Ashley Johnson, the voice of The Last of Us’ Ellie, has criticized Ubisoft over the company’s recent statements about the lack of playable female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity.
“I was like, ‘Give me a f***ing break! It’s 2014! How many video games do you have to make to realise maybe have an option to have a female be in there?’” Johnson told Videogamer in an interview. “And maybe not just on PS Vita,” by which Johnson is probably referring to Aveline de Grandpré, the female protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Liberation, initially exclusive to Sony’s handheld.
“But it did make me upset,” she said. “There are so many female gamers…I don’t know what the percentage is at this point but there are a lot of females that play video games and it would be nice to see stronger females in a game that are not just the damsel in distress, the love interest or she’s oversexualised. She doesn’t even necessarily have to be a badass. Just like a normal female character.”
Johnson is correct in assuming there is huge number of female gamers. As pointed out in a recent Reality Check episode, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association, out of 1.2 billion gamers worldwide 48 percent are female and 52 percent are male.
Ubisoft technical director James Therien said during E3 2014 that female characters were going to be included in Assassin’s Creed Unity, but were scrapped because of the additional work that would have been involved. Ubisoft laterissued a formal statement on the matter, saying the company recognizes the “valid concern around diversity in video game narrative.”
Developers from Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft, and Paradox Interactive have all sounded off on the issue, but the best commentary yet might be the from the two brilliant cosplayers above, dressed in cardboard boxes that have the words “BOOBS?” and “2 HARD TO RENDER” written on them. The photocomes from Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian, and was taken during the GaymerX2 conference.