Multiple Assassin’s Creed Games Were Meant to Have Female Protagonists

Assassin’s Creed has only ever had one solo female protagonist, but it appears there might have been more planned.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always had men as its lead protagonist. Altair, Ezio, Connor, Edward, Arno, Jacob, Bayek, and Alexios have led nearly every main entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and have dwarfed the female assassins. Aveline, Evie, and Kassandra have been the only female protagonists in mainline entires. Of those three, only Aveline has been the starring character. Both Evie and Kassandra had to share the spotlight with their male counterparts (Jacob and Alexios, respectively). So, why haven’t there been more female characters?

In a tell-all expose by Jason Schreier on Bloomberg, Schreier breaks down the company’s legacy of systemic sexism at the hands of numerous executives. This sexism ultimately boiled down to numerous titles, including the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate originally split play time time equally between Jacob and Evie, but ultimately altered in favor of Jacob. Meanwhile, Assassin’s Creed Origins was supposed to injure or kill Bayek early into the game with his wife, Aya, becoming the main protagonist. Ultimately, her role was cut down and Bayek remained the protagonist.

Things really came to a head in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. According to Schreier, the team made a big push to make Kassandra the main protagonist. Ubisoft ultimately rejected that, and Alexios became a playable option. Though Ubisoft made Kassandra the canon choice, the marketing department focused nearly entirely on promoting Alexios. Something very similar is happening with the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. That game features both male and female versions of Eivor, though Ubisoft is heavily promoting the male version.

These directives came down from Ubisoft’s marketing department or from Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët. Both have suggested that female-led games don’t sell well, which ignores hugely successful titles like Tomb Raider, Horizon Zero Dawn, or the recently released The Last of Us Part II among other titles. Hascoët has since stepped down from his position, along with multiple other executives.

Ubisoft has gone under heavy scrutiny over the past few months by allegations of abuse and harboring a toxic work culture. CEO Yves Guillemot has since brought in a consulting firm to audit and revise HR policies, fired multiple executives, and pledged to build a more inclusive work environment. Whether Ubisoft can shed its dark past and build a better workplace remains a mystery.