The Assassin's Creed Sisterhood movement explained
We would like to take this opportunity to give you some more information about the Assassin’s Creed Sisterhood movement (#ACSisterhood), what we stand for, our goals and future plans.
1) The Context:
For context purposes, there has been a wave of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations involving women at Ubisoft and women in the community. In addition to this, it has also been revealed that many women in Assassin’s Creed games themselves were forced into diminished roles and developers working on the games were mis-treated by certain individuals. For example, Aya was meant to be the lead protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Evie was meant to have equal play time to that of Jacob and Kassandra was meant to be the sole protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. These creative ideas were scrapped by certain “higher-ups” in Ubisoft on the basis that “women do not sell”.
There are many amazing, strong women in the Assassin’s Creed universe. What is however undeniable is that there has not been a single, fixed female protagonist in any main release to date. Yes, Odyssey and Valhalla do give the player a choice, but it is now clear that this choice mechanism is as a direct result of certain higher ups wanting a male lead alongside a woman to ensure that the games “sell”. What we do not have is a single female protagonist in a main game where her story and her character development alone is explored. The choice option presents the player with the same story, regardless of gender and it is arguable that this approach does not allow for exploration of character traits specific to women, which has the potential to excel the story and the connection between the player and the protagonist.
There is also evidence that these amazing women (and their stories) are often “sidelined” into transmedia, or handheld consoles or, do not get as much focus in marketing campaigns. Kassandra, for example, is the canon protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. However, Alexios dominated the marketing campaign and he is on the cover of the game. Assassin’s Creed Liberation, starring Aveline (one of the two, leading female protagonists of the franchise) was released alongside Assassin’s Creed 3, with a fraction of the marketing and budget. Shao Jun, who plays a massive role in the lore (particularly with Ezio) was shoved into a side scroller (a series which was marketed with 2 other males leads - Arbaaz Mir and Nikolai Orelov). Ubisoft also appears to have taken a similar approach with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where male Eivor was showcased first, with female Eivor “leaked” by way of a sticker and figurine and officially showcased later on.
We believe that women deserve better treatment and representation – both in game and in the studios and for this reason, AC Sisterhood was born.
2) What is AC Sisterhood?
AC Sisterhood is a community led initiative and our purpose is:
i) to highlight, appreciate and support the women (including those who identify as women) in the Assassin’s Creed Universe, the community and development teams, creating a safe space for women
ii) to help to push for meaningful change by way of better representation for women in Assassin’s Creed games and for better treatment of women within the company.
Our logo is a tribute to all the amazing women in the community and at Ubisoft. We see you, we appreciate you and we stand by you. The use of the snake is a tribute to Amunet - one of the characters that suffered a diminished role at the hands of some Ubisoft execs. Snakes are also symbols of rebirth, transformation and healing, which fits the message of AC Sisterhood.
3) What this movement is NOT about
There have been a number of false statements on social media about the movement. AC Sisterhood:
i) is not a direct attack on the brotherhood. We appreciate all male assassins in the Assassin’s Creed universe. We are not looking to cancel them or replace them with females. Nor are we asking for all previous games to be remade with female leads or to stop using the word “brotherhood”. Our name is simply a play on words
ii) is not a movement just for women, or those who identify women. We welcome ALL who respect and share our goals
iii) is not asking for all protagonists in future games to be female
iv) is not an attack on those in the community who chose to play as a male in games where choice is available. We respect your choices
v) is not a boycott of Ubisoft. We know that Ubisoft is capable of doing better and many want Ubisoft to do better. We are hoping that this movement highlights the need for internal change so that women in the company can shine. All women deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace.
We understand that this is a sensitive topic and that debate/conversation can be heated. We urge you to at least try to educate those who challenge the movement in a respectful manner. It may be the case that some are not aware as to why this space is so desperately needed.
4) Future Plans
We are working behind the scenes to set up a discord which will be a safe place for this community. This platform will be heavily moderated to ensure the safety of its members.
More details will be released soon.
We are also exploring the possibility of podcasts and livestreams which will highlight and showcase the women in the games as well as our incredible community members.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support so far. The response has been overwhelming! We need to ensure that we keep shouting so that we can push for the change this space so desperately needs. Please make sure to keep using the #ACSisterhood tag on social media to help spread the word.