apparently the publisher of the series, Ubisoft, are in a bit of bother regards their non-inclusion of female protagonists in two of their major franchises. You can read about the fuss in a sober, reflective tone here and in a more sarcastic and satirical one here. And a right mess it all is.

In The Elias Anomaly I imagined a artificial reality generated by a quantum super-computer as the ultimate open world theme park. I didn't realise that the most far-fetched part of that imagined scenario would be that my female protagonist would enter the game world in a female avatar. So, in short, check out The Elias Anomaly for a vision of an inclusive future to gaming.

Trumpet Blown.

Thoughts on the protagonists in AC games to follow in another post.

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