Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was supposed to be exclusively led by the female protagonist Kassandra, but Ubisoft’s Chief Creative Officer ‘Serge Hascoet’ forced Alexios to be the main character in the game, along with Kassandra. According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, both Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey were supposed to be two totally different titles, having strong female protagonists.
Bayek’s wife, Aya, was supposed to be the main hero of Assassin’s Creed Origins before the former Chief Creative Officer ‘Serge Hascoët’, forced the team at Ubisoft Montreal to significantly shrink and limit her role in the game. Serge Hascoet forced the team to add in a playable male character because “females don’t sell well in video games”, according to his notion.
Ubisoft Montreal studio was not the only victim of Hascoët’s narrow minded thinking, as Ubisoft Quebec team has also tried to give more emphasis on a female hero. More recently, Ubi Quebec wanted Kassandra to be the sole playable character in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, with her brother, Alexios, as a side role, but the studio finally settled on giving players the freedom to choose their own gender of the main character in this game.
Hascoet simply said that playable men characters sell video games, and not female. According to one Destructoid article, 2/3 of players chose Alexios instead of Kassandra. The upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game will also follow in the same footsteps of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, giving gamers a chance to play as either a male or female character, Eivor. Finally, it appears that ‘Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation’s’ Aveline de Grandpré remains the only sole definitive female protagonist in this long-running AC franchise.
According to one previous Ubisoft employee, Marie Jasmin à la maison, UBI executives told her that ‘women don’t sell every single time’ in video games, when she was in Montréal studio. To quote her twitter post, “I was in the Montréal studio on AC 2 to 10 (origins) and Ubi execs said “women don’t sell” EVERY SINGLE TIME. I am in awe of the Ubi Québec staff who fought teeth and claws to get Evie, and later Kassandra, to even exist. Know that, before them, many battles were lost.”
It appears that Hascoet had the freedom to alter every single game Ubisoft made. The Guillemot brothers who founded Ubisoft trusted Hascoet’s advice in the end, but now things are totally different in UBI, after his resignation from the post.
Jason Schreier posted this on Twitter, “This is a *huge* deal for Ubisoft. Serge Hascoet was the man in charge of ALL of their games. With one word he could greenlight or cancel a project. Many Ubisoft employees believed he was too powerful and close to the CEO to ever be ousted, no matter how many allegations emerged.”