'You know what would have been really awesome? Four women'

Desilets: Increased workload shouldn’t stop creation of female characters

The increased workload of creating playable female characters in games alongside male counterparts should not stop developers from doing it, says former Assassin’s Creed designer Patrice Desilets.

Controversy erupted last week after Ubisoft technical director James Therien suggested making a female character for AC: Unity would double the amount of work.

But speaking to Polygon, Desilets felt with all the time, money and people currently working on the game, Ubisoft could have handled the extra work.

"You know what would have been really awesome? Four women," he said. "Then people would be like, ‘Wow, they’ve got big balls.’ Imagine four girls. It would have been really a strong message of what Assassin’s Creed Unity is about."

A number of animators have toldDevelop that the additional animations and models of making a female avatar does increase the workload, but said there were a number of ways around this, such as reusing animations.

“As an animator, in my experience (on productions much, much smaller than nine-studio collaborations), the Creed team could easily retarget animations at run-time on skeletal structures that are similar," said an indie animator working on indie games.

"A company with super-advanced tech and tools and triple-A experience must have the ability to easily deal with lots of animation data and retarget it across multiple rigs.

"They could use most or some of the male animations. It may not always look super perfect for a female-shaped assassin, but for the amount of clothes and weapons that sit on top of that structure, it could work. Some of the takedowns will have to change and maybe walks."

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