Since the first Assassin’s Creed in 2007, games in Ubisoft’s history-hopscotching series have always begun with an on-screen message about the diversity of the people who made the game. You see it as the game boots up, before you can play anything. For this year’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the 10th major release in the series, that message has been changed.
Added in is an affirmation that the team behind this game consisted of people of various sexual orientations and gender identities.
The diversity message had always talked about the dev team being multicultural and diverse in beliefs. Here is it from the first game:
The message’s appearance in the original Assassin’s Creed was a refreshing expression of the dev team’s mix, but likely was also included to head off any concerns that the game’s subject matter had been handled lightly. This was a game set during the Crusades after all, with the player controlling an assassin born from a Muslim father and a Christian mother.
Subsequent Assassin’s Creed games have involved fighting an evil Pope, rescuing enslaved people, and the treatment of Native Americans by George Washington and friends. They were not exactly shying away from controversy there and had good reason to let people starting the game think about the dev team as a diverse group of people.
Here is that diversity message from last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity:
And, again, here is it is from this year’s Syndicate:
See the changes?
The bit about religious diversity is gone, though seems suitably covered by the retention of the line about beliefs. Added is the note about the team including people of various sexual orientations and gender identities. It’s not clear why it was added, though this game is the series’ first to include a transgender character. There have been gay supporting characters in some previous AC games.
Ubi’s note here isn’t exhaustive of all desirable diversity. Obviously there are many other life experiences a message like this could include. Perhaps we’d like our art to be made by people of widely different ages or economic status.
The change in the language in this year’s game shows an expansion of Ubi’s progressive expression with the series. It’s a mild but unmissable message that having diversity of many types is a valuable thing, that people’s differences are a strength. Diversity isn’t a prerequisite to quality, as fans of the AC series well know, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not worth having.