Videogames have always been subject to controversy, whether it’s for ethical or moral reasons, or how things in the game are represented.
I will be analysing the Assassins Creed series for it’s use of many unique characters from around the world. Before I begin going into detail, it’s worth mentioning that Ubisoft has a disclaimer when you start up any AC game, stating that the game was created by a multicultural team of people with different beliefs; with AC Syndicate it also mentions people of different sexual orientations and gender identities. The purpose behind this is because the games are historically accurate to the time period, though with some creative licence, and this may put different religions, especially Christanity and Judaism in a bad light from how historical characters are represented, and some may take offence to this. The disclaimer is aimed at discouraging claims against the company, because the team themselves believe in those religions and are not trying to make a statement against them.
The first thing I will be looking at is how race has been represented in the games.
As I mentioned before, the characters from the Assassins creed franchise are from across the globe. For example, Ezio Auditore da Firenze was from Renaissance Italy, Altair was Syrian-born, Jacob and Evie Frye were both British, Connor was a native American and Arno Dorian was French. Each of these characters have a deep backstory and are portrayed as strong, heroic characters. In Assassin’s Creed 4, you play as Edward Kenway – A welsh-born privateer-turned-pirate. The game takes place in the west indies around the same time as the slave trade. As a result of this, you can often see black people on plantations as slaves. However, the game features a character called Adewale who was a slave from birth and spend years trying to achieve freedom. When pirates pillaged his plantation, he joined them and they aided his escape. He later became Edward Kenway’s quartermaster aboard the Jackdaw. He plays an important role early game, but later leaves to go his own way with his own ship. A DLC was released later which focused entirely on Adewale, in which he teams up with a group of freedom fighters made of up liberated slaves while they interrupt the slave trade.
Aveline de Grandpre was a female Assassin of French and African heritage who fought to to defend the oppressed slaves of New Orleans. Aveline was the first female protagonist of the series too and is portrayed as brave and selfless. Unlike a lot of other video game characters, she hasn’t been overly sexualised.