Ever since it was first made clear that a new assassin would be taking over for AltaÃ¯r Ibn-La'Ahad in Assassin's Creed 2, players had been speculating about the possibility of a female protagonist - because Desmond Miles is merely reliving the experiences of his ancestors (which wouldn't outright be limited to male-only ancestors). Instead, Ubisoft introduced players to Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and despite an appearance by Shao Jun in the AC spin-off film, Embers, the team followed-up the fan-favorite Italian with another man, Connor Kenway, for Assassin's Creed 3.
As a result, some fans have started to wonder - will we ever see a playable female lead in the Assassin's Creed series?
According to a recent interview with Assassin's Creed 3 creative director, Alex Hutchinson (conducted by Kotaku), the team is not only interested in utilizing a playable female assassin in a future game, they actually thought about bringing in a leading-lady for Assassin's Creed 3.
Unfortunately, the American Revolution setting made it difficult to employ a female assassin - given the gender roles of the time period:
It's always up in the air. I think lots of people want it, [but] in this period it's been a bit of a pain. The history of the American Revolution is the history of men. … There are a few people, like John Adams' wife, [Abigail]–they tried very hard in the TV series to not make it look like a bunch of dudes, but it really is a bunch of dudes. It felt like, if you had all these men in every scene and you're secretly, stealthily in crowds of dudes [as a female assassin], it starts to feel kind of wrong. People would stop believing it."
No doubt plenty of Assassin's Creed fans will remember recruiting female assassins to their cause in both Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations; however, while it might seem like a sexist slight, it makes sense that players will have to settle for another male lead this round (given the historical locale of the next game). Renaissance Italy was full of well-know female figures that could rub shoulders with well-known men without being out of place; unfortunately, as indicated by Hutchinson, women during the American Revolution were, for the most part, resigned to less adventurous daily activities. If nothing else, the character would have had an especially difficult time infiltrating male-dominated societies such as the Freemasons.
Ultimately, the developers probably could have made it work; though, for some gamers, it might have been hard to accept a lady assassin rubbing shoulders with the likes of John Adams, George Washington, or Benjamin Franklin. Obviously, this isn't to say that women in the American Revolution couldn't have thrown-down on British soldiers but, considering some of the game does take place in areas outside of the New York and Boston city-centers, it would have been challenging for designers to find the right balance between characters that comment on the dangerous woman in their midst - or say nothing at all.
It took a long time to get playable female characters into fan-favorite franchises (like Gears of War); as a result, the very fact that Ubisoft has considered the idea should be encouraging to lady-gamers and players who are especially eager to see a dual-hidden blade-wielding female assassin.
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Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. A Wii U launch has been confirmed — though an official release date has yet to be revealed.