Ubisoft took some heat during E3 over the absence of a playable female character in Assassin's Creed Unity, and even more so for the lame excuse it offered up to justify it. Some people also found questionable its use of a helpless suburban housewife as the hostage in the impressive Rainbow Six: Siege trailer , and the hero of the hit Watch Dogs is noteworthy primarily because, as a typically generic white male, he is not noteworthy at all.
White guys have done a pretty good job over the years of saving the world, the galaxy and civilization as we know it, but Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot acknowledges that it's time to give someone else a shot. "We knew [Watch Dogs and Aiden Pearce] would be polarizing. Some people loved the characters and some didn't," he told CVG . "It was difficult to please everybody with that character. Now, having seen the reaction, we know what we will do next to improve that."
"We want to spend more time on the worlds and characters in our games... you will see more and more of this at Ubisoft," he said. "We'll try to be less like we have been in the past with some characters. We'll try to extend more diversity."
The tricky bit for Ubisoft is that "more diversity" is not necessarily synonymous with "pleasing everybody." It's unquestionably a worthwhile goal, but is Guillemot serious about making a change, or is he just paying it lip service and waiting for the storm to blow over? "We'll try" is easy to say, but "we will" is another matter entirely. Let's hope it does.