Ubisoft And The Mistreatment Of Women In The Games Industry


Brandon Ramirez / El Paisano Media

This disclaimer plays before Unity. It, like the other disclaimers, implies the diversity of the development. Despite the ideas and cultures being explored in the games, a lot of seems to have been for show in hindsight.

I’ve been on a bit of an Assassin’s Creed kick lately. I finally got around to watching the movie, and picked up Unity on sale. Unity has been on my list of “games I want” since its release and with a price of $5 I figured why not? Unity released back in 2014, and was placed in the French Revolution. It was such a turbulent time, full of unrest, change, and death. It fit the bill for an Assassin’s Creed setting, there was even a famous assassin from the era in real life. Her name was Charlotte Corday, and she famously murdered Murat in his tub. 

But she wasn’t the main character, the main character wasn’t even based on her. This probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it ignited a trend of Assassin’s Creed’s fanbase questioning the lack of female leads. We now know leaders at developer Ubisoft thought a woman couldn’t be lead. And we know a lot more about them now, too. 

Ubisoft’s Issues With Women

Before every Assassin’s Creed game, a disclaimer explaining the diversity of the development staff appears during the opening roll. Now it seems ironic. Last year, the boys-club culture of Ubisoft came to the forefront of industry news. In an article by the Verge, it was revealed that 1 in 4 employees had experienced or seen workplace misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexism, and racism). this also hit one of the faces of the company. Ashraf Ismail was creative director for Assassin’s Creed. He was the face of Ubisoft’s biggest project, AC Origins.

Even still, Ubisoft continues a trend of resisting a fully female led game. This is a symptom to a wider problem of mistreatment. This isn’t exclusive to the games industry, but to me I feel like there’s something we can directly do. Video games are art, and everyone has a place in this art form, and it’s important to take a stand to make games more inclusive and keep them inclusive. More than that, it’s important to remember that there are victims in these situations. I barely scratched the surface here, even with regards to just Ubisoft there was much more that went on. Stand by victims, and listen to voices that would otherwise be silenced. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent this toxic and dangerous culture to continue in the games industry and in society as a whole.