Ex-Assassin’s Creed animator slams Ubisoft's female character excuses

Written by David Hing

June 12, 2014 // 11:48 a.m.

Tags: #assassins-creed-unity #e3 #jonathan-cooper #naughty-dog #ubisoft

Animation work on a female assassin model for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity would take ’a day or two’s work’ according to former series animation director Jonathan Cooper.

Over Twitter, Cooper responded to comments from Ubisoft that playable female assassins were not included in the game, set in a sprawling open-world explorable Paris, because of resource and production issues.

He stated that it would not require the replacement of an estimated 8,000 animations that Ubisoft is suggesting and that it would instead be as simple as creating a female animation skeleton and replacing key animations.

Following Ubisoft’s press conference featuring Assassin’s Creed Unity, talking to Polygon the publisher argued that female assassins would require twice as many animations, voices and visual assets, a strain that is exasperated by the assassins being customisable.

By contrast, the solution that Cooper outlines would involve mapping male animations onto the female character and replacing animations such as walks and runs. This was the method that was used in Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation which featured a female main character and borrowed a lot of the animations from Assassin’s Creed 3’s male protagonist.

Cooper, currently at Naughty Dog, was previously animation director for Assassin’s Creed 3 and prior to that had worked as the lead animator for titles including Mass Effect 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Ubisoft revealed more details for the next entry in the Assassin’s Creed series during its E3 press conference earlier this week, most notably that it would feature four-player co-op mode with customisable assassins. The studio has received a lot of criticism following the reveal for its decision to exclude female playable characters.

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