From BioWare’s Problem with Scope to Ubisoft’s Problem with Women

Assassin's Creed Unity

Hello, Escapist readers! As part of our partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we’ll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let’s hit it!

In case you somehow missed it, this past week hosted the annual E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) trade fair.

One of the biggest media storms of the expo, however, began when Ubisoft Creative Director Alex Amanico said in an interview with Polygon that the addition of playable female characters in Assassins Creed: Unity had proved too costly to include. Promptly and deservedly, the Internet called BS on Amanico. Of particular interest, Rhea Monique refers backs on a time in the not-so-distant past (the late 1990s and early 2000s) when the inclusion of women was status quo.

Prompted by the trailer for the new Tomb Raider game in which Lara Croft is seen undergoing therapy, Gamasutra’s Leigh Alexander notes the double standard in games whereby:

When you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.

While Alexander is careful not to dismiss the importance of examining mental health or trauma in games or the importance of allowing female playable characters to show their emotional depth by being more than “strong,” she laments that games are “still largely populated by men who feel unsure about how to write and build nuanced women.”

Speaking of big news from E3, Ontological Geek’s Bill Coberly worries that Dragon Age: Inquisition will fix all the wrong problems by conflating Dragon Age 2‘s liberal reuse of environments (bad) with its deliberate choice to reduce the game’s scope (good).

Finally, Jesper Juul, ludologist extraordinaire, investigates the feeling of ‘impostor syndrome’ in games and how when our subjective expectations for a game are not met, we are more incentivized to seek flaws in the game itself.

Want more? Be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!


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