Ubisoft Works on Creating Connor and Avoiding Stereotypes
When tackling characters and settings that are distinct and real—as opposed, say, to the Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule—it’s important for video game developers to find ways to not only create something that feels authentic and true, but also to walk that tightrope and avoid offending people through relying on stereotypes or clichés.
To that end, Ubisoft went the extra mile in their creation of Connor, the new hero of October’s Assassin’s Creed III, a half-Mohawk/half-British hero. According to a post on Time’s Techland blog, Ubisoft Montreal enlisted the help of Thomas Deer of the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center to make sure that they got Connor right. The post says that Deer was able to help the development team avoid gaffes—mistakes like depicting the Mohawk tribe’s ceremonial masks in the game, since, according to Deer, visual depictions of the masks are considered offensive.
Said the game’s creative director, Alex Hutchinson:
“There are people from all over the world on our team, but we’re very aware that we’re still pretty much a bunch of early-middle-aged white guys. We didn’t want to make mistakes, even well-intentioned mistakes.”
Deer was complimentary of Ubisoft’s efforts to keep their game accurate and respectful of the culture:
“It seemed like they went above and beyond in trying to get the community involved, and I don’t think it was really so much to cover their butts, just that they wanted to have a real, authentic product that stood up.”
Very nice, especially when stacked up against some of the other video games set to come out…
Via Time’s Techland