E3 brought us the exciting new announcement of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, set to hit the shelves for the Playstation Vita on October 21, 2012. Not only is it the most extensive handheld Assassin’s Creed game to date, it stars a female assassin, a first for the series, who is also of African and French descent. Hurray! I have to applaud Ubisoft for not only making a main character in such a major franchise female, but African to boot. In fact, she’s slightly darker than Resident Evil 5′s Sheva, who we all know was a minor character anyway.
People who have been to my site before know that strong female characters, especially in video games, is a big deal to me. A very big deal. So you would think I would be jumping up and down for excitement, and I am. Kind of. It does make me seriously wish that I had enough additional income to buy a Playstation Vita specifically for this game, much like Kingdom Hearts and Resident Evil Revelations made me lament my lack of a 3Ds. I think it’s great that such a huge franchise is putting an French-African woman as their main character. Ubisoft, in my book, just outdid Capcom by spades. But…. There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?
Aveline is a woman, in practical clothing no less. Aveline is also black. Both of these things are absolutely amazing for Ubisoft to hand over to us. But, she also the star of a spin off game, on a handheld system that nobody is sure is going to take off. Sure, die-hard Assassin Creed fans might by a Playstation Vita just for this game, but I’m not sure how the Vita is holding up against the PSP, that also had several large franchises adapt titles for it and did not fare so well. Chances are, they would not have made Aveline the star of a main campaign. In fact, you can enjoy the Assassin’s Creed storyline without playing her game, much like Bloodlines. Speaking of Bloodlines, it wasn’t a particularly good spin-off game at that, so I’m hoping they put more effort in Liberation. From what I can tell, it looks like they did.
But, there’s an even bigger problem, one that’s been prevalent for a few years now. Look at the in-game image above. Look at the promotional material at the top. That’s right, folks, once again a game company is lightening the skin tone of a dark-skinned character for promotional material. We saw it before in Resident Evil 5, when Sheva, who was barely black to begin with, was lightened for the promotional material so she looked like she just had a nice tan. We saw it in even greater effect with Isabela in Dragon Age II, who was quite frankly, white in all of the promotional material.
Honestly, I never would have guessed that these two were the same lady if they hadn’t been wearing the exact same clothes.
On the other hand, yes, I am very excited that Assassin’s Creed is finally featuring a female assassin. It’s something fans have been asking for for years. The game itself looks to be just as good as the main titles in the series, and the only downsides I can see so far are the promotional material and the fact that it’s not a main game, but I’ll be willing to overlook both of those if the game lives up to its promises. You can be sure that this is one we’re going to be tracking over the next couple of months, along with Assassin’s Creed III, and make sure to check out the trailer below.