In a "brotherhood" franchise dominated by male players, male protagonists, and male developers, Kassandra is the impossible female protagonist that nobody expected, including myself, a straight female player who always plays as male characters when given the choice, until Kassandra.
Was it a kind change of heart that these brotherhood developers think it is time we finally get the first standalone female protagonist after ten Assassin's Creed titles? Or was it a collective effort of marginalized developers that make Kassandra a reality? Based on what have been (and will be) exposed about Ubisoft's company culture, I would like to believe it is the later.
Art is a Self-Portrait
Video game is art. Whether the artist is aware of their own doings or not, their art is a self-reflection of who they are as a person. When you create something as an artist, some parts of you reside there; even if everything you do is per clients' requests, part of your soul is in that art piece. In this case, the artist is the publisher (Ubisoft) and the art piece is their game (Assassin's Creed). Remember #womenaretoohardtoanimate? That was Ubisoft in 2014. Before you side with Ubisoft, at least read what their former Animation Director, Jonathan Cooper, had to say about male and female animation and how animating women should only take a few days. Here is my favorite fun fact from the two articles: Aveline de Grandpré shares more of Connor Kenway's animations than Edward Kenway does, interesting isn't it? If you think Ubisoft ignored playable female assassins so they could make sure their AAA game had seamless gameplay upon release, I have (old) news for you, that AAA game was Assassin's Creed: Unity. For those like me who did not live this past, Assassin's Creed: Unity had a lot of game breaking bugs upon launch, such that Ubisoft had to offer free games in exchange for gamers to waive their right to sue to avoid a class action lawsuit. For a French video company to have their fictional historical game about France as the worst launch experience in the entire AC franchise is quite ironic (English doesn't have a word to describe this situation, but in Vietnamese, it's called "nghiệp quật", roughly translated to 'being planked by your own bad karma').
What does it say about a AAA international game publishing company that once said it is too much work for them to make ONE playable female character for co-op? I do not recall them having any issue with animating the female prostitutes in Assassin's Creed 2 however.
"Everything is Permitted" Corporate Culture
I always know why there is no playable female protagonist in Assassin's Creed. Not that prominent female historical figures did not exist. Though Ezio Auditore, Edward Kenway, or any other male protagonists never actually existed as historical figures but hey, Assassin's Creed is all about fictional history so I let that slide, along with the hidden gun that shoots multiple bullets while being attached under the forearm during the Renaissance. The Templars and the Assassins were never real neither, so I am not sure why is it so difficult for Ubisoft to create a fictional female character for a fictional organization. The franchise has an ancient civilization called Isu that created humans (sorry evolution), a metal ball that controls human mind, an Isu dude who has unlimited reincarnation, an Isu soul that wants to possess a human body because she does not want to live inside a computer server anymore, another metal ball that raises the dead, and the ability to go to the afterlife via tombs in Valley of The Kings (Tripadvisor is about to get a run for their money). Could it really be because animating women is too difficult? On the contrary, I believe their animators have the capabilities to animate women, but recent allegations about the misconducts by male employees at influential positions against women (some are fans, fans' girlfriends, and some are female employees within Ubisoft) explain a lot about the company's DNA and its true view on women. I will only touch on a few examples briefly because it is not the focus of this blog post, but you can read more in-depth about the allegations with the links I included below.
Still remember the #womenaretoohardtoanimate I discussed earlier? To be specific, the Creative Director of Ubisoft Montreal, Alexandre Amancio, was the Ubisoft representative in those articles. Would you like to make a guess on what he did to a woman at a Ubisoft party?
Alexandre, The Face-Licker (Links are embedded in the images, click on them to view the original tweets)
I decide to include this specific allegation because it happened with witnesses. Let's pause for a moment and think about how deep corruption runs within Ubisoft for a Creative Director of a prominent studio to do such a disgusting thing at a company event, in front of other staff members. If HR was impartial and there were proper policies in place regarding sexual harassment, this would have not happen in the first place. The fact that this Creative Director had the audacity to do this in plain sight and be able to retaliate when other women spoke up about his behaviors means two things: this was not his first time and HR was on his side.
I was born and raised in a country with the Corruption Perceptions Index score of 37/100 (as of 2019) and spent a good amount of time studying about corruption in graduate school, here's an interesting insight about corruption: it needs a network to function and thrive. Was Alexandre the only one bad apple? Of course not. There are more being named as more are empowered to speak up: Maxime Beland (Creative VP at Ubisoft Toronto), Tommy Francois (VP of Editorial and Creative Services at Ubisoft HQ in Paris), Poonam Tewari (HR Director at Ubisoft Toronto), Adrien Gbingnie aka Escoblades on Twitter (Product and Brand Marketing at Ubisoft Toronto), and Ashraf Ismali (Creative Director at Ubisoft Montreal). I am sure the list does not just stop here, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Come on Assassin's Creed fans, how do the Templars operate?
The common knee-jerk response often is: why didn't these women come to HR? Why does this dirty laundry has to be out in the open? Well guess what? Actually, do not guess please read the sources. These female employees did go to HR, but how could they get any fair resolution when the acting Head of HR the wife of said abuser (see Maxime Beland)? The best that Ubisoft HR could do was either firing those who complained or move the abusers to a different team where sexual harassment continued (we don't need the Oracle of Delphi to tell us this was going to happen). What other options do these female employees have besides social media? They need the ability to remain anonymous because the threat of retaliations is real and has happened. The ideal situation would be Ubisoft handles the sexual harassment complaints impartially back then, but they did not. There is a saying in Vietnamese, "thượng bất chính, hạ tắc loạn" (its Chinese equivalent is 上梁不正下梁歪), which means if the top (implying leadership) is not righteous, chaos is guaranteed down below. Based on what has been exposed so far, it is safe to say that the higher-ups at Ubisoft does live by the "Everything is Permitted" mantra. Ever wonder why a good portion of the fandom is toxic? Look no further than their Product and Brand Marketing Manager and Associate PR Director. There is no safe environment for anyone when these vile individuals are in the positions of power. But Colin, what does this have anything to do with having female protagonist in a video game? Well, this has everything do with having a playable, standalone female protagonist. Can you imagine individuals mentioned above letting a female protagonist to exist, while they are still disrespecting their female colleagues (and fans in some cases)? Can they even focus on making games when they spend most of their time at work to think about how to abuse their positions to satisfy their loins? Let's be honest, look at the franchise after Ezio trilogy. I personally have no faith when it comes to female protagonist, especially not after seeing what happened to Amunet.
The Women Who Came Before
I know Aveline de Grandpré from Assassin's Creed III: Liberation (Ubisoft Sofia) is technically the first playable female protagonist but I cannot consider her, because her game is a spin-off title of the franchise. How off was the spin? It was PS Vita off. Aveline does not have a full AAA game dedicated to her story. Next is Evie Frye from Assassin's Creed : Syndicate (Ubisoft Quebec), which is a AAA title. However, I cannot consider Evie neither because a lot of main campaign missions are locked for her twin brother, Jacob Frye and vice versa; though you can switch between the siblings during outside these assassin-locked missions. Assassin's Creed : Syndicate is more about two assassins, their stories complement one another to give players a full perspective. I am relatively new to the Assassin's Creed franchise as I started playing the Ezio trilogy barely two years ago, but from what I gather from the fandom, Ubisoft Quebec is what Vietnamese would call the "step-child" studio, whereas Ubisoft Montreal is the "real child" in the Ubisoft clan; one gets the scraps and the other gets Michelin star gourmet. For a less prominent studio in the hood to make the first step towards having a playable female character with a hybrid gameplay method, it looked promising, or so I thought when I first looked up ten Assassin's Creed titles in late 2017 (Assassin's Creed: Odyssey was not announced until a few months later). But then what happened to Amunet said otherwise.
Before playing Assassin's Creed 2, I know Bayek is the male protagonist for Assassin's Creed: Origins and Amunet is his wife from browsing Tumblr. Why is this information important you ask? Let's go back for a refresher if you are an old fan. For those who have not played AC2 before, it is a common knowledge that Assassin's Creed 2 is considered the holy bible of the franchise. In fact, if you tell a seasoned AC fan that you play other AC games but not AC2, you can visually see their soul leaving their body that instant. In the Sanctuary located underneath Mario Auditore's Villa (Uncle of Ezio Auditore, the main protagonist), there are a total of seven statues of legendary assassins: Qulan Gal, Darius, Wei Yu, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Amunet, Iltani, and Leonius.
Where is Bayek? Qulan Gal, Darius, Wei Yu, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Amunet, Iltani, and Leonius are the names on the statues, so where is Bayek?
I ask the same question as Uncle Mario showing Ezio around the Sanctuary but Bayek is not there, but his wife, Amunet, is. Now now, can it be that an architect that Uncle Mario say that eight statues are bad for the villa's feng shui, so they can have only seven statues? (just in case you can't tell, this is sarcasm). So I am left with a question: AC2 and AC: Origins are both made by Ubisoft Montreal, why would they go against their own holy bible that is AC2? If AC: Origins is set in Ancient Egypt, having Amunet has the main female protagonist makes the most sense since *gesturing at her statue in AC2*. Why would Ubisoft Montreal create a new character while *still gesturing at Amunet's statue in AC2*? Also, do not forget that Amunet "somehow" does not have eagle vision in AC: Origins during gameplay (you get to play as her in very limited missions), despite being a legendary assassin. Amunet is completely sidelined because she is a woman, even though she is canon according to the holy bible that is AC2. Don't get me wrong, AC: Origins is a fun game and the story is well-told, but in my mind, it is a game that screams, “Remember that badass female assassin we mentioned in AC2? We even had you go on a treasure hunt to get her seal. Here’s a full game about how badass her husband is. We’re sure she’s a great assassin since there’s a statue of her in the Auditore Sanctuary, but look at her husband! Look!” I neither hate nor love Bayek and I am actually very happy that I have a meh feeling towards this character, because learning where the game gets the idea to kill Khemu off basically ruins the experience for me (Just a thought: dishonoring the dead by misusing their name to manipulate others into having sex is not something will be weighted lightly against the Feather of Maat. To a certain someone: I'm sorry for ruining it for you by pointing out Bayek's resemblance to a certain high-ranking dev when you put him in a buzz cut and a beard). Once I see the statues in Auditore Sanctuary and how AC: Origins goes backward in regards to female protagonist compared to AC: Syndicate, I stop hoping; not that I really have any hope, I have seen the marketing materials throughout the years for ten titles.
Update for further clarification (7/24/20): As mentioned in the paragraph above, I compare Ashraf and Bayek on two premises (1) dead son (please read Dani's post about how Assraf takes advantage of the death of his son to gaslight and guilt women into a relationship with him, while being married with kids. In AC Origins, the death of Khemu - Bayek's son is used to make players sympathize with the character.) (2) hairstyle and beard (the specific styles that happened to be offered to players in AC Origins, however, this can just be coincidental like that one random female NPC introduced in AC Valhalla who happened to have the exact same hairstyle like Kassandra, causing a big confusion such that the writer for AC Valhalla had to personally explain the matter on Twitter). I admit the buzz cut and beard is a bit far-fetched, because player can change the hairstyle in the game (long hair) and remove the beard in-game, then the resemblance is no longer there. Playing with the hairstyle and beard customization in-game after reading Dani's and Avion's post is a big mistake on my part.
Colin's personal fun fact: Amunet was the first gigantic red flag about Ubisoft's ethics as a company that I noticed and I was not even in the gaming industry (still not, virtual photography does not count) or knew anyone in the industry. Again, art is a self-portrait. The "multicultural team of various beliefs, sexual orientations, and gender identities" splash screen says one thing, but the art shows another.
The Impossible Woman
After seeing how Amunet is treated, I have to check to see if the Sun is still rising from the East when I hear news that Kassandra is going to be a standalone female protagonist in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Yes, players can choose to play as Alexios but this time, it has to be one or the other, no more hybrid gameplay with locked mission like with Evie and Amunet. Additionally, something similar strikes me, it's that step-child studio again. I know Ubisoft Quebec had helped in other titles before, but Syndicate and Odyssey are the only two titles that they took the lead. Perhaps it is not strange at all, because the new kid on the block is often more open to try new things. This is entirely a personal guess based on what I have seen so far, I notice that Ubisoft Quebec does not have any allegation as an individual studio (there may be more allegations against Ubisoft that I'm not aware of so please feel free to correct me if I miss something). Correlation indeed does not mean causation, but the fact that both Evie and Kassandra are created by Ubisoft Quebec is an interesting correlation worth noting. Another interesting correlation: #womenaretoohardtoanimate, Aveline, and Amunet are Ubisoft Montreal's.
Update (8/14/2020): Ubisoft Quebec is no better, I was a fool to have high hopes (According to Gamasutra and their former intern).
I want to make it clear that this is not to excuse the horrendous things that Ubisoft leadership has been doing to their employees and fans (yes, fans are among the victims as well, how do you think they target their victims?) over the years just because now we have female protagonist. No, there is a systematic corruption network within the company and that needs to be addressed, either by Ubisoft or the court of law. However, I do not want to dismiss the blood, sweat, and tears the marginalized employees at Ubisoft put in to make Kassandra happen. Seeing how minority employees are being treated in the company as second class citizens, it is certainly not an easy feat to pull off. In fact, it will be a disservice to them if I fail to acknowledge their effort. They have everything stacked against them and yet, they made an impossible woman happen and I am forever grateful for that. They did not use "having to do double the work" as an excuse, the outdated 2014 engine did not stop them from making the most realistic female assassin ever if not more realistic than the male counterparts, they did not hyper-sexualize her, a hostile corporate culture and toxic fandom did not waver their determination. All of this is what I fucking respect.
But does that mean this is all over, now that we have Kassandra and soon, Female Eivor?
Absolutely not. Seeing that it takes Ubisoft a few days to issue an equivalent of "thoughts and prayers" statement foreshadows how they will handle the internal corruption. Moreover, the fact that cursed DLC for AC: Odyssey by Ubisoft Singapore to ever exist means that this is far from over. There are still misogynists and homophobes within the company and that disgrace of a DLC shows that female protagonists will still be mistreated for their existence. Art is a self-portrait, always is and always will. There is a huge difference in narrative quality when female/LGBTQIA/BIPOC developers write about Kassandra versus when a white dudebro from EA gets a hold of her story.
I hope that Female Eivor does not have to endure the mistreatment that Amunet and Kassandra went through, but realistically speaking, I have absolutely no hope for Ubisoft Montreal when it comes to this aspect. Fool me once *gesturing at Amunet*, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I'm sure seeing a buff, 6-foot tall Viking doing crazy parkour on rooftops and trees while being as quiet as a mouse in the tenth century would be fun (Did the Vikings really parkour according to history? I don't recall seeing that in any museum during my two weeks studying abroad in Sweden and Finland. Also, I'd like to remind you that Ubisoft Montreal once has Arno, you know, that French guy who speaks with perfect British English accent during the French Revolution.)
So far, we find out the existence of female Eivor through a preorder page, Cecilie Stenspil's Instagram post (she doesn't even have a Female Evior concept art to accompany her announcement with and she's the voice actress), and a pathetic sticker on Ubi Store. Ubisoft is still quiet about making any statement or any marketing materials for her. It does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure out where she stands in their brotherhood. There is another Vietnamese saying for today, "It is easier for nations/landscape to change than someone's personality to budge" (giang sơn dễ đổi, bản tính khó dời). Though I am more than happy to be proven wrong.
Update: I just saw the leaked 30-minute footage and see that Female Eivor is just basically a reskin of Kassandra, but whiter and slimmer. Can I, for once, be wrong with my lowest expectation for Ubisoft?
What About the Statistics?
Ah, the excuse as old as video games, the "putting women on game's cover and/or having them as a protagonist hurt sales." Then how does a game like The Last of Us Part II, which has a lesbian protagonist one the cover and another woman who has bigger biceps than Ezio's on their marketing materials, become the fastest selling PS4 exclusive ever, selling more than 4 million copies in the first 4 days on one platform? To put this into perspective, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, the most financially successful AC title sold 1.4 million copies in 7 days across three platforms. You know what? I am adding in Assassin's Creed: Origins sales as well because we need another man to help with sales figures. Since I cannot find an exact number, but it is known that AC: Odyssey beats AC: Origins during launch week worldwide, so I will be generous and estimate 1.39 million copies for AC: Origins, that's still only 2.79 million copies total in 7 days across three platforms. I suppose if we take micro-transactions into account, Assassin's Creed may have the upper hand; but if it takes a pandemic, major game spoilers, review bombings, two AAA games with dudes on the front cover (Alexios and Bayek), and micro-transactions to beat The Last of Us Part II sales, I consider that a win for female protagonist. In terms of quality, the game that will be remembered as the game of the generation will most likely be The Last of Us Part II, meanwhile, any Assassin's Creed title for this gen will continue to be just another not-AC2 game that can never get out of AC2's shadow. Assassin's Creed is no longer the franchise that sets the industry standards.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is another example. Despite being a brand new IP with a female lead that nobody knows about, made by a small studio in Amsterdam, Horizon: Zero Dawn has sold over 10 million copies in a similar time as Breath of the Wild. Let me back up and say it again: Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that nobody had ever heard of before that has a female protagonist, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the legend that is Zelda (pun intended)? Furthermore, Horizon: Zero Dawn will be coming to PC soon so sales will only get better. You know what else happened in 2017? Horizon: Zero Dawn was up against other goliathan franchises such as Zelda, Persona, Super Mario, and PUBG for The Game Awards's Game of The Year title (where was Assassin's Creed: Origins, fishing for fans for more 'personally get to know you better'?). Breath of the Wild wins GOTY (no surprise here) but the existence of Horizon: Zero Dawn presents another counter argument against "putting women on game's cover and/or having them as a protagonist hurt sales".
How about critics scores? Quality matters too. Well, Horizon: Zero Dawn receives 89 and 8.4, whereas Assassin's Creed: Origins receives 81 and 7.2 for Metascore and User Score, respectively. Both games are also released in 2017. It is also important to note that there are more critic reviews and user scores for Horizon: Zero Dawn (115 and 8,276) than there are for Assassin's Creed: Origins (63 and 2,336). Statistically speaking, the larger the sample size, the more reliable the average calculation because it is more difficult for outliers to skew the data. The ratings are limited to PS4 because Horizon: Zero Dawn is a PS4 exclusive game at the time of this writing.
Another female lead game that is also published in 2017 and is nominated for 5 The Game Awards's Categories and wins three of them is Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Besides having a female protagonist and having no celebrity in the cast, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a brand new IP that portrays a taboo topic, mental illness, which is definitely more challenging to make than a game about a group of dudes hopping rooftops with mind-controlling/dead-raising/immortality metal balls. Assassin's Creed: Origins gets ONE nomination and doesn't even win that one, in case you want to know. In addition, Hellblade was a self-funded project by an independent publisher. Ninja Theory had every financial pressure to go with the safer route by having a male protagonist, but they "were only concerned with creating a character that's right for our story." Rather than patching stories together to fit the poster boy image in hope for better sales, Ninja Theory's decision to create a character that fits their meaningful narrative pays off. Regarding reviews, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice wins in both metacritic score and user score.
In terms of sales, I cannot do a direct comparison because one is a local indie developer and the other is an international corporation. Both starting development around 2014, Ninja Theory has only 20 people working at a given time, while Ubisoft has three AAA studios: Ubisoft Montreal (about 3,800), Ubisoft Sofia (180+), and Ubisoft Bucharest (apparently they consider 1,800 a small number). Because Ubisoft makes multiple AAA games at a time, let's say about 20 percent of their total staff works on AC, that is still more than one thousand people. So, 20 versus 1,156 is the difference in scale that we are looking at, about 57.8 times. Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot, estimates that "the average production budget for the generation of games following Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would be $60 million." At $60 a piece, that's still 10 million copies that need to be sold (excluding microtransactions) to breakeven. Does that mean AC: Origins sells at least 50 times better than Hellblade? Actually no. As of 15 May, 2020, AC Origins has sold more than 10 million copies; Hellblade passes its one million copies mark on 22 June, 2019. Ninja Theory breaks even half a year ahead of schedule and then basically gets a ROI (return on investment) rate of 2:1 after 10 months of release. Ubisoft does not release any breakeven or ROI figures specifically to AC: Origins so I cannot comment on this aspect, but Hellblade sounds like a narrative and financial success for a brand new IP, made by an indie studio, with a female lead to portray something that no interactive media has attempted before: mental illness.
The Last of Us Part II, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice defy this classic excuse. It is not the gender of the protagonist that is the sole reason for a game's supposedly poor sales. If a game nails other aspects such as narrative and gameplay, as demonstrated by these three games, then the protagonist's gender does not matter. Look at AC Unity, it has a white French dude speaking perfect British English as the protagonist and yet it fails miserably. So the protagonist's gender isn't THE deciding factor, is it? After what I have discussed earlier about Ubisoft's toxic company culture, can you imagine them having the capability to tell compelling stories for female protagonists? Amunet and Kassandra (that abomination DLC specifically) are proofs that Ubisoft does not have competent narrative team leads. Instead of saying "putting women on game's cover and/or having them as a protagonist hurt sales", what companies like Ubisoft mean is, "We do not have the competence to make games that have compelling stories involving female protagonist because our dev team is full of misogynists, so when the sales of the game is bad, we blame it on the gender of the protagonist instead."
Dear Ubisoft, if you have not chased away your female/BIPOC/LGBTQIA writers with your toxic work environment already, please put them in charge of writing for characters who are not your typical dudebros with a cliché sad past and the "I don't want it" mentality when it comes to the creed.
But Colin, those are non-Ubisoft games, you can't compare Fuji apple versus Red Delicious apple, why would Ubisoft care to make a female protagonist if there are only one-third of players choose Kassandra anyway? Good question, but have you ever wondered the context how this number was generated? Let's take a look at two things: method and timing.
I personally take data with a lot of salt if there is no information about how the data is acquired and compiled being presented along with the data. As someone who has both Kassandra and Alexios saves on both PS4 and PC versions, I wonder how did Ubisoft decide which save matter? Did they just go with players' very first choice and the rest are not counted? Or did they tally up all the existing saves (manual, quick, and auto) and then see whether Kassandra or Alexios has more grand total amount? Or did they go with the save that a player spends the most hours in? How about those who own legitimate copy but play offline? What about people who share the game in their household (i.e. husband plays as Alexios on save #1, while wife plays as Kassandra on save #2)? There are also players who simply do not care for either and many have game saves for both, how will they be accounted for? Without information about how these numbers were generated, I am more incline to be suspicious.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey was released on 5 October 2018 and the earliest date that I have seen this statistics surfaced online was 14 December 2018, so I will choose the week before as the date that this data was generated which is 7 December 2018, a little over two months after the game's release; though it probably took Ubisoft longer than that to compile their data across three platforms (Xbox, PS4, and PC), present it to their teams and leadership before telling the media about this figure.
We all know that Ubisoft's marketing strategy primarily focuses on the male protagonist, Alexios. Little were shown about Kassandra. The game's front box art is Alexios, most of the posters feature Alexios, the commercials have Alexios, the Collector's, Pantheon, Spartan, and Medusa Edition all have Alexios statues. If there are any marketing materials for Kassandra, which is rare, none of them actually looks like how she looks in-game (wonder how I started my virtual photography journey with Kassandra?). I personally did not buy AC: Odyssey early on because I did not like how poster Kassandra looked; she looked like she was Frankenstein-ed together by a few different people. The point I'm trying to get to is if you are trying to sell a product (AC: Odyssey) and you bombard your customers with a suggestive choice (Alexios), your customers would most likely take on your subliminal recommendation. Ubisoft pours the majority of their marketing budget on Alexios, why are they surprised more players choose Alexios?
Moreover, what about players who regret their choice as Alexios? I am a moderator of an AC: Odyssey group with more than 13,000 members and a question that comes up a lot (from men, interestingly) is: Can I switch to Kassandra without losing my exp and resources? New Game + mode was released on February 2019, well over two months after the statistic above was generated (December 2018); this means players who change their mind were not counted.
Another way to be able to tell how popular a character among players is by looking at the mods available for that character. The PC player base is most likely not as large as console player base (this is an assumption because Ubisoft does not break down their sales figures by platform), but I am very certain that when PC players download these mods below, it is less likely that they want to see Alexios's bum (he has one mod that makes it to the top 20, ranking at #14). All these mods were released between one to nine months after the statistics about players' choice were already finalized. To be completely transparent, I mark which software the mods run on (Forger or Resorep), because Forger only works with legitimate copies, so note that a percentage of these numbers (I cannot say how many) would not matter to Ubisoft because they do not make money off of pirated copies. Again, mods may not make a big difference if we lump the numbers with console players, but it is still worth noticing. Assassin's Creed is a title that is notoriously well-known to be difficult to mod (as an AC: Odyssey modder myself, I can confirm this), but now that it is possible to mod, would it affect player's choice when it comes to protagonist?
After Assassin's Creed: Odyssey has been out for a year, Ubisoft puts out some statistics about the players after one year, but interestingly, there is no updated statistics on players' protagonist choice, but we get detailed numbers such as percentage of players who found the cyclops eyes twice and most frequently used abilities. Judging by the fact that Female Eivor is a protagonist option, I would take a guess and say that Ubisoft did run the numbers again and this time, more than one third of players choose Kassandra. As discussed earlier, Ubisoft Montreal goes against their own holy bible/AC2 to sideline Amunet before, I refuse to believe that they now give players a female protagonist out of the goodness of their rotten heart, especially when their leadership has not changed since AC: Origins. Ubisoft's top priority is profit. Can't you tell after how they treat their own employees who are not part of the clan? Ubisoft won't spend the extra money and effort to make Female Eivor unless they see capitalization opportunities. Something is up with the data. Again, I am more than happy to be proven wrong though.
Since I have nothing to lose for guessing wrong, I would say 45 percent of players choose Kassandra now that the game is almost two years old. There is no way to verify if I am wrong anyway, haha.
To the Impossible Malákes, thank you!
Now that I know how the working environment at Ubisoft truly looks like, I want to thank each and every one of you who make Kassandra possible. You have everything stacked against you and yet, you make an impossible woman happen. To the female, BIPOC, LGBTQIA devs, and their allies, thank you all. As a straight female player who always plays as male characters when given the choice, I never knew I needed Kassandra until I saw her gifs and fanart on Tumblr and my life has never been the same since.
Ngàn vạn lần xin chân thành cảm ơn (sincerely thank you, thousands, tens of thousands over).