Ubisoft‘s marketing team reportedly refused to let Kassandra be a lone female protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, allegedly telling the game’s developers that women don’t sell. The news comes amid a report that the company mishandled sexual misconduct claims in the workplace.
A Bloomberg report claims that several employees have come forward anonymously to describe how the company had “ignored, mishandled, or undermined” complaints. This report was published after Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated that changes would be made to the company, after a number of employees had spoken out against being mistreated by its staff.
As reported by Jason Schreier noted in a separate tweet, he had also been informed that Ubisoft’s marketing team had decided against Kassandra being the only playable character in the game, due to a belief that a female protagonist would harm sales. Kassandra was then joined by Alexios, the game’s male protagonist.
Among many details I learned while reporting this piece: the developers of Assassin's Creed Odyssey wanted Kassandra to be the only playable lead, but Ubisoft's marketing team and creative lead Serge Hascoët wouldn't allow it. Women don't sell, they said. https://t.co/67689QMHbr
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 21, 2020
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey released in 2018, after the release of the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn, one of the PS4’s best-selling single-player games and strongest new IPs, which also had a female lead. Recently, we’ve seen The Last of Us 2 star female lead characters and smash sales records for the console.
Ubisoft didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment on its report, but these fresh claims continue to highlight major internal issues within the company. It recently underwent a major restructure following misconduct allegations (via PlayStation LifeStyle), including the resignation of its COO Serge Hascoët.