Far Cry 4 nearly had playable female characters but then Ubisoft – wait for it, wait for it – wrote it off as “a workload issue”.
This admission that the Far Cry 4 team is under too much pressure to find the time to draw ladies follows on from the disastrous PR fumble of the Assassins Creed: Unity team saying putting women in games is just too much work.
Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson said his team actually ‘did their best’ to make female characters happen.
“It’s really depressing because we were inches away from having you be able to select a girl or a guy as your co-op buddy when you invite someone in,” he confessed to Polygon.
“And it was purely a workload issue because we don’t have a female reading for the character, we don’t have all the animations, and so it was this weird issue where you could have a female model that walked and talked and jumped like a dude,” he added.
Heaven forbid a woman move in a similar way to a man. Everyone knows all women are built on exactly the same willowy sashaying sexbot lines – exotic creatures so far removed from the default human state (huge hulking men who walk like they have rockets strapped to their crotches) that they are simply unrecognisable. Ubisoft, you great pillocks, this is sarcasm again.
Hutchinson seems to be much more aware of how unsatisfactory this whole situation is, though, and looking forward to better times.
“I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away,” he said.
“As we get better technology and we plan for it in advance and we don’t have a history on one rig and all this sort of stuff. We had very strong voices on the team pushing for that and I really wanted to do it, we just couldn’t squeeze it in in time. But on the other hand we managed to get more of the other story characters to be women.
“We did our best. It’s frustrating for us as it is for everybody else, so it’s not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done.”
As much as I’d like to pat Hutchinson on the back and stroke his hand and hold a handkerchief up to catch his precious tears, that comment about planning in advance made me bite a pencil in half.
If Ubisoft sat down in its pre-production meetings and thought about women as an essential part of the human race to be built into the project from day one, there would be no ridiculous talk of lack of resources or running out of time. It’s only when female characters are treated as an optional, extraneous add-on to video games that they fall prey to budgeting and managerial decisions about how best to spend time.
“Mate, I know the game is a few months from beta and all that and we’re supposed to have everything finished, but what if, right – what if we put a chick in?”
“A chick, mate? Now, mate? But we’ve just spent 18 months lovingly crafted pectoral muscle animations and putting shine on biceps! We don’t have another 18 months to make a second character! Why didn’t you say something two years ago, you great mumpty?”
“Yeah mate, sorry mate. It’s just I saw a woman on the street today and it reminded me briefly that they exist at all.”
I don’t know why I imagine all Ubisoft game developers are male Australian comedians circa 1998, but I do, and it’s canon now. Also canon: apparently all Ubisoft decision are made by some great big sneering beard in the sky, and everybody who works there is deeply depressed by this anonymous being’s failure to support their personal beliefs about how the game should have been built from day one. (Actually, that one sounds pretty believable, since everyone who’s ever had an office job knows that the moment you move into management you are professionally required to manifest as much ignorant obstruction as possible at every opportunity.)
Far Cry 4 hits PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in November and will make millions of dollars, just like Assassin’s Creed: Unity. In co-op in both games, all players play as the same character, which is apparently more acceptable and less ridiculous than the concept of women existing and having a nice time blowing shit up.