Far Cry 4 was "inches away" from including playable female characters

In my mind's eye, every hero in every Far Cry game from now until the end of time will be a meathead in a Hawaiian shirt. You might envision him differently. You might even envision him as a her, and if so you'll be probably less than thrilled to find out that you came tantalizingly close to actually playing Far Cry 4 that way, before "workload issues" brought it all to a halt.

"It's really depressing because we almost... 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," Far Cry 4 Director Alex Hutchinson told 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."

Talking is one thing, but does a woman walk and jump fundamentally differently than a man? There may be some minor differences in gait or posture, I suppose, but would getting a woman in there really take all that much work? I wouldn't think to argue with an experienced developer like Hutchinson, but it does bear mentioning that Jonathan Cooper, the animation director on Assassin's Creed III, said yesterday that adding female assassins to the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Unity would take just "a day or two's work."

The good news, such as it is, is that the situation is changing. "I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away. 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," Hutchinson said. "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."

To learn more about why this stuff matters, have a look at Tim Clark's thoughts on why the absence of playable female characters in videogames is more than just "unfortunate."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.