Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden – the quintessential gritty white man – is among a handful of characters criticised for their blandness. Ubisoft is taking that criticism on board, and thinking about producing more diverse characters.
Although Watch Dogs itself seems to be selling strongly, reaction to its characters – especially Aiden – has been mixed, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot admitted to CVG.
“We knew it would be polarising; some people loved the characters and some didn’t. It was difficult to please everybody with that character,” he said.
“Now, having seen the reaction, we know what we will do next to improve that.”
In fact, Aiden isn’t guaranteed to return for Watch Dogs 2.
“I can’t say because I don’t know actually. We’ll see,” he said.
CVG challenged Guillemot on the common video game protagonist trope of “angry white man”, and Guillemot acknowledged the problem.
“We are working on that. We want to spend more time on the worlds and characters in our games,” he said.
“You will see more and more of this at Ubisoft. We’ll try to be less like we have been in the past with some characters. We’ll try to extend more diversity.”
Hopefully Guillemot is talking about improving Ubisoft’s approach to character building and story-telling, rather than just throwing a few more token “diverse” characters in the mis. While it’d be great to see more women, people of colour and alternate sexualities in mainstream games of course, but it’d also be wonderful to see games treat characters of all kinds as real people rather than one-dimensional stereotypes.