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qmagnet
02-15-2016, 08:29 PM
After thoroughly enjoying Unity, I just recently started Syndicate. Not very far into the game and I've encountered Ned Wynert. The following may be controversial but have an open mind.

SYNDICATE SPOILERS BELOW
If you've played Syndicate, you'll know Ned is AC's first Transgendered character. And I'm not sure what to think. While I wouldn't necessarily protest having a transgendered person in a video game, this seems a little odd given the timeframe of the game. Syndicate is happening in England 1868. Ned gets introduced clearly as a female in a traditionally male context. All of the character bio identifies Ned as "he", and Ned is voiced by a woman actress. I like to imagine the universe of AC as an alternate - what-could-have-been universe, but rich in real world history. Still, this choice doesn't seem genuine.

Social issues aside, if we look at that time era, even homosexuality was illegal. From what I've read, any "abnormal" sexual lifestyle was deemed as inappropriate to downright illegal.

http://www.bilerico.com/2008/02/transgender_history_into_the_modern_age.php
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/02/brief-history-transgender-issues
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_aspects_of_transgenderism#United_Kingdom
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_LGBT_history_in_Britain

And while in 1868, homosexuality was existent, it definitely was nowhere near as common as it is now. In fact, it was punishable by death if caught until 1861, which then became 10 years of prison. While we may accept these issues as common now, it's quite clear that society very much frowned upon the thought on "non-traditional" sexual orientation and gender identity.

So why did Ubisoft write in Ned? Ned walks in as a likable ally, full of self-assurance and confidence, and other than the voice and face, seems completely traditionally male. Ned's existence doesn't make sense. Either, Ned would be discreet in the transgendered identity, or would be noticed by police and possibly attempting to evade capture. And while the Assassins are for liberty, it's hard to believe not anyone in the universe of AC Victorian London would be turned off by the notion of intersex.

Granted, I've just been introduced to Ned. So that story may change. But all in all, no way any character would call Ned "he". t the very least, they would consider Ned a crossdressing tomboy woman.

Ubisoft's idea of adding a transgendered character in this particular timeframe seems nothing more than a company political statement to appeal to modern social justice. It seem empty. We've seen this with Leonardo Da Vinci being homosexually married in the Ezio saga. Given the timeframe, it's just not historically acceptable that these ideas were so modern. If Ubi wanted to include transgender characters, they could have easily added them into the modern plot of Abstergo. It would seem much more plausible and authentic. But to imply that this new-millenium ideology was completely acceptable in the 19th century is a massive stretch.



Of course this is just my own opinion. Live and let live. It doesn't impede my game. Just thought it was a bit "eye-rolling".
But what are you thoughts?

GunnarGunderson
02-15-2016, 08:44 PM
He had a combined total of something like 3 minutes of screentime. He was a shameless token character that no one spent more than five minutes thinking about when they were making the game.

VestigialLlama4
02-15-2016, 08:46 PM
After thoroughly enjoying Unity, I just recently started Syndicate. Not very far into the game and I've encountered Ned Wynert. The following may be controversial but have an open mind.

Well somebody has to since you clearly do not.


Social issues aside, if we look at that time era, even homosexuality was illegal. From what I've read, any "abnormal" sexual lifestyle was deemed as inappropriate to downright illegal.

You know what else was illegal in Victorian times...women having the right to vote, Jews having voting and equal rights, England's colonies having self-determination. The fact that it was illegal does not mean it did not exist. Transgendered as we identify it you can find instances of that in earlier times...


So why did Ubisoft write in Ned? Ned walks in as a likable ally, full of self-assurance and confidence, and other than the voice and face, seems completely traditionally male. Ned's existence doesn't make sense. Either, Ned would be discreet in the transgendered identity, or would be noticed by police and possibly attempting to evade capture. And while the Assassins are for liberty, it's hard to believe not anyone in the universe of AC Victorian London would be turned off by the notion of intersex.

How do I explain things to you...the Assassins don't exist. The Assassins stand for the future, for progress. They are audience surrogates meant to represent modern views in a past setting. This has been true right from AC1.


Ubisoft's idea of adding a transgendered character in this particular timeframe seems nothing more than a company political movement to appeal to modern social justice. It seem empty. We've seen this with Leonardo Da Vinci being homosexually married in the Ezio saga.

HUH...You have seriously misread that game. Leonardo is not married in that time. He merely has an assistant Salai, who is implied to have been his lover. This is straight from history. Salai actually existed and was Leonardo's assistant and is believed to have been his lover by historians.

qmagnet
02-15-2016, 08:49 PM
Well somebody has to since you clearly do not.



You know what else was illegal in Victorian times...women having the right to vote, Jews having voting and equal rights, England's colonies having self-determination. The fact that it was illegal does not mean it did not exist. Transgendered as we identify it you can find instances of that in earlier times...



How do I explain things to you...the Assassins don't exist. The Assassins stand for the future, for progress. They are audience surrogates meant to represent modern views in a past setting. This has been true right from AC1.



HUH...You have seriously misread that game. Leonardo is not married in that time. He merely has an assistant Salai, who is implied to have been his lover. This is straight from history. Salai actually existed and was Leonardo's assistant and is believed to have been his lover by historians.

Could you refrain from replying to my threads in the future please? You're the only one who is continually insulting and seems to always want to argue.

VestigialLlama4
02-15-2016, 09:06 PM
Could you refrain from replying to my threads in the future please? You're the only one who is continually insulting and seems to always want to argue.

Between us, who is raising a stink about a minor character with a handful of missions whose sexuality isn't touched on in the game, all because in your mind, Ubisoft wants to cater to a particular audience?

And by the way didn't you start this thread to argue your point of view. If you are putting out a point of view expect people to respond to it, and if it is stupid and baseless, as your thread is, expect to hear that too.

JamesFaith007
02-15-2016, 09:08 PM
In fact there are known cases from this era when women successfully pretended they are men.

For example James Barry absolved medical school, enlisted in British army in 1813 and become Surgeon General. Her real gender was discovered after her dead in 1865.

Here is link for list (http://www.historyofwomen.org/crossdressers.html)of known crossdressing women in British history

qmagnet
02-15-2016, 09:48 PM
In fact there are known cases from this era when women successfully pretended they are men.

For example James Barry absolved medical school, enlisted in British army in 1813 and become Surgeon General. Her real gender was discovered after her dead in 1865.

Here is link for list (http://www.historyofwomen.org/crossdressers.html)of known crossdressing women in British history

Do you think in Syndicate, the characters don't know Ned was born female? I'm reading about Barry. Supposedly, a close friend never had any suspicion that Barry was born a female. Barry's colleague believed him to a hermaphrodite.

JamesFaith007
02-15-2016, 10:04 PM
Do you think in Syndicate, the characters don't know Ned was born female? I'm reading about Barry. Supposedly, a close friend never had any suspicion that Barry was born a female. Barry's colleague believed him to a hermaphrodite.

Old true is that you often see what you want to see.

If someone in this era was dressed as man and acting like man, she would possibly pass as man till she made some big mistake. But we are also speaking about secret organisation working outside law so maybe those who know just don't care.

Jackdaw951
02-15-2016, 10:25 PM
Ned is an anachronism. It's modern sensibility imposed on the Victorian era. This is nothing new in fiction, particularly now that political correctness is so widespread and intolerant of dissent. Find me a recent movie set in America during the 1950s that has nothing to do with racism--for example. It would be a rare gem indeed. Not everything during any era is about the injustices of the period; but you wouldn't know it if you based all of your education about them from new works.

About transgender: It's an interesting phenomenon. It almost always involves a man wanting to become a woman. I can't think of a single prominent example of the reverse, though I'm sure it happens. It's also biologically impossible. Every cell in our bodies has its gender coded at the genetic/chromosome level. I have nothing against someone wanting to live as if they were the opposite gender. But I think surgical procedures and loading up on hormones are more of a sophisticated masquerade than a true gender change. Whatever floats their boat. I'm all for personal freedom, as long as it includes my freedom to question this practice.

qmagnet
02-16-2016, 12:38 AM
Ned is an anachronism. It's modern sensibility imposed on the Victorian era. This is nothing new in fiction, particularly now that political correctness is so widespread and intolerant of dissent. Find me a recent movie set in America during the 1950s that has nothing to do with racism--for example. It would be a rare gem indeed. Not everything during any era is about the injustices of the period; but you wouldn't know it if you based all of your education about them from new works.

About transgender: It's an interesting phenomenon. It almost always involves a man wanting to become a woman. I can't think of a single prominent example of the reverse, though I'm sure it happens. It's also biologically impossible. Every cell in our bodies has its gender coded at the genetic/chromosome level. I have nothing against someone wanting to live as if they were the opposite gender. But I think surgical procedures and loading up on hormones are more of a sophisticated masquerade than a true gender change. Whatever floats their boat. I'm all for personal freedom, as long as it includes my freedom to question this practice.

So do you feel creating such an anachronism is part of an agenda, some sort of proverbial company bucket list?
Or do you feel the character is justified given the fictional universe it exists in?

Personally, I wish they would have created the character in modern times to interact with.

qmagnet
02-16-2016, 12:45 AM
Interestingly enough, I found an article online that points towards this concept.
http://hotair.com/archives/2015/09/27/ubisoft-wants-you-to-know-theyre-totally-pc-bro/comment-page-1/

LoyalACFan
02-16-2016, 06:11 AM
If you're going to analyze Ned Wynert, you might just as well analyze any random NPC on the street. The friggin' Shoot the Flying Demon guy from AC2 had more depth. Ham-fisted diversity token, that's that, moving on.

qmagnet
02-16-2016, 01:46 PM
If you're going to analyze Ned Wynert, you might just as well analyze any random NPC on the street. The friggin' Shoot the Flying Demon guy from AC2 had more depth. Ham-fisted diversity token, that's that, moving on.

We can analyze any NPC that doesn't make sense. I don't recall the Flying Demon guy.

Xstantin
02-16-2016, 02:39 PM
Shoot the Flying Demon guy was an amazing well-written character.

Seriously though I thought Ned was pretty forgettable just like the rest of the supporting cast in Syndicate.

cawatrooper9
02-16-2016, 06:14 PM
I'd love for AC to have a more robust transgendered character. I really would.

But the sad reality is that Ned is, as many have already said, a token. Why else would he get so much press before the game's release? There were articles written about him after Ubisoft's reveal of the character that were probably a good 10 times longer than the character's total combined dialogue.


As far as his status as an anachronism- sure there were certainly outliers in history. These outliers, however, were not likely prominent businessmen like Ned. The sad truth is, if Ned's prominent status wouldn't have outed him, his rivals certainly would have.

History has kind of sucked sometimes. The modern day kind of sucks sometimes too, but that's beside the point. The Assassins do work as anachronisms, standing in more harsh ages to insert some more modern and progressive values, but they do not exist in a vacuum. Ned may well have been accepted by the Assassins, but London would probably forsake him.

VestigialLlama4
02-16-2016, 07:06 PM
As far as his status as an anachronism- sure there were certainly outliers in history. These outliers, however, were not likely prominent businessmen like Ned. The sad truth is, if Ned's prominent status wouldn't have outed him, his rivals certainly would have.

Ned Wynert is a criminal and the criminal underworld in that era was fairly diverse...mostly for blackmail reasons. So I think Ned would have done fine.

I mean Oscar Wilde's trial was a scandal because he solicited with lower class homosexuals after all. It was otherwise okay...you just don't cross class barriers, you don't expose yourself to the public and you don't get all noble like Wilde did, poor boy.


To the Original Poster, not you cawatrooper9, you're still cool...



My point is okay, even if Ned Wynert is a token...why the bloody hell is this a problem for anyone? Everybody wants diversity in video games these days and quite rightly because the gaming industry is a miserable cesspool and a thinly disguised white supremacy...by white I of course mean hetero-male-christian...because that is what white people have associated with and consider normal across history. I am sorry if this comes across as too Social Justice Warrior for you, but reality has a liberal bias and any game dealing with history should tackle that, otherwise you are going to have a very stale view of the past, a very false view of the past.

Contrary to what you believe, transexuality has always existed in some form or the other across history...as has homosexuality and many other things you tout as anachronistic.


As for anachronism...I have to tell you Ubisoft's earlier games have been serious bowdlerizations...

1) Leonardo da Vinci was homosexual. AC2 and Brotherhood hints that he's gay but they obviously don't show it fully because well, as Patrice Desilets confirmed, they were chickens--t about a game that ended with the hero punching the Pope.

2) Native American societies and the American Frontier was fairly...how shall we say...experimental. The game portrays Connor and his tribe as sexless partly because they didn't want to tread on too many toes but it was part of it. If the game were truly bold, well lets just say that there are interesting rumors about George Washington (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/was-george-washington-gay-consider-the-evidence_b_7071948.html?section=india), and even more interesting ones about Alexander Hamilton (who according to Gore Vidal began his career as a male prostitute).

3) BLACK FLAG really dials down the gayness of pirate life. Pirate crews were quite tolerant about homosexuality, which they had to be considering most of them are...sailors. Likewise, Mary Reade can be considered proto-trans, some historians are not too sure about that. It's implied that she and Anne Bonny were lovers, whereas in the game that doesn't come out. Likewise, it would not have been inappropriate if Edward and Adewale were especially close.

4) UNITY...one of the things that was there in Paris during the French Revolution was a gay brothel (called "the baths") which were reportedly attended by a few national delegates. These baths were never suppressed during the Terror. Likewise, the game's portrayal of Marquis de Sade is kiddie-friendly. The real guy was a rapist, statutory and otherwise. He was a bisexual and he enjoyed date raping boys and girls. He got a pardon during the French Revolution. If Ubisoft had guts, Sade would not have been flirting with Elise, he would have been flirting with Arno, and seducing him into his bed.

cawatrooper9
02-16-2016, 07:53 PM
My point is okay, even if Ned Wynert is a token...why the bloody hell is this a problem for anyone?

I guess I can't really speak for everyone, but as I said earlier, I'd love for more variety in the franchise and for there to be a transsexual character. I think the Assassins as an anachronistic group would have no problem facilitating this (jury's still out on the the Rooks, though).

Don't get me wrong, progress is progress. Having a transsexual character in a video game is great. It just would have been nice for him to be more featured.
Now, to be fair, most of the side characters got just as snubbed, if not more. Marx, ****ens, that child leader... they all had about as many lines as Ned. Florence Nightengale had even less. Aberline and Henry were pretty much the only questgivers that got decent treatment in the story (and a lot of side characters in Unity were equally as snubbed).

I guess my issue with it is that he seems like a missed opportunity, is all.



To the Original Poster, not you cawatrooper9, you're still cool...
Awww, thanks. You've got me all tearing up. :p

Farlander1991
02-16-2016, 09:25 PM
But the sad reality is that Ned is, as many have already said, a token. Why else would he get so much press before the game's release?

To be fair, the press made a bigger deal about this than Ubisoft did. Ubi just mentioned it in an interview with Eurogamer, Eurogamer mentioned it in a special article and then everyone else bandwagoned on that article. It's not like Ned was actively pushed.

And while they did change their disclaimer at the beginning of the game, asides from Ned we have a kiss between two men, gay couples in the crowd, cross-dressing Aberline (for work, but still :p ) etc. so I think the change of disclaimer overall is more or less justified.

SpiritOfNevaeh
02-16-2016, 11:44 PM
I thought Ned was an alright character, but a lot of people forget about her because she wasn't a major part of the story "per se." She just helped Jacob with a train theft and thats it.

The only thing she was probably memorable for was the fact that she was Assassin's Creed first transgender character, and I think Ubisoft handled it pretty well.

Mr.Black24
02-17-2016, 01:05 AM
My point is okay, even if Ned Wynert is a token...why the bloody hell is this a problem for anyone?



Because it felt artificial. With Leo, he is portrayed as an actual living being with thoughts, dreams, and emotions. I mean you get people WHO RESTART THEIR ENTIRE GAME JUST BECAUSE THEY MISSED THE HUG MOMENT BECAUSE THAT'S HOW MUCH THEY CARE FOR HIM. Now with Ned, its just standing around the train, going "Hey there.", and leaves after giving you an item which I don't know it even was still. There was no true representation of actual living person, no struggle, no worries, no life, nor excitement. I was hoping awesome funny buddy buddy adventures with Jacob, making things go boom, and deep, insightful, thoughtful moments with Evie, but nope.

He was just there.

SixKeys
02-17-2016, 03:09 AM
I can already tell this thread is going to be bad for my blood pressure. -___-



Because it felt artificial. With Leo, he is portrayed as an actual living being with thoughts, dreams, and emotions. I mean you get people WHO RESTART THEIR ENTIRE GAME JUST BECAUSE THEY MISSED THE HUG MOMENT BECAUSE THAT'S HOW MUCH THEY CARE FOR HIM. Now with Ned, its just standing around the train, going "Hey there.", and leaves after giving you an item which I don't know it even was still. There was no true representation of actual living person, no struggle, no worries, no life, nor excitement. I was hoping awesome funny buddy buddy adventures with Jacob, making things go boom, and deep, insightful, thoughtful moments with Evie, but nope.

He was just there.

The point of Ned is that he is just a normal character. He's not meant to have any more of an arc than Clara or the guy who arranges fight clubs. To make him purposefully different from the rest of the cast would have seemed like they were trying too hard. But he's just there. Just another person. That's what transgender people are. So what?

If you listen to Jeffrey Yohalem's interview with Loomer, he makes it a point to say Syndicate was purposefully made for modern sensibilities because they don't want a huge chunk of players to feel like they're spending the entire game being reminded how s****y things have been in the past for their demographics and much they still continue to be so. If Syndicate were entirely historically accurate, Evie wouldn't have a role to play at all, because women were expected to sit at home, look pretty and do nothing. In the game we got, not only is she an active character, but it isn't even questioned by the characters she meets. Henry, Sergeant Abberline, D!ckens etc. treat her just like her brother from the start. And you know what? It's pretty damn awesome, as a woman, to be able to play a game where I'm not constantly reminded at every turn "she's very good for a girl". Evie's gender isn't made into an issue because women like to play games where they can live in a fantasy world and have incredible adventures, without being told by every character we meet "this is completely unrealistic for a woman, you know". We get to feel like our gender doesn't define us, for once. Men get to feel like that in games all the time.

Transgender people have very, very, very few games where their identity isn't merely a set-up for a joke or where they're treated just like anyone else, not inspiration p*rn for straight people. Essentially, what you're saying is that if the devs included a disabled character in the cast, they must give him/her a proper arc, no matter how minor his/her role, because that's what disabled characters are for: to sate the curiosity of non-disabled people and make them feel better about their own lives.

MikeFNY
02-17-2016, 08:56 AM
If Syndicate were entirely historically accurate, Evie wouldn't have a role to play at all, because women were expected to sit at home, look pretty and do nothing.
See this is exactly the reason why I felt that the Evie character was added for damage control.

Back then, as you correctly said, women were not considered by society. Heck, there are some close-minded individuals who see it that way even today, let alone back then.

So yes, a woman leading a group of men, ready to take orders from her, just didn't make sense.

She is out of place.

Now I understand we already touched upon this subject where we ended up talking about wings, angels and what not but my point is: I understand that female gamers have very few female characters to play with and relate with but don't you - as a female gamer - feel cheated when you get to play a female protagonist who shouldn't even be there, who should't even be in that role?

I mean, apologies for using such a strong word but are you so desperate to play as a female character that you are ready to do it in a context where a woman's job, as you said, was not to lead but to serve?

I mean is this how developers intend to solve the problem of the lack of female protagonists in games, by giving them a role that historically should have been given to a man? Shouldn't they, instead, design and develop more games with a female protagonist because she really should belong in the world?

To again be repetive, I would be more than happy to play games with a female character like Syberia, The Longest Journey or the EXperience112(The Experiment) but only if the female protagonist should actually belong there.

I know I could adopt the "why should I care" or they "they are superheroes" approach but I just can't, in the same way I would find it unusual if the assassin was a 5-year-old child, in the same way I found it strange at how an 82-year-old Altair defended himself in Revelations, but at least for the latter it was a very short sequence if my memory serves me right.

Farlander1991
02-17-2016, 09:20 AM
@SixKeys, I agree with you whole-heartedly that it's a good thing that Ned's character is not based on his gender identity. That said, he's not an interesting nor fleshed-out character (though supposed to be one of the main side ones being a person who we do loyalty missions for). There's no real progression or resolution (heck, in Black Flag every pirate character even such miniscule ones as Borgess and Cockram had a set-up, progression and resolution, miniscule as well but still, while in Syndicate there's a set-up and sort of... something). This doesn't mean that the progression has to be about transgender identity of course. But we have a transgender character who's not about being transgender, now let's make a transgender character who's actually a character.

All that said, Ned's not the only one with the problem in Syndicate. Pretty much every side character except Abberline is. I actually hoped to see Clara and Ned in Jack the Ripper DLC so they'd have more screen time and character progression... but alas.

@MikeFNY, Assassins have always been an anachronistic bunch, having modern sensibilities in historical times, so I'm not sure how Evie is out of place.

MikeFNY
02-17-2016, 09:39 AM
@MikeFNY, Assassins have always been an anachronistic bunch, having modern sensibilities in historical times, so I'm not sure how Evie is out of place.

But when do you draw a line in respect to these sensibilities in historical times? Wouldn't a homosexual assassin feel out of place if the game was set in Uganda where a law imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts, a country where death penalty for such acts was imposed until a few years ago?

VestigialLlama4
02-17-2016, 09:50 AM
So yes, a woman leading a group of men, ready to take orders from her, just didn't make sense.

She is out of place.

You know what is truly out of place. A secret society cult of Islamic Origin operating in Western Europe under various fronts and yet still maintaining continuity with their chapters across the world, and seeing themselves as the successor to what a Syrian dude wrote down in a Codex he handed to Marco Polo's Dad and Uncle. If you can accept that, then you can accept Evie. And besides, Evie is technically speaking, a gangster. She is a criminal. Women were quite common in criminal gangs in London at this time.

My main problem with all these anachronism-bros as I would like to call them is that they don't bother doing any research. Rather than see if Evie Frye is implausible by say checking out studies of victorian underlcass, they simply pollute forums with their limited knowledge, content in their ignorance. They also say homosexuality and transgender is anachronistic without actually bothering to understand that while these terms and labels are recent, what they define is pretty old and instances of that existed before. I am sorry to tell you this...actually I am not sorry, I am freaking delighted to tell you this...but there is something known as history-from-below. Your idea of what constitutes history is hopelessly and childishly dated. Recent research into sexuality, race and gender shows that the past used to be a pretty interesting country.

Here's the thing about history or rather humanity...the 20th Century is the first age of true freedom. Where people across the world had access to freedom of expression, dissent and exchange of ideas. This is because of mass communication, social movements and so on. As a result of this we became publicly aware of these wonderful varieties of human behaviour. Before the 20th Century the underclass and the vast majority of people never had any access to information or ideas...but that does not mean they stop being people. In the ancient Egyptians, there would be homosexuals, transgender, and women who tried to break the mould. You can automatically assume they exist under the knowledge that their existence would be out of the record books and public eye. There would also be atheists in earlier times, people who probably didn't believe in God but simply conformed because the penalty for not believing was death. Likewise, the mere existence of sodomy laws proves that homosexuality existed...after all why specifically forbid something if it did not exist. Makes no sense.

Nobody here gives Ubisoft a bigger rap about departing and bowdlerlizing history more than I do. But fundamentally when I criticize Ubisoft for departing from history, I criticize them for not being creative. Assassin's Creed is a creative work of art. It's about reimagining history for a contemporary 21st Century audience. I mean yeah, the original Assassins and Templars were religious warriors and not secular humanists, but by using the conspiracy metaphor, Ubisoft are able to give us a sense of different cultures as people and look beyond simple distinctions. The same applies to everything else.


But when do you draw a line in respect to these sensibilities in historical times? Wouldn't a homosexual assassin feel out of place if the game was set in Uganda where a law imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts, a country where death penalty for such acts was imposed until a few years ago?

Well obviously a homosexual assassin would only be homosexual when he is 1) alone with his lover 2) cruising in public 3) caught by police. Just because a law says something that doesn't mean it stops people from being people. Please have a more complex view of people.

And also...well look at American history, a lot of the great homophobes in American history (Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, Roy Cohn) were themselves gay.

Farlander1991
02-17-2016, 10:00 AM
But when do you draw a line in respect to these sensibilities in historical times? Wouldn't a homosexual assassin feel out of place if the game was set in Uganda where a law imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts, a country where death penalty for such acts was imposed until a few years ago?

Well, no actually. Why would it be out of place? Nothing is true and everything is permitted.

MikeFNY
02-17-2016, 10:05 AM
Well, no actually. Why would it be out of place? Nothing is true and everything is permitted.

Yes, I'm slowly learning that is exactly the perspective with which many look at this game in fact.

VestigialLlama4
02-17-2016, 10:13 AM
Yes, I'm slowly learning that is exactly the perspective with which many look at this game in fact.

That's also the perspective of historians. Not that facts are wrong or incorrect but that interpretations are not set down and anything is permitted. Remember when historians said that Thomas Jefferson could not possibly have had children with Sally Hemmings and now DNA tests confirm that he did do that.

A lot of people think for instance that Jeanne d'Arc was trans. She was accused at her trial for dressing and behaving like a man...did she personally see herself as a man, wish herself to be a man in an age where sex-change surgery was no possibility...we obviously cannot say but it's entirely fair for people to see her in that light. She was a woman who broke many barriers in any case right, almost a fairy tale, so she's there for anyone to claim. It would be false for a historian to say with 100% certainty that she was trans, but it would be okay for a critic and writer to argue an interpretation for her in that light, since it's essentially using a perspective to try and get a sense of her character. Artistic works are about interpretation, argument and ambiguity. In a secular age, where Joan of Arc being a Saint would be "Meh!", her being an icon of transgression and an outsider is still very attractive and its up to the artists to remind people of that.

A similar case has been made for Abraham Lincoln who some argue was gay. Another case is made for George Washington. In the case of Alexander Hamilton however, more people are sure that he was bi at the very least. Remember the idea of heterosexuality as normal is the true fiction. Dr. Sigmund Freud exploded that myth at the end of the 19th Century, I strongly recommend you to divest yourself of that delusion too.

Jessigirl2013
02-17-2016, 01:59 PM
@SixKeys, I agree with you whole-heartedly that it's a good thing that Ned's character is not based on his gender identity. That said, he's not an interesting nor fleshed-out character (though supposed to be one of the main side ones being a person who we do loyalty missions for). There's no real progression or resolution (heck, in Black Flag every pirate character even such miniscule ones as Borgess and Cockram had a set-up, progression and resolution, miniscule as well but still, while in Syndicate there's a set-up and sort of... something). This doesn't mean that the progression has to be about transgender identity of course. But we have a transgender character who's not about being transgender, now let's make a transgender character who's actually a character.

All that said, Ned's not the only one with the problem in Syndicate. Pretty much every side character except Abberline is. I actually hoped to see Clara and Ned in Jack the Ripper DLC so they'd have more screen time and character progression... but alas.

@MikeFNY, Assassins have always been an anachronistic bunch, having modern sensibilities in historical times, so I'm not sure how Evie is out of place.

I agree with all the fuss UBI made about Ned all he got was what.... 2 cutscenes.

That's all the character development he got, even the database entry was poor.:rolleyes:

I'm with you on Abberline, every other side character is forgotten even Agnes and Nigel just got forgotten.

About Evie I found the whole ball a bit odd, A royal guard allowing a woman with no weapons and restricted in movement to kidnap him.:confused:
Its a shame they didn't really go into sexism or racism but I guess UBI doesn't want it to be controversial, But it seemed like a missed opportunity.

Farlander1991
02-17-2016, 02:26 PM
I agree with all the fuss UBI made about Ned all he got was what.... 2 cutscenes.

As I said before in this thread, Ubi didn't make a fuss about Ned. The press did. Ubi wasn't pushing Ned actively. They mentioned him to Eurogamer as part of a bigger interview. It is Eurogamer who has decided to make a separate article out of it, and then everyone joined in and published more articles based on the Eurogamer one.

So while there's reasons to criticize Ned, I think it's unfair to criticize him on a basis of how he was promoted, because Ubi didn't promote him.

SixKeys
02-17-2016, 02:40 PM
Now I understand we already touched upon this subject where we ended up talking about wings, angels and what not but my point is: I understand that female gamers have very few female characters to play with and relate with but don't you - as a female gamer - feel cheated when you get to play a female protagonist who shouldn't even be there, who should't even be in that role?

I mean, apologies for using such a strong word but are you so desperate to play as a female character that you are ready to do it in a context where a woman's job, as you said, was not to lead but to serve?

I absolutely don't feel cheated. I'm delighted to have proper representation, in the form of a woman who's not overly sexualised and who has her own character arc. You say she shouldn't be in that role, but we're talking about AC. We already had Aveline, James Kidd, Maria Thorpe and a bunch of other kickass assassins who were at the forefront of the movement. Only one of those was playable though, until Shao Jun in a minor platforming game that came free with the season pass. THAT is more offensive to me as a female gamer. Shao being only the second playable female character in a series that spans over 10 titles, and her game gets thrown in as a freebie due to Unity's failure, as if her game didn't even matter enough to be released on its own. Chronicles was barely even marketed so not many people knew what it was. When Syndicate was made, the game had proper marketing with Evie featuring heavily in the trailers, posters etc. They acted like they actually cared about her game and made sure people knew she was the second main character. I expected her to be handled with respect and treated as something more than a minor plot device, and she was. Why would I feel cheated?

The second paragraph makes no sense. Evie doesn't serve, she leads alongside her brother. If she were there in the historically accurate context, i.e. a mere background character whose job is to swoon and get the vapors at every opportunity, I would not have wanted to play as her. But that's not at all who she was. She was someone who took charge, planned her attacks, respected the Creed - everything that Jacob was, in fact, not. I played about 95% of the game as Evie, to the extent that to me she was the main character, and I sometimes forgot her brother entirely.



I mean is this how developers intend to solve the problem of the lack of female protagonists in games, by giving them a role that historically should have been given to a man? Shouldn't they, instead, design and develop more games with a female protagonist because she really should belong in the world?

And do what? Play as a prostitute? As a maid? A stay-at-home mother? The cleaning lady? Wooow, sounds much too exciting, fetch me my smelling salts lest I faint. Are you saying the AC series must forever only feature male characters because it's just a historical fact that men got to do all the cool stuff for thousands of years? That women should never have the kind of representation that matters to them?

Farlander1991
02-17-2016, 02:46 PM
Only one of those was playable though, until Shao Jun in a minor platforming game that came free with the season pass. THAT is more offensive to me as a female gamer. Shao being only the second playable female character in a series that spans over 10 titles, and her game gets thrown in as a freebie due to Unity's failure, as if her game didn't even matter enough to be released on its own.

Just a little correction that Chronicles was part of the Season Pass long before Unity was a failure. And it was then announced that Chronicles is a stand-alone title but Season Pass owners of Unity will get it as part of the pass. What happened with Unity though muddled pretty much everything that revolved around Chronicles, so... :/ But it wasn't an afterthought or a freebie due to Unity's failure.

MikeFNY
02-17-2016, 02:57 PM
The second paragraph makes no sense. Evie doesn't serve, she leads alongside her brother. If she were there in the historically accurate context, i.e. a mere background character whose job is to swoon and get the vapors at every opportunity, I would not have wanted to play as her. But that's not at all who she was. She was someone who took charge, planned her attacks, respected the Creed - everything that Jacob was, in fact, not. I played about 95% of the game as Evie, to the extent that to me she was the main character, and I sometimes forgot her brother entirely.

I didn't say her role in the game should have been to serve Jacob, far from that. I was referring to your previous comment when you were fair enough to admit that if Syndicate were entirely historically accurate, Evie wouldn't have a role to play at all. I was just asking how do you feel about the fact that to play a female protagonist you have to play a game that goes against "historically accurate" facts.


And do what? Play as a prostitute? As a maid? A stay-at-home mother? The cleaning lady? Wooow, sounds much too exciting, fetch me my smelling salts lest I faint. Are you saying the AC series must forever only feature male characters because it's just a historical fact that men got to do all the cool stuff for thousands of years? That women should never have the kind of representation that matters to them?

Come on, don't twist my words please, you're smarter than that. I mentioned three games with a female protagonist earlier and I don't remember Lea Nichols in the Experiment taking off her clothes and shaking her butt to whoever was behind the camera or Kate Walker rolling in the snow in a bikini in Syberia. Yet still today I consider The Experiment as one of the most interesting and original games I ever played and Syberia one of the best adventure games ever made.

So no, I'm not asking for female protagonists to be removed from gaming or to give them a sad, cheap role. As for AC, why not a female protagonist in the modern day?

VestigialLlama4
02-17-2016, 03:01 PM
The second paragraph makes no sense. Evie doesn't serve, she leads alongside her brother. If she were there in the historically accurate context, i.e. a mere background character whose job is to swoon and get the vapors at every opportunity, I would not have wanted to play as her.

And again it would not be "historically accurate", it was quite common for women to serve in teenage gangs in this period. There are even cases of women gang leaders. The Frye Twins are victorian gang leaders, a little more overpowered and influential than actual street gangs but fundamentally Evie Frye being a gang leader is not unrealistic. Her looking so middle-class and speaking good English and still leading cockney types is unrealistic however...but that's all there is.


And do what? Play as a prostitute? As a maid? A stay-at-home mother? The cleaning lady? Wooow, sounds much too exciting, fetch me my smelling salts lest I faint. Are you saying the AC series must forever only feature male characters because it's just a historical fact that men got to do all the cool stuff for thousands of years? That women should never have the kind of representation that matters to them?

Historically, prostitutes/maids/stay-at-home mothers/cleaning ladies were a lot more important. They often served as behind-the-scenes puppet-masters and especially, prostitutes and maids in particular, were employed as spies by various factions and worked as pickpockets and crooks. I mean a lot of criminals and confidence artists were basically servants of wealthy people who supplemented their legal work with illegal work. Because it didn't pay enough.

In any case, history is written by the winners...i.e. white christian straight men. So they pretend that "the Other" were marginal and had limited roles forgetting everything else. Today, we know that the past was really a lot diverse and that the existing history books that came before is the one that's fictional and made-up.

I mean in the Medieval World, before the Black Death and the Renaissance, women owned farms and businesses. Some of them even had primitive voting rights. And the criminal underworld, until the rise of Organized Crime in America, was incredibly diverse and open to people of all stripes. You have made many pirate women across the world...crime leaders and so on.

Homosexuality and trans-behaviour, women on the margins who carved niches for themselves and defied the odds always existed in every society. It's our imagination that's at problem.

ERICATHERINE
02-17-2016, 05:15 PM
I agree with all the fuss UBI made about Ned all he got was what.... 2 cutscenes.

Actually, he got an intro where we see him for the first time in the game. Then, he get another cutscene which let us do some thieves missions for him. He was in this video of a mission from 7 : 25 to 12 : 00.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU8Opc7H5I4
And he also got this cutscene :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVKAHHnVJa0
^-^

cawatrooper9
02-17-2016, 05:43 PM
Regarding women in gangs- This video describes some of the gangs in Victorian London, and there were indeed women in them- in fact, at least one gang was predominantly women.

https://youtu.be/qmLvWL3_mOA

Regarding suspension of disbelief-
We can accept that the Assassins and anything related to them as being anachronistic or far more progressive than their time. That's all well and good, the Assassins are our constants across the ages. If we have an atheist homosexual Assassin with a penchant for socialism and set them in the middle of Puritan America, I wouldn't bat an eye. But when we characters who exist in the historical world outside of the Assassins... well, that's where it gets a little bit messy.

Sometimes this can be done well, however. Achilles was a good and pretty believable mix of a successful and relatively wealthy African American during a time when such a thing would be unlikely- but even then, he was aware of his unfortunately precarious and still subjugated position (and keep in mind, he's even an Assassin).

My point is, I love that AC strives to not whitewash history. But I am cautious that they not go overboard in their representations.

LoyalACFan
02-18-2016, 07:35 AM
Just wanted to hop back into this thread so my earlier not-that-serious post won't be misconstrued.

I don't have a problem with a trans character popping up in a game set in the height of Victorian prudery. I don't really even have a problem with him being a blatant diversity token, even though it's lazy. What I DO have a problem with is that people are trying to paint it as some kind of major step forward for trans visibility in games, because it isn't. It's nothing. Ned is such a worthless, one-dimensional character that I barely remembered who he was when I would get one of those post-mission pop-ups saying his loyalty had increased. The same thing goes for essentially all of Syndicate's supporting cast as well (well, slightly less so for Henry and Abberline I guess since they at least did stuff onscreen) but it's just frustrating to me that people even comment so vehemently on this dreck. Ned's not a character, he's a cardboard cutout. So are all the other loyalty mission allies. They can all be summed up completely by a simple physical description; there's the bumbling cop, the fast-talking bookie, the precocious little cockney scamp, and the trans dude. All of them just bland cliches that do nothing for the story, never interact with the protagonists outside of a simple "do this for me and I'll give you stuff," and simply serve as window dressing for a pretty Victorian setting.

TL;DR version, Ned is a sucky non-character and people should neither see him as a step forward for trans characters nor get butthurt over his inclusion.


And while they did change their disclaimer at the beginning of the game, asides from Ned we have a kiss between two men, gay couples in the crowd, cross-dressing Aberline (for work, but still :p ) etc. so I think the change of disclaimer overall is more or less justified.

But there shouldn't be a disclaimer there at all. The "faiths and beliefs" one bugged me, but it was a tad more understandable back in 2007 when they presented a game that could be (wrongly) construed as a story about a Muslim guy hunting down and killing Christians, and then immediately doubled down with a game where the Pope (who is literally infallible according to modern Catholic doctrine) is portrayed as a corrupt, murderous, incestuous pedophile. But what controversial statement could they possibly be making about LGBT characters in Syndicate? That they exist? Oh noes, there's a trans guy and a scene where two dudes kiss! Le gasp! The fact that they felt the need to put a "Here Be Gays" trigger warning in the friggin' opening credits makes me squirm. Grown-up media doesn't do that.

VestigialLlama4
02-18-2016, 08:11 AM
I don't have a problem with a trans character popping up in a game set in the height of Victorian prudery. I don't really even have a problem with him being a blatant diversity token, even though it's lazy. What I DO have a problem with is that people are trying to paint it as some kind of major step forward for trans visibility in games, because it isn't.

The only people making a big deal of Ned Wynert has been...people arguing against tokenism. Trans people haven't trumpeted Ned Wynert nor have they made a big deal about him. You hact as if Ubisoft won a GLAAD award or something.

The only people who have a right to say anything against tokenism are trans people and they haven't complained about Syndicate, have most likely not ackowledged its existence since, guess what...Ubisoft never promoted Ned Wynert. Not on posters or trailers. For the rest of us, arguing against Ned Wynert's inclusion as a background mission giver is about as logical as arguing against Agnes the Scottish Locomotive Woman. I mean these are side characters and NPCs...


But there shouldn't be a disclaimer there at all.

Disclaimers are there for legal/marketing reasons alone. It's not anything else.


But what controversial statement could they possibly be making about LGBT characters in Syndicate? That they exist?

The existence of trans and gay people in earlier eras is actually very controversial since a lot of posters here deny the possibility. Not only do these people display ignorance but they refuse to double check and investigate their assumption. This is what the internet is there for. Being ignorant about history on many obscure topics is not surprising, and its inevitable but remaining ignorant and refusing to learn is a million times worse.


The fact that they felt the need to put a "Here Be Gays" trigger warning in the friggin' opening credits makes me squirm. Grown-up media doesn't do that.

In theory no...in practise, well video games are definitely not a grown-up medium. So they do need to do all this stuff.

SixKeys
02-18-2016, 09:20 AM
Come on, don't twist my words please, you're smarter than that. I mentioned three games with a female protagonist earlier and I don't remember Lea Nichols in the Experiment taking off her clothes and shaking her butt to whoever was behind the camera or Kate Walker rolling in the snow in a bikini in Syberia. Yet still today I consider The Experiment as one of the most interesting and original games I ever played and Syberia one of the best adventure games ever made.

Not having heard of any of those games, I can only assume they're not historical parkour stealth games. Because like I said, that's what I'm here for. That's why I choose to play AC instead of something else, like Mirror's Edge. Mirror's Edge has parkour and a female protagonist, but lacks the historical component and ancient conspiracies.

Basically, what you're saying is that having complete historical accuracy is more important to you than making video games an inclusive medium that everyone can enjoy, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. It's frankly insulting.



So no, I'm not asking for female protagonists to be removed from gaming or to give them a sad, cheap role. As for AC, why not a female protagonist in the modern day?

Because everyone outside these forums hates modern day (and even in here it's a 50-50 split). Even if that weren't the case, MD has always been only a small part of AC. So we would get to play as a woman for all of 20 minutes, at most.

I would love a game that does both: a female MD character who explores the past as one of her female ancestors. But the MD we have right now? I couldn't care less about Galina. I don't know anything about her because her backstory was only explored in the now-defunct Initiates database, and I didn't care about that. In Syndicate all she does is some ridiculous cartwheels which is about the least practical thing one can do under gunfire, so I can only assume she is a complete idiot. I don't want to play as her, and the chances of playing as Rebecca are slim. They could always introduce someone new, but what would be the point of Galina then?

LoyalACFan
02-18-2016, 10:16 AM
The only people making a big deal of Ned Wynert has been...people arguing against tokenism. Trans people haven't trumpeted Ned Wynert nor have they made a big deal about him. You hact as if Ubisoft won a GLAAD award or something.

No, it isn't a huge deal, and that's kind of my point. Threads like this one are pointless. Ned, insofar as he is a trans character, isn't worth praising or disparaging, he's just there. And no, it's not like the discussion has lit the Internet on fire or anything, but I have seen a handful posters arguing bitterly about the character on both sides, and it's irksome because it's just a bunch of childish vitriol over a lazily-written blank slate of a character. The problem with Ned is that he sucks, not that he's trans.


For the rest of us, arguing against Ned Wynert's inclusion as a background mission giver is about as logical as arguing against Agnes the Scottish Locomotive Woman. I mean these are side characters and NPCs...

Ah, Agnes, another character who contributed nothing except a few sassy Scottish idioms. Hell, I'll actually give Jeffrey some credit here for including Ned as the one supporting character who isn't a gigantic cliche.


Disclaimers are there for legal/marketing reasons alone. It's not anything else.

What reasons, though? I seriously can't think of a single legitimate reason why the disclaimer was necessary, other than to pretend like there's still a hint of social commentary in these games. Of course there's going to be criticism over the inclusion of LGBT "characters" (hence this thread) but Ubi has absolutely no obligation to coddle and mollify those critics. It's not like they can mount a lawsuit against them for being scarred for life after witnessing two computer-animated dudes kiss.


In theory no...in practise, well video games are definitely not a grown-up medium. So they do need to do all this stuff.

No they don't (no other game with LGBT characters does) and they're just helping to stall games from becoming a grown-up medium by doing so. If they're this god-damned petrified of stepping on somebody's toes with content as tame and edgeless as Syndicate, then there's no hope that they're ever going to really take chances.

MikeFNY
02-18-2016, 10:29 AM
Not having heard of any of those games, I can only assume they're not historical parkour stealth games. Because like I said, that's what I'm here for. That's why I choose to play AC instead of something else, like Mirror's Edge. Mirror's Edge has parkour and a female protagonist, but lacks the historical component and ancient conspiracies.

Basically, what you're saying is that having complete historical accuracy is more important to you than making video games an inclusive medium that everyone can enjoy, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race. It's frankly insulting.

I'm saying that I don't agree when we impose our gender, sexual orientation or race on creativity.

Game designers should have the right to design the game they want, with the protagonists they want and in the setting they want. What would be insulting is to ask a team to go against their original idea because their product wouldn't fit our agenda.

You say video gaming should be a medium everyone can enjoy. Why can't you enjoy a franchise that is designed with a male protagonist in mind?

It seems the problem here is not the lack of videogames with a female protagonist but forcing developers to include a female protagonist in the games you play.

And if that's really the case then I respectfully disagree with your perspective.

Granted, you don't know the game but I'll keep talking about Syberia, a game that has reached its third chapter if I'm not wrong. I played the game, loved the game, loved the protagonist from day one and it never crossed my mind to ask why the protagonist is a she and not a he.

Actually, I would be bitterly disappointed if a man opens a petition saying that the game should include a male protagonist and the developers accommodate such a ridiculous wish.

I know, I'm being repetitive and annoying but the second assassin added in Syndicate made the game worse, the fact that they went in opposition directions was a clear sign that there was no need to have a second. We touched on this subject before, it would have been epic if you could actually control both assassins in the same mission but they took the easy path of having one going after the Templars and the other going after the piece of eden. And it ended up being a complete mess, the same mess a game like Syberia would probably end up in if they decide to add a second, male protagonist just to accommodate the agenda of male gamers.


Because everyone outside these forums hates modern day (and even in here it's a 50-50 split). Even if that weren't the case, MD has always been only a small part of AC. So we would get to play as a woman for all of 20 minutes, at most.

I would love a game that does both: a female MD character who explores the past as one of her female ancestors. But the MD we have right now? I couldn't care less about Galina. I don't know anything about her because her backstory was only explored in the now-defunct Initiates database, and I didn't care about that. In Syndicate all she does is some ridiculous cartwheels which is about the least practical thing one can do under gunfire, so I can only assume she is a complete idiot. I don't want to play as her, and the chances of playing as Rebecca are slim. They could always introduce someone new, but what would be the point of Galina then?

Ok, my mistake, I should have expanded on this.

In fact I was not asking for the modern day as it is now but more like a 50/50 approach. And I'm on your same boat in respect to Galina, I had no idea who she was before Syndicate and have no idea why some are praising her so much but remember that the game is taking a year off to be redesigned, hopefully rewritten.

I want to believe that the modern day will be bigger and have a bigger weight and in that case we can get to know someone new, male or female, someone whose role will grow as the series moves on.

My idea, although some said it would be very difficult to achieve, is a game where you play a city both in the old days and in the modern day, same city, different era, 50/50 approach.

qmagnet
02-18-2016, 01:47 PM
The existence of trans and gay people in earlier eras is actually very controversial since a lot of posters here deny the possibility. Not only do these people display ignorance but they refuse to double check and investigate their assumption. This is what the internet is there for. Being ignorant about history on many obscure topics is not surprising, and its inevitable but remaining ignorant and refusing to learn is a million times worse.
I've already asked you kindly to stop participating in my threads. Here you go again insulting other people. Calling people ignorant is insulting especially when they include links to sites that show historical information.

http://www.timeout.com/london/lgbt/cross-dressing-in-victorian-london

You continue to imply that there is something wrong with people socially if they do not agree that a trans person belongs as a successful businessperson in a Victorian period piece, when you're the one who has a massive issue with Unity being historically inaccurate.

Please find another thread to participate in. I do not care with whatever point you feel you need to refute. I am done talking to you particularly.

Anyone who can hold a discussion without insulting each other, I'd be happy to talk with.

Senningiri_GR
02-19-2016, 08:37 AM
Well he was very little in the game...

Jessigirl2013
02-19-2016, 04:08 PM
As I said before in this thread, Ubi didn't make a fuss about Ned. The press did. Ubi wasn't pushing Ned actively. They mentioned him to Eurogamer as part of a bigger interview. It is Eurogamer who has decided to make a separate article out of it, and then everyone joined in and published more articles based on the Eurogamer one.

So while there's reasons to criticize Ned, I think it's unfair to criticize him on a basis of how he was promoted, because Ubi didn't promote him.

Why did UBI feel the need to mention it in the first place, They know the press make a big deal out the these sorts of things.

But we all know they wanted this publicity as they have had very bad PR of late and need some good.

Jessigirl2013
02-19-2016, 04:12 PM
Actually, he got an intro where we see him for the first time in the game. Then, he get another cutscene which let us do some thieves missions for him. He was in this video of a mission from 7 : 25 to 12 : 00.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU8Opc7H5I4
And he also got this cutscene :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVKAHHnVJa0
^-^

I just expected ... more.:rolleyes:
But like all side characters apart from abberline, his character just seemed really half baked, like some scenes were edited out.

Jessigirl2013
02-19-2016, 04:14 PM
Well he was very little in the game...

Exactly.:rolleyes:

Sushiglutton
02-19-2016, 04:41 PM
I'm saying that I don't agree when we impose our gender, sexual orientation or race on creativity.

Game designers should have the right to design the game they want, with the protagonists they want and in the setting they want. What would be insulting is to ask a team to go against their original idea because their product wouldn't fit our agenda.

You say video gaming should be a medium everyone can enjoy. Why can't you enjoy a franchise that is designed with a male protagonist in mind?

It seems the problem here is not the lack of videogames with a female protagonist but forcing developers to include a female protagonist in the games you play.

And if that's really the case then I respectfully disagree with your perspective.


This is a very interesting discussion to me atm. Trying to figure out exactly what free speech entails and what the rules for it should be. First off when you write "forcing developers(...)" what exactly does that mean? It seems to me like writing letters, doing petitions and other non-violent acts are not really "forcing". To "force someone" is to make someone do something they don't want, under some kind of (violent) threat. Suggesting a more inclusive cast is perfectly fine in my book.


That being said free speech seems broken at the moment because these kind of initiatives are becoming increasingly mob-like. And there are real threats for creative persons to consider. Perhaps not directly violence, but losing ones job, getting blacklisted, social stigma and so on. With the power of social media these socially imposed threats seem way more serious than they did before. I think that's incredibly destructive as it prevents free speech, the most important freedom of all for a functional democracy. This is especially troublesome as some of the PC-dogmas are stigmatizing criticism of things that really need to be criticized (such as religion, certain religions in particular...).


Sorry for this little rant, I guess in summary what I want to say is this: It's fine for people to give suggestions for the art they like. But I agree with you (if that's your position) that everyone need to show some restraint so that these suggestions don't turn into demands backed up by disproportional threats (threating to not buy a product is fine, harassment is not, for example). Our societies are suffering immensely atm because rational decisions are not being made due to a hampered public discourse.

SixKeys
02-19-2016, 04:58 PM
I typed a long-*** reply to this and then accidentally pressed the Back button and wiped out the entire reply. :mad: So I'll try to make this shorter.




Game designers should have the right to design the game they want, with the protagonists they want and in the setting they want. What would be insulting is to ask a team to go against their original idea because their product wouldn't fit our agenda.

And they did that in Syndicate, as Jeff Yohalem makes abundantly clear in Loomer's interview, yet here we are, with people complaining that the devs shouldn't be doing this stuff. Odd how developers only ever have an "agenda" when they decide to put more progressive stuff in their games instead of catering to the usual demographic.



You say video gaming should be a medium everyone can enjoy. Why can't you enjoy a franchise that is designed with a male protagonist in mind?


Would I be here if I couldn't enjoy a franchise centered around a male protagonist? After all, we've had 9 of them so far against 3 playable females (including the Chronicles games).

What I want is for the series to be bold and have real diversity. Your fear is that developers are having to change their creative vision to appease the PC crowd; my fear is that they're having to change their creative vision to appease the typical gamer crowd.

"We can't have a gay main character, otherwise all the straight players won't buy it!"
"We can't have a main game with just a woman as the protagonist, all the male gamers would complain. Let's give her a brother and make sure he gets the bulk of the story missions."
"We can't make a game about an escaped slave killing white slavers! He can be in a DLC, but make the main game about a charismatic white pirate."



I know, I'm being repetitive and annoying but the second assassin added in Syndicate made the game worse, the fact that they went in opposition directions was a clear sign that there was no need to have a second. We touched on this subject before, it would have been epic if you could actually control both assassins in the same mission but they took the easy path of having one going after the Templars and the other going after the piece of eden. And it ended up being a complete mess, the same mess a game like Syberia would probably end up in if they decide to add a second, male protagonist just to accommodate the agenda of male gamers.

What you're describing isn't due to the game having two playable characters, it's due to the writing and technical limitations. Unity gave us the ability to have three other players in the same mission, but it wasn't any more interesting from a story perspective. That game wasn't flawed because they chose to have co-op at all, it was because technical limitations prevented them from making the co-op component satisfying. The final boss fight in Syndicate could have been more satisfying had they approached it differently. The way they ended up doing it felt awkward and contrived (one sibling getting knocked out every 2 minutes), but that doesn't mean the basic premise of having two controllable assassin was the problem, it's that they didn't do something more interesting with the mission design.



My idea, although some said it would be very difficult to achieve, is a game where you play a city both in the old days and in the modern day, same city, different era, 50/50 approach.

I would love that, but at this point I think it's a pipe dream. MD is never going back to the Desmond days, it's too much trouble to write two separate storylines simultaneously while keeping every game consistent.

MikeFNY
02-19-2016, 05:56 PM
Sorry for this little rant, I guess in summary what I want to say is this: It's fine for people to give suggestions for the art they like. But I agree with you (if that's your position) that everyone need to show some restraint so that these suggestions don't turn into demands backed up by disproportional threats (threating to not buy a product is fine, harassment is not, for example). Our societies are suffering immensely atm because rational decisions are not being made due to a hampered public discourse.

I will try to give you a proper answer sushi but please understand that such a subject cannot be easily tackled in one post.

For now, just take a deep breath :)

Today we're living in a society where before doing something, before saying something, before even raising your finger to ask a question you have to think twice, just like before crossing the road, you know, the old "look to my right, look to the left and look to the right again?".

It is easy to understand why.

If you make a mistake nobody will politely ask you to explain yourself, they will take it to social media to attack you, insult you or even worse. The sad thing is that when that happens you are literally forced to apologise even if you acted in good faith.

Like everything, creativity is suffering from this.

If I were a game designer and in an interview I say something like "I could have done it but I decided not to add a black character in my game", by the time I explain myself in detail many individuals would have already spent hours asking for my game to be boycotted.

Nobody will ask for an explanation, which in this case would be, "I apologise, what I meant is that there should be more black characters in gaming and in fact my next game will be entirely based around the life of a black person".

See the "I apologise", even if what I said was far from being racist?

People who create games, movies, literature, etc. have to live with this. They have to please everyone. For example, why is Ned a transgender? What difference would it have made for this character to be a man or a woman? This is not about whether transgenders existed back then or not, or whether they were arrested or not.

It's that everyone keeps talking about this character as being AC's first transgendered character as if at one stage this franchise had to include a transgender character.

SixKeys is right, this is a possibility with Syndicate:

"We can't have a main game with just a woman as the protagonist, all the male gamers would complain. Let's give her a brother and make sure he gets the bulk of the story missions."

Actually, I believe the other way round happened, Evie was NOT part of the original project and the writers had to change the story to have her in the game following Alex Amancio's Unity comments.

But in doing so they ended up creating a mess because it was damage control. Remember, Syndicate was leaked in December 2014, Kotaku revealed the city, street-racing with carriages, the assassin swapping his hood for a top hat and, what I believe is bigger than the female protagonist, the rope launcher, something copied from another game.

No mention whatsoever of having two characters, a game that has been under development for how many, two years?

Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe she was indeed the main star of the game, the only assassin of the game but as SixKeys correctly said, they would have still had to change the story had they decided to go down that path.

Or maybe they wanted both assassins from day one and it turned out to be just a poorly-written and designed product, but I doubt it.

To conclude, maybe I'm looking too much into this but my point is: the moment someone goes on Twitter complaining that "x" game has no "y" characters, many will join him/her and the moment you have the snowball effect there's not much you can do other than accommodating the request.

That's what I meant by "forcing". In a world where dialogue is becoming more and more an exception rather than the norm, yes, even a petition could force you into changing your product clearly because if you ignore it the snowball will keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Remember, sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword.

MikeFNY
02-19-2016, 06:12 PM
What I want is for the series to be bold and have real diversity. Your fear is that developers are having to change their creative vision to appease the PC crowd; my fear is that they're having to change their creative vision to appease the typical gamer crowd.

You echo my sentiments entirely there, this is actually what I said in my previous reply, it sadly goes both ways. I never meant that my problem is only with female gamers "forcing" developers into including more female protagonists, it's actually exactly as you described it.

Maybe Adéwalé was indeed scripted to be the main character in Black Flag but for what you said they opted to have him in a DLC.

Would it have made a difference to me? No, funnily enough I found him more interesting than "charming Edward". But for others it would have made a difference, there's not much we can do, it's the sad world we live in.

My ultimate conclusion is: it would be nice if these developers, for once, design the product they want to design without having to cater for me, you or others.

Will it ever happen? I doubt it, actually, no, it will never happen which is why I said creativity is being damaged, it seems that when a creative product is designed, there a set of predefined rules such as:

1. There must be a gay character
2. There must be a black character
3. There must be a female character
4. There must be a transgender character

You then turn the page and you see the "But" list and here I quote you:

1. BUT: "We can't have a gay main character, otherwise all the straight players won't buy it!"
2. BUT: "We can't make a game about an escaped slave killing white slavers! He can be in a DLC, but make the main game about a charismatic white pirate."
3. BUT: ""We can't have a main game with just a woman as the protagonist, all the male gamers would complain. Let's give her a brother and make sure he gets the bulk of the story missions."

I repeat, it goes both ways and I find it extremely sad.


What you're describing isn't due to the game having two playable characters, it's due to the writing and technical limitations. Unity gave us the ability to have three other players in the same mission, but it wasn't any more interesting from a story perspective. That game wasn't flawed because they chose to have co-op at all, it was because technical limitations prevented them from making the co-op component satisfying. The final boss fight in Syndicate could have been more satisfying had they approached it differently. The way they ended up doing it felt awkward and contrived (one sibling getting knocked out every 2 minutes), but that doesn't mean the basic premise of having two controllable assassin was the problem, it's that they didn't do something more interesting with the mission design.

Fair enough, but what was the end result to us gamers? A game with two protagonists that feels like a game with one protagonist .You played 85% of the game with Evie, so did I, at least until I unlocked the chameleon skill.

Others played 85% of the game with Jacob. So what exactly was the point of having two protagonists? It didn't help the gameplay, it didn't help the story either since they went in two complete different directions. And when they joined forces in the very last mission of the game it all felt awkward.

I want to believe that someone, at some stages, did say, "Wait a second my friends, we have two assassins here but they never work in tandem if not in the very last mission, let's rethink the mission design, placing on the table all that we learned from Unity".

I again quote my previous reply, maybe they really wanted to have a game with only a female protagonist after all but didn't for what you said. After all her missions were far more interesting, at least for someone like myself who is more interested in the pieces of eden than to annihilate templates.

Sushiglutton
02-19-2016, 08:19 PM
MikeFNY: I have actually changed my mind a lot on this topic lately and moved much closer to your position. Bigotry is a bad thing, but at this moment in time I believe the attack on free speech is actually a much greater danger (I'm from Sweden, so whatever the situation is in your country multiply it by like 10 lol. We are basically destroying our society because people are afraid to speak common sense). I agree with you that people are forced to apologize (sometimes in humiliating ways) for things they shouldn't. I also feel that if you say something that is in fact bigoted, an apology should be enough.

It's difficult for me to speculate what the developers were thinking (partly because I haven't played the game), so I'm gonna refrain from doing so. I agree with you though that the "snowball effect" is transfering seemingly harmless petitions etc into avalanches that can be very harmful to actual dialogue.


Btw I just saw this article today in WP. It's about the incredibly offensive TV-show Friends: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/should-we-forgive-friends-for-feeling-a-little-offensive-in-2016/2016/02/18/e8d47280-d0d3-11e5-b2bc-988409ee911b_story.html


But “Friends’” has been the main lightning rod for such perceived shortcomings, especially since it became available on Netflix in January 2015. Right after that, Slate ran a piece that called Chandler Bing “agonizingly obsolete. . . . Once he may have seemed coolly sarcastic, the gang’s designated ‘funny one.’ But through the eyes of a 2015 viewer even vaguely cognizant of modern gender politics, he’s also the cringe-worthy one.” The piece referenced a YouTube video called “Homophobic Friends,” a montage of the show’s male characters engaging in “gay panic” — where the implication that one of them might be gay is the joke. The concern has cropped up in other online think pieces, listicles and forums, including one Reddit thread that asks: “Was ‘Friends’ really as homophobic as the Internet seems to think it was?”

Hilarious stuff :D

SixKeys
02-19-2016, 10:32 PM
Actually, I believe the other way round happened, Evie was NOT part of the original project and the writers had to change the story to have her in the game following Alex Amancio's Unity comments.

But in doing so they ended up creating a mess because it was damage control. Remember, Syndicate was leaked in December 2014, Kotaku revealed the city, street-racing with carriages, the assassin swapping his hood for a top hat and, what I believe is bigger than the female protagonist, the rope launcher, something copied from another game.

I don't buy that. It would be impossible to make such a major change halfway through production if they hadn't planned it from the start. Farlander has explained in detail why before, he has better knowledge of game development than I do, so I don't want to misquote him. But I do remember him pointing out that modeling, mocap, animation etc. for a second protagonist all takes a lot more time than people think.



Maybe Adéwalé was indeed scripted to be the main character in Black Flag but for what you said they opted to have him in a DLC.

I'm sure BF was always planned to be about Edward. What I also believe is that Adewale's game was first released as a DLC to test the waters, to make sure people liked it enough to release it as its own standalone game. This is exactly what happened with Liberation too. The first AC game to feature a playable woman was developed for a handheld platform, to minimize the potential risks. It proved successful enough that they later released it as an HD version for consoles. The message being sent here is that women and minorities are too risky an investment to carry Ubisoft's main flagship title that year. They can appear in DLCs and offshoot games, but the main games must feature straight, white male characters.

AC1 and AC3 were the exceptions to this rule, AC1 because it was the first and quite different in many ways from the games that followed (and even AC1 made Altaïr sound like the only American in Middle East). AC3 is an odd case because it was the highest-grossing game in the series and featured a minority character in the lead (though sharing screen time with his white European dad), yet Connor wasn't fully embraced by the fandom and since then every main entry has only featured white protagonists, as if Connor's lukewarm reception scared Ubi. The files you find at Abstergo in AC4 strongly imply this is exactly what happened, by talking about Connor being too risky for an entertainment product and encouraging employees to look for more upbeat, mainstream stories.



Will it ever happen? I doubt it, actually, no, it will never happen which is why I said creativity is being damaged, it seems that when a creative product is designed, there a set of predefined rules such as:

1. There must be a gay character
2. There must be a black character
3. There must be a female character
4. There must be a transgender character

You then turn the page and you see the "But" list and here I quote you:

1. BUT: "We can't have a gay main character, otherwise all the straight players won't buy it!"
2. BUT: "We can't make a game about an escaped slave killing white slavers! He can be in a DLC, but make the main game about a charismatic white pirate."
3. BUT: ""We can't have a main game with just a woman as the protagonist, all the male gamers would complain. Let's give her a brother and make sure he gets the bulk of the story missions."

I repeat, it goes both ways and I find it extremely sad.

Your list shows exactly why it doesn't go both ways. You make it a point to list every other option except "There must be a straight male character". If gaming were truly equal, having a straight male character wouldn't be the non-brainer it's currently treated as. Every other type of character is seen as pandering, but straight male characters are not. Why is that? Do you not think studios are pandering to a very specific crowd by choosing to make 99% of all game protagonists straight men? To reference your question to me from earlier, don't you find that insulting as a man? For studios to treat you as being so closed-minded that they need to cater to your demographic at all times? Note that I'm not saying you are closed-minded, but I do find it curious why you think everything else is tokenism but straight male is supposed to be the default. It's the same kind of thinking that pegs white skin as the default starting point, and treats every other skin color as an aberration, despite the fact that white people aren't even the majority race in the world.



Fair enough, but what was the end result to us gamers? A game with two protagonists that feels like a game with one protagonist .You played 85% of the game with Evie, so did I, at least until I unlocked the chameleon skill.

Others played 85% of the game with Jacob. So what exactly was the point of having two protagonists? It didn't help the gameplay, it didn't help the story either since they went in two complete different directions. And when they joined forces in the very last mission of the game it all felt awkward.

That's a legit criticism, but again, it's not due to the mechanic of having two playable characters, it was whether they took proper advantage of the story possibilities. AC3 had two playable protagonists, Haytham and Connor. Do you think it worked any better there? Why or why not? What did our time with Haytham really contribute to the overall story, apart from giving us a sympathetic Templar? Again, if there was a problem in AC3, it wasn't due to the mechanics of having two playable protagonists, it was the writing and whether it did justice to both characters.



I want to believe that someone, at some stages, did say, "Wait a second my friends, we have two assassins here but they never work in tandem if not in the very last mission, let's rethink the mission design, placing on the table all that we learned from Unity".

I wouldn't be surprised if they did, but that's the problem with yearly releases: you never have enough time to rethink your approach and go back to the drawing board. You're forced to go with certain choices even if you know they're not ideal. Of course, as gamers we're still allowed to notice these choices and express criticism, so the devs know what we want improved, but sometimes it's just a reality of game development that you have to ship what you have by a certain date.

MikeFNY
02-20-2016, 09:44 AM
I don't buy that. It would be impossible to make such a major change halfway through production if they hadn't planned it from the start. Farlander has explained in detail why before, he has better knowledge of game development than I do, so I don't want to misquote him. But I do remember him pointing out that modeling, mocap, animation etc. for a second protagonist all takes a lot more time than people think.

I also don't want to misquote anyone but if my memory serves me right the order was:

1. Amancio said that female characters would have "doubled" the required amount of work.
2. Jonathan Cooper contradicted him by saying that additional animation for females would merely require "a day or two's work."
3. All hell broke loose

I'm on the fence on this one believe me but I find it very, very strange that Kotaku's leak mentioned absolutely nothing about a second assassin, not even a hint. Incidentally, if it is as you say, then it means Evie was already an integral part of the story so why not say anything?

Whatever happened, I would be livid to find out that an Assassin's Creed game with a specific story had to be changed to accommodate a second assassin. Same reaction if Evie was supposed to be the main assassin of the game and they added Jacob for the reasons you explained yesterday.



Your list shows exactly why it doesn't go both ways. You make it a point to list every other option except "There must be a straight male character". If gaming were truly equal, having a straight male character wouldn't be the non-brainer it's currently treated as.

Well, clearly I didn't mean this list includes all predefined rules studios have to abide to. I am fully aware of the fact that there are more, that maybe "there must be a straight male character" is one of them, as maybe is "there must be a bad guy" and "there must be a 'helper' for the main character". But no, I didn't make it a point or took it for granted that a straight male character should be the default.

Actually, my point was not really about the items in the "list" but rather that I find it sad that a studio has to abide by certain rules, I find it sad that their creativity has a limit.

Especially when these restrictions create problems to the end product.

Let me give an example: You may be right in believing studios are changing their plans to please a very specific crowd but I wouldn't go as far as saying they are doing it 99% of the times. For instance I don't believe Naughty Dog had a different character in mind when they started with Uncharted.

But maybe we can speculate that they wanted the lead to be a black character.

Now if the original idea was to have the game with a black character but same setting, same story, same weapons, same everything, my concern with the change would be small. It's still sad, mind you, but ultimately it's just an aesthetic change.

But, if the original idea had a different setting, different weapons and a different story, then I would be very disappointed. Even if Uncharted turned out to be one of the best games for the PS3.

I still insist, but happy to be proven wrong of course, that something happened along the way with Syndicate. Now whether it is what I believe or the other way round, I think something happened and it bothers me because it's a case of when these restrictions, rules, we can call them whatever we like, create problems to the end product.

To conclude, allow me to throw something else in the mix: it's not just about discrimination. I might be wrong on Evie but I'm 100% convinced that Syndicate ended up being way too easy because of the Unity reaction. And here I raise my hand and apologise because I was part of a very specific crowd who complained at how difficult Unity was. As a result of this they designed Syndicate in a way that it's not only easy, it's ridiculously easy, and I confirmed this after playing Unity for a month and then going back to Syndicate.

This is ultimately why I'm delighted the series is taking a break because there will be no Unity to compare the next game to and no Syndicate to compare it to, it's a fresh start.

MikeFNY
02-20-2016, 09:55 AM
Btw I just saw this article today in WP. It's about the incredibly offensive TV-show Friends
Yes, welcome to web 2.0.

Had someone said Friends is "homophobic" 20 years ago he would have been made a fool of. But today you take the show, you twist it to make it look the way you want, you upload a video and suddenly you have a Facebook group, "Friends in homophobic".

I agree, it's hilarious, but sad at the same time, many are spouting hate to suit their agenda without even considering the other side of the story that a joke is just a joke, a sign is just a sign and a commercial is just a commercial.

SixKeys
02-20-2016, 11:45 AM
Yes, welcome to web 2.0.

Had someone said Friends is "homophobic" 20 years ago he would have been made a fool of. But today you take the show, you twist it to make it look the way you want, you upload a video and suddenly you have a Facebook group, "Friends in homophobic".

I agree, it's hilarious, but sad at the same time, many are spouting hate to suit their agenda without even considering the other side of the story that a joke is just a joke, a sign is just a sign and a commercial is just a commercial.

Do keep in mind that there is such a thing as "progressive for its time". I don't think anybody's saying Friends was a horribly discriminating show because of a few jokes. It may have even been more progressive than other shows at the time. But the fact that those jokes exist, that they were so normal at the time, does make the show look more dated in 2016. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" seemed like a progressive policy at some point too (introduced around the same time that Friends was on the air), but from our current POV it was discriminatory and unfair. It's okay to like something and still criticize aspects of it in light of the changing times.

Jessigirl2013
02-20-2016, 01:42 PM
You echo my sentiments entirely there, this is actually what I said in my previous reply, it sadly goes both ways. I never meant that my problem is only with female gamers "forcing" developers into including more female protagonists, it's actually exactly as you described it.

Maybe Adéwalé was indeed scripted to be the main character in Black Flag but for what you said they opted to have him in a DLC.

Would it have made a difference to me? No, funnily enough I found him more interesting than "charming Edward". But for others it would have made a difference, there's not much we can do, it's the sad world we live in.

My ultimate conclusion is: it would be nice if these developers, for once, design the product they want to design without having to cater for me, you or others.

Will it ever happen? I doubt it, actually, no, it will never happen which is why I said creativity is being damaged, it seems that when a creative product is designed, there a set of predefined rules such as:

1. There must be a gay character
2. There must be a black character
3. There must be a female character
4. There must be a transgender character

You then turn the page and you see the "But" list and here I quote you:

1. BUT: "We can't have a gay main character, otherwise all the straight players won't buy it!"
2. BUT: "We can't make a game about an escaped slave killing white slavers! He can be in a DLC, but make the main game about a charismatic white pirate."
3. BUT: ""We can't have a main game with just a woman as the protagonist, all the male gamers would complain. Let's give her a brother and make sure he gets the bulk of the story missions."

I repeat, it goes both ways and I find it extremely sad.



Fair enough, but what was the end result to us gamers? A game with two protagonists that feels like a game with one protagonist .You played 85% of the game with Evie, so did I, at least until I unlocked the chameleon skill.

Others played 85% of the game with Jacob. So what exactly was the point of having two protagonists? It didn't help the gameplay, it didn't help the story either since they went in two complete different directions. And when they joined forces in the very last mission of the game it all felt awkward.

I want to believe that someone, at some stages, did say, "Wait a second my friends, we have two assassins here but they never work in tandem if not in the very last mission, let's rethink the mission design, placing on the table all that we learned from Unity".

I again quote my previous reply, maybe they really wanted to have a game with only a female protagonist after all but didn't for what you said. After all her missions were far more interesting, at least for someone like myself who is more interested in the pieces of eden than to annihilate templates.

I think we have all assumed on more than one occasion that the dev team could have a list like this, Makes me want to have a nosey inside their offices.:rolleyes:

But I don't think its as black and white as that though, but I can imagine someone "suggesting" that a trans character would make the game more diverse.

Farlander1991
02-22-2016, 09:58 AM
Since I was mentioned (and the Unity debacle again :D ) I think should get in to clarify some things so people wouldn't be afraid to misquote me. The short gist of it: Jonathan Cooper is generally speaking correct (why wouldn't he, he's an animation director :p ), however surprisingly enough he doesn't mention the whole amount of work that would be required still.

After all, Evie and Jacob share a lot of animations from Arno, but for what happens when you apply male animation to other rigs and just leave it at that, you can look at Unity's disguise skill and what happens when you disguise as female characters. It looks weird, new key animations are still required, and the connections with the rest of the world are still off and that has to be fixed (for example in an animation where you shut somebody's mouth and slice his neck, on a female rig you shut somebody's chin and slice slightly below the neck). Combat, navigation, etc., all that can be applied as a day or two of work to a differently shaped rig, but then you need to spend time fixing it to work properly.

Now, let's not forget that a character is not just animations. A character is his model, and as we have outfit customizations, all the outfits related to it. So, for example, in Unity's case not only every part of the gear would've needed to have a female variant, it also would've needed to have everything work correctly so the models would stay properly (there's always bugs related to that) as well as mix and matching between everything. In Syndicate's case with a bit less broad customization that's less of an issue, but still. Similar case with weapons. Plus, in case of weapons, as I mentioned earlier the connection with the world and enemies is important (at least in such animation-heavy game like AC).

And I still in general haven't mentioned all the work that would go in creating a second playable female character in addition to the male one, even if she shares a lot of male animations (which Evie does share). But the short gist of it: it's not something you simply add in the middle of the project.

Speaking of the Kotaku leak, one important thing to mention that it's not a leak of a demo or anything, but of target footage video. It's one of the first things done during pre-production phase to get the general feel of the game. Doesn't really have any story elements in it other than possible concepts or ideas, but at this point in time there's usually nothing concrete, and as two playable characters in ACS is more of a narrative thing rather than a gameplay concept, it's not really surprising that it was absent from target footage.

MikeFNY
02-22-2016, 11:47 AM
Very kind Stanislav, it's true you learn something new every day.

Sorrosyss
02-22-2016, 08:29 PM
Farlander makes a great point about the character models of Unity. I don't think that was really why the issue got such traction though, I think it was more how the multiplayer was implemented. After all, we had Elise with her own animations and such, and the females of the the previous games's multiplayer all pretty much shared the male animations.

What we had with Unity was the situation where we went from a really diverse multiplayer character selection within Black Flag, to suddenly being forced to play as Arno - but appear as generic white males to other players. Yes, that was the way Ubisoft designed it, but if they had handled it differently say by letting players team up and escort an NPC Arno - we still could have had the inclusivity that previous multiplayer provided.

People argue historical accuracy with these things, but the simple truth is that Ubisoft are releasing a product in the modern era of Twitter. If there is a case to be made for social exclusion by a major corporation, you can bet your life that the media will run with it. And that's exactly what happened with Unity. It was one of many design disappointments that ultimately made the game the object of such ire.

Inclusivity is a subject that is important to me in the real world, and I personally thought it was a nice touch to put in Ned. I mean yes we see the nice inclusive team message at the start of every Assassin's Creed, but it's nice to see it implemented. It should rightly be applauded.

If we are going to go down the whole "oh well it's not realistic for the time", remember this. Beyond the fact that it is a fictional game, the software we play is running on Helix - a tool that has repeatedly been manipulated and changed by Abstergo. Its pretty much a catch all for anything people don't approve of in these games. It's never intended as 100% historical accuracy, it's fictional entertainment. And that's something we should all enjoy, whatever our background.

Farlander1991
02-22-2016, 09:06 PM
What we had with Unity was the situation where we went from a really diverse multiplayer character selection within Black Flag, to suddenly being forced to play as Arno - but appear as generic white males to other players. Yes, that was the way Ubisoft designed it, but if they had handled it differently say by letting players team up and escort an NPC Arno - we still could have had the inclusivity that previous multiplayer provided.

I really disagree that the general design direction here is the problem. What Black Flag and others have is a separate multiplayer mode, what Unity tried to do is incorporating multiplayer co-op into the main single-player world experience. Having you select a character that's not the protagonist is the last thing you want to do in such experience, staying as the protagonist while all others take place of different characters (but the protagonist on their end) is the right way to go (and was proven to be quite successful IMO in Watch_Dogs multiplayer where everybody's Aiden on their end).

That said, with the way co-op got implemented in the end, it might as well have been a separate mode, with Arno not being acknowledged in any of the missions bar one, and half of them happening when he was actually exiled from the Brotherhood. But that's more of a '**** happens during production and gets messed up' rather than a problem with the general concept.

What would make Unity's co-op mode much more successful and involved would be having all those different Assassins be actual characters from the narrative that you meet and interact with during the main storyline and who get controlled by other people essentially in co-op mode. Everybody stays always as the protagonist on their end and that's fine.

In case of Syndicate, for example, if it had 2 player co-op, we could have that you could play as any character you want, Jacob or Evie, but the other person would still be the opposite character on your end. I.e. if player #1 is Jacob, player #2 is always Evie from his perspective regardless if player #2 is Evie or Jacob on their end. So two people could be playing as Jacob, two people could be playing as Evie, or it could be 1 is Jacob and 1 is Evie, but there'd be an experience of being on a mission with your sibling regardless, connected with the co-op multiplayer experience. Though, in this particular case there might be issues with character-specific skills, but hey :p What I'm trying to get at is that not having a character select in your single-player open-world experience that has co-op ingrained straight into it is a good thing rather than not.

Jessigirl2013
02-23-2016, 03:39 PM
The issue wasn't the fact that women were not included, It was the bizarre way UBI handled the situation.

Instead of stating that there would be no female characters was because in fact you don't play as any other character you just play as Arno.
They instead thought that saying "women are harder to animate" would diffuse the situation.:rolleyes:

cawatrooper9
02-23-2016, 04:01 PM
The issue wasn't the fact that women were not included, It was the bizarre way UBI handled the situation.

Instead of stating that there would be no female characters was because in fact you don't play as any other character you just play as Arno.
They instead thought that saying "women are harder to animate" would diffuse the situation.:rolleyes:

Not to be an apologist for Ubisoft (I thought it was a strange way to handle it, too) but I almost wonder if this is just a case of poor communication and understanding on both sides. The team working on the game would obviously be overly familiar with the product, inside and out. The fans, obviously, would not know nearly as much about the product at that period of time, yet were yearning to learn more.

Here's what I think might have been a possibility: Fans assumed that the multiplayer aspect of the game would allow one to take control of a different character, much like in the previous games' competitive multiplayer. The developers, however, may not have realized this, and just assumed that everyone knew that you were playing as your version of Arno. So, when prompted about female Assassins, perhaps they assumed that we were asking about whether or not we'd view the other Assassins as possibly female, while on our own screen we'd still be Arno.

I don't know much about a ton about the technical side of game development, but I'd imagine that animating two different models for a single character simultaneously on different screens would be more problematic than simply having everyone play as Arno. So, perhaps that's where the "animation" argument actually stems from, and was simply never properly explained. But that's just a theory.



A GAME Theory!

Of course it's still entirely possible that they were just being lazy and chose a lame excuse. Maybe I'll complain about animation difficulties the next time my fiance asks me to do laundry or something.

Jackdaw951
02-25-2016, 05:04 PM
So do you feel creating such an anachronism is part of an agenda, some sort of proverbial company bucket list?
Or do you feel the character is justified given the fictional universe it exists in?

Personally, I wish they would have created the character in modern times to interact with.

Yes, to your first question. No, to your second. A character like that would have found much graver consequences along the way in that time period and society, and would not have gotten the opportunity to reach his/her status in the game world. If a product of a privileged home, a sanitarium would likely be his/her residence. If the product of poverty, death or a miserable existence in the gutter would be most likely. But it is fiction, and the authors can do as they like. The whole precursor thing is no more believable, yet we accept it. I am not a crusader for any kind of morality or veracity in fiction. On the contrary, I would champion the complete freedom of artists to depict whatever they like, however they like, even if it goes against the taboos of our age.

Yes, in modern times Ned would have made more sense, unquestionably.

Jessigirl2013
02-26-2016, 08:48 PM
Not to be an apologist for Ubisoft (I thought it was a strange way to handle it, too) but I almost wonder if this is just a case of poor communication and understanding on both sides. The team working on the game would obviously be overly familiar with the product, inside and out. The fans, obviously, would not know nearly as much about the product at that period of time, yet were yearning to learn more.

Here's what I think might have been a possibility: Fans assumed that the multiplayer aspect of the game would allow one to take control of a different character, much like in the previous games' competitive multiplayer. The developers, however, may not have realized this, and just assumed that everyone knew that you were playing as your version of Arno. So, when prompted about female Assassins, perhaps they assumed that we were asking about whether or not we'd view the other Assassins as possibly female, while on our own screen we'd still be Arno.

I don't know much about a ton about the technical side of game development, but I'd imagine that animating two different models for a single character simultaneously on different screens would be more problematic than simply having everyone play as Arno. So, perhaps that's where the "animation" argument actually stems from, and was simply never properly explained. But that's just a theory.



Of course it's still entirely possible that they were just being lazy and chose a lame excuse. Maybe I'll complain about animation difficulties the next time my fiance asks me to do laundry or something.

Yeah, that's probably the case.:rolleyes:

I bet the PR person got a telling off :rolleyes:

Mr.Black24
03-01-2016, 06:54 PM
I can already tell this thread is going to be bad for my blood pressure. -___- Luckily for you, I'm not even against your position at all. :)





The point of Ned is that he is just a normal character. He's not meant to have any more of an arc than Clara or the guy who arranges fight clubs. To make him purposefully different from the rest of the cast would have seemed like they were trying too hard. But he's just there. Just another person. That's what transgender people are. So what?
You missed my point. Of course he is another person, a human being. Thats what I wanted, a well respected character that don't resort to harmful stereotypes and that's what I got. What I mean is, character wise, I felt that he wasn't integrated enough in the story as he could have been.



If you listen to Jeffrey Yohalem's interview with Loomer, he makes it a point to say Syndicate was purposefully made for modern sensibilities because they don't want a huge chunk of players to feel like they're spending the entire game being reminded how s****y things have been in the past for their demographics and much they still continue to be so. If Syndicate were entirely historically accurate, Evie wouldn't have a role to play at all, because women were expected to sit at home, look pretty and do nothing. In the game we got, not only is she an active character, but it isn't even questioned by the characters she meets. Henry, Sergeant Abberline, D!ckens etc. treat her just like her brother from the start. And you know what? It's pretty damn awesome, as a woman, to be able to play a game where I'm not constantly reminded at every turn "she's very good for a girl". Evie's gender isn't made into an issue because women like to play games where they can live in a fantasy world and have incredible adventures, without being told by every character we meet "this is completely unrealistic for a woman, you know". We get to feel like our gender doesn't define us, for once. Men get to feel like that in games all the time.


Which is why I wanted Ned to be more empowered in the story. Whats so wrong for me to advocate more of him in doing more action in the story?

You said it yourself, as a female player, you loved playing as Evie being a kick *** Master Assassin. Being an actual character who did what she must, who has thoughts and feelings, who has deep intelligence, and a dangerous set of skills. I played more as her than I had with Jacob, and imagine my surprise when we get to play as another, Lydia Frye, and I am super glad that she wasn't spoiled or leaked out. It was the best treat I had in so long. I heard the podcast, and I did agree with
I'm trying to say is whats not more powerful representation of transgender people is having Ned doing cool stuff as well? Kicking ***, taking names, and not giving a **** about what others say. Its the very same reason why I, being a Native myself, was extremely happy with having Connor, an actual Native American character being well characterized and representative, doing deeds of badassitude. There was no Tanto talk in sight, no errors in Native culture, no teepes and headdresses that unfortunately drags all other tribes into just one form, as many people were surprised that they lived in other forms of housing that aren't teepes. Teepes and headdresses are Plains Indians, which is from tribes such as the Kiowa. He is fighting the fight that Natives are still fighting today, preserving their homes and their culture.

Compared to Evie's representation of a strong, skilled, thoughtful, and kind woman, Ned's representation was just...well...what? I didn't want Ned's only human trait to be just his gender, but thats what it felt like to me.



Transgender people have very, very, very few games where their identity isn't merely a set-up for a joke or where they're treated just like anyone else, not inspiration p*rn for straight people. Essentially, what you're saying is that if the devs included a disabled character in the cast, they must give him/her a proper arc, no matter how minor his/her role, because that's what disabled characters are for: to sate the curiosity of non-disabled people and make them feel better about their own lives.

Not even close mate.

Going back with Leonardo, we had many awesome adventures with the guy. We heard his dreams of shaping the world into something better in different forms, not only in art, but in inventions, new ideas, and philosophy. We see how excited he gets when he sees his best friend, Ezio. How he gets to tinker around with Codex pages and Assassin devices. How they have normal conversations about things from time to time like regular people. Rarely has his sexuality has ever been touched upon, just hints here and there. And when the time came to show it, Ezio accepted him as he always had, as they were best friends for the longest time. I was hoping the same thing with Ned. I wanted to see more adventures with the guy. When I first started the game, I was super excited as I genuinely thought that we were going to have another awesome best friend adventure set with Ned and the Frye twins. He gave off this vib that he's that awesome friend that knows all the cool things that are happening in the neighborhood, and we get to get in the fun with him. I felt that same charisma that rivaled Jacobs and calculating intelligence that Evie would be instantly drawn to and create interesting character dynamics. I wanted to do some humorous heist missions with him and Jacob, cooking up some mean recipes that would spoil the Blighters' day .The thing is, Leonardo's sexuality is part of him, but not him in sum total, he is a full living human being. That is what I wanted with Ned, living. That is why people say he is artificial, a token character.

I couldn't talk to him much, nor learn more about him, nor have more adventures with him.

I felt like I was denied from hanging out with my friend, that is my gripe.

SixKeys
03-02-2016, 02:34 AM
Luckily for you, I'm not even against your position at all. :)

You missed my point. Of course he is another person, a human being. Thats what I wanted, a well respected character that don't resort to harmful stereotypes and that's what I got. What I mean is, character wise, I felt that he wasn't integrated enough in the story as he could have been.

Apologies if I misunderstood your post. The comparison to Leonardo is fair, though it must be pointed out that Leo had far more of a role in Ezio's adventures. Not only were they best friends, but Leo was responsible for upgrading his weapons. He even served as a plot device to make Ezio go to places he otherwise might not have (like when he escorted Leo to Venice and passed through Forlí in the process).

Ned wasn't meant to have such a large role, any more than the other mission givers in ACS. Had they made Ned the ONLY substantial side character in ACS, it would have felt far more like a calculated PR move than honest inclusiveness. "Hey, everybody! We've got a trans character here! Let's market the **** out of him so everyone can see how progressive we are!"

Instead they made Ned just like all the other side characters. No more or less important. To me, that shows the writers do embrace him as just another member of the gang, instead of someone who needs to be specially elevated just because he's different.

Now, if they made a game with a different format - where side characters were actually an integral part of the story, like Leonardo, instead of just quirky people we barely know - and included a trans character with the intent on making him/her a character that stands out due to story reasons, then I'd be all for making them more interesting. Make them our protagonist's love interest or best friend or sister/brother and then you have a reason to focus on their personality. But Ned and the other mission givers in Syndicate never really became close to our heroes, so I frankly don't really care about their backstories. I would argue that even Henry remained rather flat and distant despite being Evie's love interest because there was so little focus on their romance. Give me a reason to care about the side characters by showing that they have a real bond with the hero. Since all the side characters in Syndicate are purposely left two-dimensional, it would be odd if Ned was singled out.

Mr.Black24
03-02-2016, 07:44 AM
Apologies if I misunderstood your post. The comparison to Leonardo is fair, though it must be pointed out that Leo had far more of a role in Ezio's adventures. Not only were they best friends, but Leo was responsible for upgrading his weapons. He even served as a plot device to make Ezio go to places he otherwise might not have (like when he escorted Leo to Venice and passed through Forlí in the process).

Its cool, and as I will reply back, they could have done so with Ned and the others too.


Ned wasn't meant to have such a large role, any more than the other mission givers in ACS. Had they made Ned the ONLY substantial side character in ACS, it would have felt far more like a calculated PR move than honest inclusiveness. "Hey, everybody! We've got a trans character here! Let's market the **** out of him so everyone can see how progressive we are!"

Instead they made Ned just like all the other side characters. No more or less important. To me, that shows the writers do embrace him as just another member of the gang, instead of someone who needs to be specially elevated just because he's different.

I might have to respectfully disagree on that. I mean going back to Leo, if that statement were true, people would have been saying "Ubi is pushing the gay agenda". I heard very little of that, and if anything, love for him was still strong, if not stronger.

If anything, it had the opposite effect. How? Well the fact that when Ubisoft just casually mentioned that Ned was a transgender character, which was flaunted by other outlets, news of this blew up everywhere. Why? You said it, and a lot of people including myself know it: Transgender characters in any mainstream media is a rarity. No one suspected this, and add to the fact that Ubisoft has a good rep in portraying characters of time, locations, races, and culture very true and respectable, many wanted to see how this was going to be handled. Not to mention I highly doubt that Ubisoft would market him that crazily, seeing how Lydia and her story was under ropes, I'd bet the same would have been done for Ned. *Well at least as much as they could, seeing how other news outlets were doing it for them*


Now, if they made a game with a different format - where side characters were actually an integral part of the story, like Leonardo, instead of just quirky people we barely know - and included a trans character with the intent on making him/her a character that stands out due to story reasons, then I'd be all for making them more interesting. Make them our protagonist's love interest or best friend or sister/brother and then you have a reason to focus on their personality. But Ned and the other mission givers in Syndicate never really became close to our heroes, so I frankly don't really care about their backstories. I would argue that even Henry remained rather flat and distant despite being Evie's love interest because there was so little focus on their romance. Give me a reason to care about the side characters by showing that they have a real bond with the hero. Since all the side characters in Syndicate are purposely left two-dimensional, it would be odd if Ned was singled out.
I guess this is where I hyped myself for a bad time, as looking from the demos of Syndicate, I actually expected those characters like Clara to be part of the story as well. I mean that demo of them hunting down Bloody Nora, I'd thought she'd be the little fly on the spy kind of deal. Perhaps having funny moments of seeing a big brother/sister view on the twins too. I mean when you look at how we are first introduced to the characters in Syndicate and compare them to the impressions of our first encounters in AC2, they give off a strong one. One that says that these are the ones who are going to be sticking with you along the way. All these characters who had talked and guided Ezio were in fact Assassins too, hence why they had a part to play, and I thought something similar was going for the crew in Syndicate.

I mean one would think we'd get to hang out and do things with these guys who are apparently part of your cause, hence the whole "Join the Family" feel that was thrown in. Its a bit irritating too that apparently there were missions that were going to be involved with Ned, but were cut off for reasons I don't know why.

Jessvampangel
07-27-2016, 08:39 PM
While I wouldn't necessarily protest having a transgendered person in a video game, this seems a little odd given the timeframe of the game.

I'm surprised nobody has addressed this as of yet (as far as I am aware) but Ned Wynert was actually a real person, as are quite a lot of the character's in this game. His entire backstory is accurate - he got away with being transgender because he pulled off that he was actually a man, so it does work for the timescale. I apologise on behalf of the rude comments in this thread. This is a case of having not known something, as in these cases that something should be taught, not shoved in your face aggressively.

SixKeys
07-27-2016, 10:12 PM
I'm surprised nobody has addressed this as of yet (as far as I am aware) but Ned Wynert was actually a real person, as are quite a lot of the character's in this game. His entire backstory is accurate - he got away with being transgender because he pulled off that he was actually a man, so it does work for the timescale. I apologise on behalf of the rude comments in this thread. This is a case of having not known something, as in these cases that something should be taught, not shoved in your face aggressively.

Where did you hear about this? I see a mention of it on the wiki but they don't cite sources for the claim. A quick google search turns up nothing about a real Ned Wynert.

MnemonicSyntax
07-30-2016, 12:13 PM
After thoroughly enjoying Unity, I just recently started Syndicate. Not very far into the game and I've encountered Ned Wynert. The following may be controversial but have an open mind.

SYNDICATE SPOILERS BELOW
If you've played Syndicate, you'll know Ned is AC's first Transgendered character. And I'm not sure what to think. While I wouldn't necessarily protest having a transgendered person in a video game, this seems a little odd given the timeframe of the game. Syndicate is happening in England 1868. Ned gets introduced clearly as a female in a traditionally male context. All of the character bio identifies Ned as "he", and Ned is voiced by a woman actress. I like to imagine the universe of AC as an alternate - what-could-have-been universe, but rich in real world history. Still, this choice doesn't seem genuine.

Social issues aside, if we look at that time era, even homosexuality was illegal. From what I've read, any "abnormal" sexual lifestyle was deemed as inappropriate to downright illegal.

http://www.bilerico.com/2008/02/transgender_history_into_the_modern_age.php
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/02/brief-history-transgender-issues
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_aspects_of_transgenderism#United_Kingdom
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_LGBT_history_in_Britain

And while in 1868, homosexuality was existent, it definitely was nowhere near as common as it is now. In fact, it was punishable by death if caught until 1861, which then became 10 years of prison. While we may accept these issues as common now, it's quite clear that society very much frowned upon the thought on "non-traditional" sexual orientation and gender identity.

So why did Ubisoft write in Ned? Ned walks in as a likable ally, full of self-assurance and confidence, and other than the voice and face, seems completely traditionally male. Ned's existence doesn't make sense. Either, Ned would be discreet in the transgendered identity, or would be noticed by police and possibly attempting to evade capture. And while the Assassins are for liberty, it's hard to believe not anyone in the universe of AC Victorian London would be turned off by the notion of intersex.

Granted, I've just been introduced to Ned. So that story may change. But all in all, no way any character would call Ned "he". t the very least, they would consider Ned a crossdressing tomboy woman.

Ubisoft's idea of adding a transgendered character in this particular timeframe seems nothing more than a company political statement to appeal to modern social justice. It seem empty. We've seen this with Leonardo Da Vinci being homosexually married in the Ezio saga. Given the timeframe, it's just not historically acceptable that these ideas were so modern. If Ubi wanted to include transgender characters, they could have easily added them into the modern plot of Abstergo. It would seem much more plausible and authentic. But to imply that this new-millenium ideology was completely acceptable in the 19th century is a massive stretch.



Of course this is just my own opinion. Live and let live. It doesn't impede my game. Just thought it was a bit "eye-rolling".
But what are you thoughts?

Your post is eye rolling, considering it was quite common in that time frame for girls to dress as boys to get better access to jobs. This is even discussed in AC3.

D.I.D.
07-31-2016, 12:24 AM
Ned is not an anachronism.

The death penalty for buggery had been repealed by the time of Syndicate's setting, and even before it was rarely used. The law was repealed in 1861, but the last time a death sentence had been handed down for the offence was 1821. Nor were people shy of decrying the law when it stood: the philosopher Jeremy Bentham having published his arguments against the law in his 1785 essay "Offences Against The Self". It's a mistake to assume that just because a law exists that the punishment was widely used, or that offenders lived in fear and secrecy. Societies which use a moral compass derived from religion are bound to draw their sentencing from what their holy books say, but a Christian culture in such modernity had severe problems balancing the orders of the Bible with society as it existed. Gay people were not invisible in Victorian London -- far from it, gay people were highly visible.

Often, people who were tried by the courts were "caught" precisely because they were so flagrant. A gay couple, Frederick Park and Thomas Boulton, who lived in their female alter-egos as Franny and Stella, won their case against the state in 1870 (bearing in mind Syndicate is set in 1868). The jury acquitted them on the basis that they could not prove buggery, and that it was not illegal for men to adopt the dress or characteristics traditionally associated with women. They were confident not only that they would win their case, but that their case would imminently trigger a change in the law. This confidence is interesting. They believed the law would change because they believed that society already had changed. They were jumping the gun about both cases, but they might have been right about London society. While homophobic violence continues to this day and happened then too, Franny and Stella were not afraid of their neighbours. I don't mean to diminish the hardships of gay people, however. Franny and Stella's co-accused friend died before trial, some say of scarlet fever although others suggest it was suicide. Even for gay people who were not victimised directly by the violence of society might yet destroy themselves through self-inflicted violence rather than be found out, and we have to include that in our assessment of the overall violence of society.

This was not new in English history either. For example, there are records from the 14th century of the trial of John Rykener, who today would be described by the phrase "assigned male at birth", charged with posing as a woman (using the name Eleanor) and soliciting sex from men. Rykener attended court in a dress, as Eleanor, and admitted having married a man while also at times sleeping with women. Eleanor seems not to have been afraid.

We make a mistake of seeing social progress as an ascending march, of iconoclastic rebels gradually becoming emboldened by the steps of their forebears. Society doesn't get gradually "better" (indeed, new laws in 1885 made life worse for gay people for a time, typical of the undulations of law), and nor do its participants live in that frame. When we look at history, we see people who were utterly bold in their decisions to live the way they wanted to, rarely with any awareness of doing so as part of an ongoing struggle towards acceptance. That in itself is quite a modern idea, relying upon a great deal of common education, communication and knowledge to produce such a vision.

There were famous gay and lesbian social clubs throughout history, such as the gender-fluid "Molly Houses" of the 18th and 19th centuries, or places such as Le Monocle of the 1920s, a lesbian club at which patrons presented themselves with male, female or indeterminate identites:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TfjS57d4IiI/Thyk-ndTwfI/AAAAAAAAAOo/tYLuuNkN5K0/s320/monocle.jpghttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uE6OgDTrxec/Thyzgq96JTI/AAAAAAAAAOw/EV_kwOSXetE/s320/Le%2BMonocle%2B2.bmphttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XKknA31QWJA/T3U4Wcu67NI/AAAAAAAAAyg/b9ltIns5XrM/s320/le+monocle.jpg
The first major intellectual work published on transgender as an identity (that I'm aware of, anyway) came in 1910 with the release of Magnus Hirschfeld's "Die Transvestiten", and by 1923 Hirschfeld was making a specific argument for the recognition of what he called "transsexual individuals" as a distinction from transvestism. So was the concept of transgender created in 1910, or in 1923? Of course not! It takes a long time, sometimes centuries, for concepts to percolate into the published realm.

SixKeys
08-01-2016, 07:37 PM
Ned is not an anachronism.

The death penalty for buggery had been repealed by the time of Syndicate's setting, and even before it was rarely used. The law was repealed in 1861, but the last time a death sentence had been handed down for the offence was 1821. Nor were people shy of decrying the law when it stood: the philosopher Jeremy Bentham having published his arguments against the law in his 1785 essay "Offences Against The Self". It's a mistake to assume that just because a law exists that the punishment was widely used, or that offenders lived in fear and secrecy. Societies which use a moral compass derived from religion are bound to draw their sentencing from what their holy books say, but a Christian culture in such modernity had severe problems balancing the orders of the Bible with society as it existed. Gay people were not invisible in Victorian London -- far from it, gay people were highly visible.

Often, people who were tried by the courts were "caught" precisely because they were so flagrant. A gay couple, Frederick Park and Thomas Boulton, who lived in their female alter-egos as Franny and Stella, won their case against the state in 1870 (bearing in mind Syndicate is set in 1868). The jury acquitted them on the basis that they could not prove buggery, and that it was not illegal for men to adopt the dress or characteristics traditionally associated with women. They were confident not only that they would win their case, but that their case would imminently trigger a change in the law. This confidence is interesting. They believed the law would change because they believed that society already had changed. They were jumping the gun about both cases, but they might have been right about London society. While homophobic violence continues to this day and happened then too, Franny and Stella were not afraid of their neighbours. I don't mean to diminish the hardships of gay people, however. Franny and Stella's co-accused friend died before trial, some say of scarlet fever although others suggest it was suicide. Even for gay people who were not victimised directly by the violence of society might yet destroy themselves through self-inflicted violence rather than be found out, and we have to include that in our assessment of the overall violence of society.

This was not new in English history either. For example, there are records from the 14th century of the trial of John Rykener, who today would be described by the phrase "assigned male at birth", charged with posing as a woman (using the name Eleanor) and soliciting sex from men. Rykener attended court in a dress, as Eleanor, and admitted having married a man while also at times sleeping with women. Eleanor seems not to have been afraid.

We make a mistake of seeing social progress as an ascending march, of iconoclastic rebels gradually becoming emboldened by the steps of their forebears. Society doesn't get gradually "better" (indeed, new laws in 1885 made life worse for gay people for a time, typical of the undulations of law), and nor do its participants live in that frame. When we look at history, we see people who were utterly bold in their decisions to live the way they wanted to, rarely with any awareness of doing so as part of an ongoing struggle towards acceptance. That in itself is quite a modern idea, relying upon a great deal of common education, communication and knowledge to produce such a vision.

There were famous gay and lesbian social clubs throughout history, such as the gender-fluid "Molly Houses" of the 18th and 19th centuries, or places such as Le Monocle of the 1920s, a lesbian club at which patrons presented themselves with male, female or indeterminate identites:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TfjS57d4IiI/Thyk-ndTwfI/AAAAAAAAAOo/tYLuuNkN5K0/s320/monocle.jpghttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uE6OgDTrxec/Thyzgq96JTI/AAAAAAAAAOw/EV_kwOSXetE/s320/Le%2BMonocle%2B2.bmphttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XKknA31QWJA/T3U4Wcu67NI/AAAAAAAAAyg/b9ltIns5XrM/s320/le+monocle.jpg
The first major intellectual work published on transgender as an identity (that I'm aware of, anyway) came in 1910 with the release of Magnus Hirschfeld's "Die Transvestiten", and by 1923 Hirschfeld was making a specific argument for the recognition of what he called "transsexual individuals" as a distinction from transvestism. So was the concept of transgender created in 1910, or in 1923? Of course not! It takes a long time, sometimes centuries, for concepts to percolate into the published realm.

Very interesting. Thanks for the history lesson. :)

Ureh
08-01-2016, 07:44 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for the history lesson. :)

Me too. I thought it was very eloquent as well.

Here's another article about Wynert (interview with creative director) for those that are interested:
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-09-18-assassins-creed-syndicate-takes-a-leap-towards-inclusivity-with-the-series-first-transgender-character

j.f.luteijn
10-08-2016, 02:54 PM
There are more strange things in syndicate. Women wearing trousers. What do you think of female pirates? Think of black flag. In the past there were transgenders too. The only thing is that people didn't have a word for this phenomenon. But that doesn't mean it didn't exist.

Julius

gutsd0zer
02-06-2017, 10:56 AM
There are more strange things in syndicate. Women wearing trousers. What do you think of female pirates? Think of black flag. In the past there were transgenders too. The only thing is that people didn't have a word for this phenomenon. But that doesn't mean it didn't exist.

Julius

Seriously, did the OP forget about Mary Read in Black Flag? She posed as James Kidd in the game, and the real life Mary Read successfully posed as a man for the majority of her piracy career. There's even a relatively famous anecdote that Anne Bonny didn't know she was a man until she came onto her, reached down her pants, and said "Sir, you have no parts!"

So how is it suddenly problematic when it happens over 100 years later in the games?

LoyalACFan
02-06-2017, 12:49 PM
Seriously, did the OP forget about Mary Read in Black Flag? She posed as James Kidd in the game, and the real life Mary Read successfully posed as a man for the majority of her piracy career. There's even a relatively famous anecdote that Anne Bonny didn't know she was a man until she came onto her, reached down her pants, and said "Sir, you have no parts!"

So how is it suddenly problematic when it happens over 100 years later in the games?

Basically, it's just people making a mountain out of a molehill TBH. Syndicate was touted to have a transgender character before release, and while it technically did, Ned was such a worthless non-presence in the game that I think it just felt weird to everyone that he was mentioned at all in the marketing campaign. So some people were crying tokenism, some people were crying anachronism, and it just blew up into a big debate over what was essentially a moot point.

Though, I must say, the real distinction between Mary and Ned is that Ned is truly transgender and identifies as male, whereas Mary simply dressed as a man for societal benefits (so far as we know). And, you know, the fact that Mary was actually relevant to the story :p

Farlander1991
02-06-2017, 03:12 PM
Syndicate was touted to have a transgender character before release, and while it technically did, Ned was such a worthless non-presence in the game that I think it just felt weird to everyone that he was mentioned at all in the marketing campaign.

The interesting thing about this is that if you look at the official marketing campaign, Ned was never actually a part of it. Eurogamer (if I remember correctly) made a separate article based on little bits of interview with ACS director, and it spread out from there. But there wasn't an official 'look we have a transgender character!' push.

LoyalACFan
02-06-2017, 11:44 PM
The interesting thing about this is that if you look at the official marketing campaign, Ned was never actually a part of it. Eurogamer (if I remember correctly) made a separate article based on little bits of interview with ACS director, and it spread out from there. But there wasn't an official 'look we have a transgender character!' push.

That's fair. So it makes the debate even more pointless then :p Ned was as insignificant as the bookie guy and the train lady. Moving on.

MadChad42
05-02-2018, 12:44 AM
In her bio it mentions she was a girl by day and a boy by night. Yet it doesn't mention anything about her going through the necessary steps to become a man. Can someone clarify this for me?

cawatrooper9
05-02-2018, 02:28 PM
In her bio it mentions she was a girl by day and a boy by night. Yet it doesn't mention anything about her going through the necessary steps to become a man. Can someone clarify this for me?

Hey MadChad42,

I'm a little rusty on the character, and I hope that I'm not misrepresenting the transgender experience, but there really aren't any "necessary steps" for gender identity. Self-identification is pretty much the only thing needed.

Hope that helps!