Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed opening disclaimer change is bizarre.

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So let's get something straight. Assassin's Creed started out as a series that depicted some potentially (read: absolutely) offensive things when it came to religion, and religious figures, and also depicted cultures and history in a way some might take offense to. So the cop-out disclaimer preceded each game. Its primary purpose is arguably to dissuade backlash over Assassin's Creed very strongly implying that, among other things, Christianity and Judaism and such are incorrect and not just that, their leaders and founders were fakes. By claiming that their team is diverse, Ubisoft can claim that they're not actually making any sort of statement about whether Jesus was actually God or whether God exists or whether Islam's beliefs trump Christianity or anything like that.

With Syndicate, the introduction was changed. According to the creative director, Marc-Alexis Côté:

It felt like when we first wrote that for AC1 it was something that was very inclusive. But I've had the chance to work with more than 12 different writers on Syndicate. At one point, one approached me and said that we were not embracing diversity fully enough.

I had reviewed all our crowd dialogue, I was happy with our two protagonists, but they were talking about the statement at the beginning of the game - that it was exclusive of some people. So I asked for them to propose a new statement.

Firstly, that's a loose "we". Cote didn't work on AC1 as far as I'm aware.

Secondly, the original opening statement is not some fuzzy, feelgood statement of inclusion. It is a blatant attempt to cover Ubisoft's arse and deflect criticism over the religious subtext of their games. If we take the new statement in the spirit the old one was received, Ubisoft is basically apologetic they creative vision involves elements that some people may find offensive, such as gay people, but that it's totally okay because Ubisoft doesn't take sides, guise.

To be honest, this strikes me as Cote and his team misunderstanding the purpose the original disclaimer served in a headscratching manner. That said, whatever purpose Cote believes the disclaimer serves, there are Tumblr types waiting to be offended by the slightest thing, and this sort of fluff helps stave them off a bit.

Maybe this is an indication of the huge loss of direction Assassin's Creed has experienced over the past few years. The original storyline (that is now on semi-hiatus) concerned the origins of the human race and the role of religion and political ideology in history. The original disclaimer made total sense. It wasn't really needed because most religious people are fairly tolerant of science fiction that contradicts their dearly held beliefs, but it made sense in the context of the game's overarching storyline.

Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

I also don't think that Ubi has taken a stance on any religion being incorrect. Playing around with religion and the characters involved in each religion, sure, because it's fiction and they're allowed to do that.

As for the reason of the disclaim, of course it's there to cover their asses. It's like how historical films has the subtext "Based on a true story". It's there so that the film production company and crew don't get sued if someone related to the characters in the film goes after them. So, it would make sense for Ubi to put that there so people don't go after them. People can still think what Ubi did in the game is offensive, but it's there to just make a blanket statement. That's not to say the disclaimer didn't make me roll my eyes, but I get why it's there.

The new one doesn't really bother me, and I get why it's there.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

I'll put the over/under on "The SJWs have won" at five posts.

OT: Looks like Ubi is broadening the size of the net they use to cover their ass.

They just made the disclaimer more inclusive, as per the times rolling. What's so bizarre about it?

Makes sense to point that out because you can't be a racist and also a minority because internalized racism doesn't exist /sarcasm.

Seems silly to me to have it, but not a big dea

BloatedGuppy:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

I'll put the over/under on "The SJWs have won" at five posts.

I'll take the "Under" for that bet.

Ahem...

DAMN YOU SJW's AND YOUR COMPLETELY VAGUE YET ABSOLUTE POWER TO GET MORE INCLUSIVE TEXT INTO GAMES THAT I REALLY DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Now Mr. Guppy, what do I win? After all, this is the 4th 5th response to the OP. :3

Edited due to lag screwing up my count. :P

Edited also to mention that traditionally you're supposed to say something like "5.5 posts" so that it's clear that 5 counts for the Under bet while 6 counts for the Over bet.

It doesn't make sense unless, instead of looking at it in light of the original, you look at it with the cynicism used when looking at the original. The original would be said by ubisoft to show their inclusivity, but we all assume it was to cover their asses of the 'oh god we're set in the crusades, there's literally no way to portray this event without being offensive to someone' mindset. And the cynic in me would argue that this time it's a response to the controversy caused with the last release about having no female PC's in the multiplayer, and a massive foot-in-mouth justification for it. Appease the Tumblr crowd as it were.

BUT!

Before you claim I'm the non-parodic example of the 'THOSE SJWS ARE CONQUERING ARE GAMES' sly (and funny) post up there, another reasonable reason that the non-cynic in me would claim to be behind this, is that 'various faiths and beliefs' is becoming increasingly irrelevant since they left the crusades and papal states. The American and French revolutions, piracy (the real kind) and Victorian London aren't minefields of religious controversy, so the old cynical reasoning for the disclaimer has lost its weight. So may as well extend it to include everyone on the development team, since removing it entirely would be even more awkward.

HAVE UBISOFT FIRED EVERYONE ON THEIR DEVELOPMENT TEAM THAT ISN'T A WHITE AMERICAN CHRISTIAN? THESE NEW ALLEGATIONS WILL SHOCK YOU!

Edit so it's on the first page:

Batou667:

But then again, some people are never happy no matter how far you bend over backwards.

Dude, the Stately Harold is a parody paper, like the onion. I've never heard of it before, but just clicking the home page and seeing the headlines 'NASA DISCOVERS CHOCOLATE COVERED PLANET' and 'JAYDEN SMITH AND ROBERT PATTINSON TO STAR IN PULP FICTION REMAKE' gives it away. Seriously, you, and the rest of the reactionary internet, need to give a cursory glance at the websites before sharing them as sources, because 90% of the time, if something seems utterly unbelievable, it is.

That said, I apologise for being rude, but get a bit angry at misinformation, intentional or not.

Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

It's always been weird. The first one is weird, the second one continues to be weird.

It's nothing to do with Social Justice Warriors and everything to do with lazy statements of 'No man, we're super inclusive!'. No more, no less.

I think it makes perfect sense, considering some of the characters presented in Syndicate. There is one character, that I think (I'm not sure personally, as I've only seen Let's Plays, and the character has only shown up a little bit), is either a transvestite, or whatever the 1800's equivalent of a transgender would be. It could just be a very effeminate young man, but it sure looks like a woman dressed as a man to me. Even the Fry twins kind of look at the person with a puzzled expression, as if they are trying to figure it out too.

Also, there are tons of women gang members in the game, who you violently murder.

So you know, saying that you aren't intentionally trying to misrepresent "women/trans/whatever else the game represents that I haven't seen yet" seems perfectly reasonable. Disclaimers like that are there to prevent people from trying to front load some kind of insult campaign about how something/someone is represented. Since they've added new layers of representation in the game, adding the extra layers of disclaimer is just sensible.

Also, really, who gives a shit what the disclaimer says anyway? They all basically boil down to "we're just trying to tell a story we think is cool, and don't mean to offend any particular group of people in any real world way." How can someone find fault with a statement like that?

If the game upon which it entered use presented topics among other things related to it....nah it's fine. It was always a way to say "when we portray this as evil, don't think we genuinely mean it is evil". If it doesn't then....well that is kinda needlessly pandering to an audience that it doesn't involve just to show off.

Beyond the bizarre way they word the warning, I don't see a problem with this sort of thing. How it is now, and how it was in the past, is just weird because it sounds suspiciously like the 'But I Have Black Friends' defense. Perhaps a Law and Order type warning, like 'The groups in this game are only superficially similar and inspired by the real world, and should not be considered accurate representations of history and those organizations or groups' would be better.

But that's just nitpicking over phrasing.

I always assumed that disclaimer first came to being because AC1 came out about 6 years after 9/11, and it featured the Crusades, a.k.a. Christianity vs. Islam. And so that the American public wouldn't take even the tiniest thing the wrong way.

I've always found it a bit moot, but at this point I guess they can't stop doing it, otherwise it'll just draw more attention. Sorta like how Bioware has to include every sexual preference in their games now. They kind of made that image for themselves, and now they're just stuck with it.

Silentpony:
Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

The original Ass Creed was set in the Middle East, featuring characters who are primarily Islamic (aside from the villainous Christians), and containing speculative fiction that's positively sacrilegious in nature. It was also released at a time when post-9/11 tensions were still high and boots were still very much on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. The disclaimer came across, at the time, as a charmingly desperate "please, don't sue us".

The new one is in my opinion a bit more wanky and self-congratulatory in nature, more of a "look how fucking progressive and inclusive we are". It's a sign of the times that publishers are now more afraid of being figuratively lynched by feminists than literally shot by religious extremists. I've not played either of the two current-gen Ass Creed games so I can't say how genuinely diverse they are (Unity got a lot of stick from the lefty games press for being a sausage fest), but that's certainly the image Ubisoft seems to be courting.

But then again, some people are never happy no matter how far you bend over backwards.

Casual Shinji:
I always assumed that disclaimer first came to being because AC1 came out about 6 years after 9/11, and it featured the Crusades, a.k.a. Christianity vs. Islam. And so that the American public wouldn't take even the tiniest thing the wrong way.

I've always found it a bit moot, but at this point I guess they can't stop doing it, otherwise it'll just draw more attention. Sorta like how Bioware has to include every sexual preference in their games now. They kind of made that image for themselves, and now they're just stuck with it.

Silentpony:
Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

If we're going to remove things from Assassin's Creed on the grounds that "it makes no fucking sense at all", then there would nothing in the game. xD

It's all crazy, fictional bullshit, so why sweat it over having women in gangs in a time period they probably didn't? On top of every other batshit crazy thing they let fly with their world setting, being gender diverse in their gangs isn't even a blip on my radar.

Happyninja42:

Casual Shinji:
I always assumed that disclaimer first came to being because AC1 came out about 6 years after 9/11, and it featured the Crusades, a.k.a. Christianity vs. Islam. And so that the American public wouldn't take even the tiniest thing the wrong way.

I've always found it a bit moot, but at this point I guess they can't stop doing it, otherwise it'll just draw more attention. Sorta like how Bioware has to include every sexual preference in their games now. They kind of made that image for themselves, and now they're just stuck with it.

Silentpony:
Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

If we're going to remove things from Assassin's Creed on the grounds that "it makes no fucking sense at all", then there would nothing in the game. xD

It's all crazy, fictional bullshit, so why sweat it over having women in gangs in a time period they probably didn't? On top of every other batshit crazy thing they let fly with their world setting, being gender diverse in their gangs isn't even a blip on my radar.

Well especially since poverty affected both sexes equally and there's literally no reason why you wouldn't have women in street gangs.

It's a way of acknowledging that the trans characters portrayed in Syndicate actually were made with knowledge by people of various orientations/identities. It's only updated because of the new character identities portrayed in Syndicate.
It fulfils the exact same purpose as before - a vague enough statement to keep hate mail from coming in that "This character should have been written by a REAL Christian/Muslim/Trans person/Homosexual! They'd have understood." Ubisoft can point to the new disclaimer and say "Well, they were written by that type of person. Good day."
It's not bizarre, it's updating in light of new content.

Now, I personally always thought the disclaimer was kind of funny, since I believe works should stand on their own and be judged on their own. I like Lovecraft works because, regardless of his racism and xenophobia, they're enjoyable to read. Likely, the fears of different types of people lead to the twisted portrayals of people in his works, but I'm not celebrating his racism when I read "Call of Cthulhu."
There's also not a problem with acknowledging it. When Warner Bros put out a collection of some of their old cartoons, they had a screen saying that the views then are not WB's views now. Rather than change the work, they acknowledged there were some fairly messed up and unfair things shown, despite the overall quality and significance of the pieces. Was it necessary? Probably not, but it's not hurting anyone with it's presence.

Happyninja42:
If we're going to remove things from Assassin's Creed on the grounds that "it makes no fucking sense at all", then there would nothing in the game. xD

It's all crazy, fictional bullshit, so why sweat it over having women in gangs in a time period they probably didn't? On top of every other batshit crazy thing they let fly with their world setting, being gender diverse in their gangs isn't even a blip on my radar.

The thing is, even with all the supernatural/conspiracy nonsense in this series, it always seemed to pride itself on making the periods as authentic as possible. Just as with a period piece, the point is to transport the audience to that time in history. Usually a slightly romanticized version of it, but still one that feels quite authentic. Having loads of women fighting in street gangs on par with men in 19th century London completely knocks me out of that, because I know it's complete bullcrap. Just as it would seeing female soldiers in the Waffen-SS in Indiana Jones.

If it's fantasy steampunk London, or the universe of Dishonored, do what you will. I got no problem with Dragon Age, The Elder Scrolls, or Fallout either. But if you're going for a grounded and historically accurate depiction of the 19th century, I'm affraid you're going to have to be politically incorrect, because that time period unfortunately was.

I'm more confused as to how there is 12 writers and not one of them thought "wait, this story is terrible".

Casual Shinji:

Silentpony:
Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

Seems that people care more about "inclusivity", rather than caring that it doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

OT: I found that new splash screen to be humorous. Hell, I found it bizarre in the first Assassin's Creed game.

I didn't know videogames needed a disclaimer stressing the "diversity" of the team that designed it... Like that matters at all. I mean what is this, a videogame, or a college campus?... huehuehuehue

To be honest I don't see the problem. Basically it gives them cart-blanche to do anything in the game. If someone is offeneded they can say that they've been warned.

The 'gender identities' is new but personally it's to keep the SJW out of their hair.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
I'm more confused as to how there is 12 writers and not one of them thought "wait, this story is terrible".

It's probably BECAUSE there where 12 writers that the story was terrible.

Though then again, the story being terrible is about only half of what was wrong with the game.

Tohuvabohu:

Casual Shinji:

Silentpony:
Wasn't it a direct marketing reaction to the trailer not having chicks in it?
Like they had to make it clear they're not sexist because they don't want to lose sales. Kinda cynical if you ask me.

I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

Seems that people care more about "inclusivity", rather than caring that it doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

OT: I found that new splash screen to be humorous. Hell, I found it bizarre in the first Assassin's Creed game.

I didn't know videogames needed a disclaimer stressing the "diversity" of the team that designed it... Like that matters at all. I mean what is this, a videogame, or a college campus?... huehuehuehue

Besides, doesn't matter how well you do at representing a certain group A) some people will still find it offensive and B) Kotaku will write an article about how you hate said group because of A.

So honestly, better to just do your best and just not worry about it.

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

It's obvious, isn't it? Assassin's Creed is being inclusive to people who aren't straight, white, cisegender males ("real gamers") and now there's an issue with quality.

Casual Shinji:
I suppose that's why Syndicate has women running around in street gangs and goon squads during 19th century London, even if it makes no fucking sense at all.

Agreed. I mean, I can accept Batman-style grappling hooks that I can see existed through DNA-encoded memories accessed to look for pieces of artifacts left by ancient aliens, but this nonsense with chicks in gangs is totally blowing my immersion.

You know, I'm just going to stop for a moment and be serious, and point out that the one part of that sentence that actually happened historically was the women in street gangs. Yup...no sense at all.

Tohuvabohu:

Seems that people care more about "inclusivity", rather than caring that it doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

Oh, is this going to be another case of "no black people in France?"

Something Amyss:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

It's obvious, isn't it? Assassin's Creed is being inclusive to people who aren't straight, white, cisegender males ("real gamers") and now there's an issue with quality.

I'm pretty sure there's been an issue with quality in regards to this series, for a very very long time before this.

Something Amyss:

Tohuvabohu:

Seems that people care more about "inclusivity", rather than caring that it doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

Oh, is this going to be another case of "no black people in France?"

Are you kidding? With a disclaimer like that. The Inclusivity is absolutely palpable! No no, I got a safe feeling about this.

OT: I sure do miss disclaimers like these:

I guess violence and gore is a given in most games these days, though.

I find your thread bizarre and I mean that in the best way possible.

Before:
Gays/Trans:
"we want awareness and inclusion!"

After:
"NO NOT LIKE THAT YOU CORPORATE PIG!"

that's what this reads like to me.

Doesn't the series now have characters of various sexual and gender orientations, hence the update? I mean, I find the disclaimer a tad daft to begin with, but at least it follows the internal logic.

Either way, seems rather nitpicky to complain about a disclaimer that stays on screen for all of five to ten seconds. Personally, I'd complain about the ridiculously long credits sequences first.

BloatedGuppy:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

I'll put the over/under on "The SJWs have won" at five posts.

OT: Looks like Ubi is broadening the size of the net they use to cover their ass.

Why though? I've never really seen anything controversial and racially charged in an Assassins Creed game. Granted, that may be because I don't play them and find them terrible for reasons completely unrelated to the localisation managers gender identity, but surely I'd have heard some kind of upshot. What are they covering their asses from?

Tohuvabohu:

Are you kidding? With a disclaimer like that. The Inclusivity is absolutely palpable! No no, I got a safe feeling about this.

Are we pretending you didn't say the untrue portion about it not making sense?

Because saying the "inclusivity is palpable" doesn't actually address what I said.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Why though? I've never really seen anything controversial and racially charged in an Assassins Creed game. Granted, that may be because I don't play them and find them terrible for reasons completely unrelated to the localisation managers gender identity, but surely I'd have heard some kind of upshot. What are they covering their asses from?

I have no idea. I've just heard on these forums that just the idea that someone somewhere might criticize your game is literally the worst thing that can happen to a developer.

It's just more pandering to appease the SJWs.

Frankly, I'm surprised that bit about "gender identity" wasn't included at the beginning of Black Flag, because in that game there's literally a woman character pretending to be a man.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

BloatedGuppy:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Maybe it's because I haven't had enough coffee thus far, and I haven't been sleeping much, but I really don't see what the big deal is here.

I'll put the over/under on "The SJWs have won" at five posts.

OT: Looks like Ubi is broadening the size of the net they use to cover their ass.

Why though? I've never really seen anything controversial and racially charged in an Assassins Creed game. Granted, that may be because I don't play them and find them terrible for reasons completely unrelated to the localisation managers gender identity, but surely I'd have heard some kind of upshot. What are they covering their asses from?

The Assassin's Creed games are, or at least, were--back before the series creator was fired--offensive to billions of people around the world because of how they depict history, the origins of man, and the role of religion and religious organisations throughout history. The first game centered on the conflict between Muslim Assassins and Not-Really-Christian Templars.

The dislaimer before AssCreed games is akin to, hypothetically, putting "This film is based on a book written by a devout Japanese Catholic" before Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Silence, about the persecution of Christians in Japan, and which involves a climax where the main character breaks a cross to save other Christians from punishment -- some will likely find this deeply offensive. The Assassin's Creed games strongly imply that iconic religious figures were using "Pieces of Eden" created by some precursor race of beings.

As for Ubisoft's "embracing diversity", their new disclaimer OMITS mention of religious diversity, and also doesn't make any mention of ethnic diversity.

"Various religious faiths and beliefs" was technically double handling, sure. But "beliefs... and gender identities" is also double handling because they're both... beliefs. If they really believed in embracing diversity, this disclaimer would run the gamut from political affiliations to hair colour. (Ginger inclusion, for the win.)

And at the end of the day, the original statement was NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF. It is literally the "Hey, we sing about raping nuns but our bass player is totally a Catholic, yo!" defense.

Ambient_Malice:
And at the end of the day, the original statement was NOTHING TO BE PROUD OF. It is literally the "Hey, we sing about raping nuns but our bass player is totally a Catholic, yo!" defense.

Was that a Deicide reference?

Something Amyss:

Tohuvabohu:

Are you kidding? With a disclaimer like that. The Inclusivity is absolutely palpable! No no, I got a safe feeling about this.

Are we pretending you didn't say the untrue portion about it not making sense?

Because saying the "inclusivity is palpable" doesn't actually address what I said.

Alright my snark aside, my grasp on history isn't doctorate level, but I never heard of the prevalence of a large amount of brutal, violent female enforcer thugs in the Victorian era criminal underworld ready to beat people to death(As is the case with every enemy you meet in every Assassins Creed game). I could be hilariously wrong on this, but I genuinely do not know. I mean, I think I know enough about the era to say that brutal female criminals weren't a common thing at the time. So uncommon and unheard of, that the game's recreation of the Victorian era involving a lot of violent female thugs within the criminal underworld seems nonsensical.
But hey, I could be wrong.

Now that I addressed your point, I'd like to bring attention to what you said above that.

Tohuvabohu:

Something Amyss:

It's obvious, isn't it? Assassin's Creed is being inclusive to people who aren't straight, white, cisegender males ("real gamers") and now there's an issue with quality.

I'm pretty sure there's been an issue with quality in regards to this series, for a very very long time before this.

Yeah, there's no harm done to the series by the "inclusivity", it's been lifeless for a long time and its legacy of historical accuracy is already forgotten - But if this absurd disclaimer can win it some brownie points with potential customers, then go for it.

But hey, I did my best to address your points so I think it's reasonable of me to ask you a serious question. Do you genuinely believe there's a "sudden" problem regarding the quality of the series now, because of the game's efforts to be inclusive?

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