The statement below sets out the goals of the AC Sisterhood movement and explains how and why the movement was formed.
1) What is AC Sisterhood?
AC Sisterhood is a community-led initiative by fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Our purpose is:
- to highlight, appreciate and support women in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the community and Ubisoft’s development teams
- to create a safe and empowering space for women and those who experience misogyny
- to push for meaningful change by way of better representation in the Assassin’s Creed games, and for better treatment of women and minorities within the company.
Our logo is a tribute to all the amazing women in the community and at Ubisoft. We see you, we appreciate you and we stand by you. The use of the snake is a tribute to Amunet, one of the game characters that suffered a diminished role as a result of executive meddling. Snakes are also symbols of rebirth, transformation and healing, echoing the message of the movement.
2) The Context:
The Summer of 2020 revealed a wave of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations involving women at Ubisoft and within the community. Around this time it was also The Summer of 2020 revealed a wave of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations involving women at Ubisoft and within the community. Around this time it was also revealed that many female roles in the Assassin’s Creed games were diminished in favor of pushing male protagonists to the fore. For example, Aya was meant to be the lead protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Origins, but was ultimately replaced by the male lead, Bayek. Evie (AC Syndicate) was meant to have equal playtime to that of her brother, Jacob, and Kassandra was originally planned to be the sole protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. However, these creative ideas were scrapped by certain “higher-ups” at Ubisoft based on their belief that “women do not sell”.
Many amazing, strong women already exist in the Assassin’s Creed universe. What is undeniable, however, is that despite many main releases in the series featuring solely male protagonists, there is no AAA main release featuring a solo female protagonist where her story and her character development alone is explored. AC Odyssey and AC Valhalla give the player a choice between two genders, but it is now clear that this choice mechanism is a direct result of certain higher-ups forcing the inclusion of a male lead alongside a woman to ensure that the games “sell”. To date, the gender choice option presents the player with the same story, regardless of gender. It can be argued that this approach does not allow for exploration of experiences and social challenges specific to women — elements with the potential to elevate the story and the connection between the player and the protagonist.
There is also evidence that these amazing female protagonists (and their stories) are often “sidelined” into transmedia or smaller-budget spinoff games. They are also given less focus in marketing campaigns. Kassandra, for example, is officially the canon protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. However, the male character Alexios dominated Odyssey’s marketing campaign and was the one featured on the cover of the game. Assassin’s Creed Liberation, starring Aveline (one of the two leading female protagonists of the franchise), was released alongside the male-led Assassin’s Creed 3, with only a fraction of that game’s marketing and budget. Shao Jun, a Chinese female Assassin who plays an important role in the lore, has only been featured in a small side-scroller spinoff (a series of games which was marketed with two other male leads) and a comic series. Ubisoft took a similar approach with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where male Eivor was showcased first in the initial announcement stream, with the existence of female Eivor “leaked” by way of a sticker and a figurine and only officially showcased months later. Just like Kassandra, female Eivor was later confirmed to be the canon protagonist; meanwhile it is male Eivor who featured on the game’s cover, TV commercials and most of the marketing trailers, materials and merchandise.
The Sisterhood believes that women deserve better treatment and representation – both in games and in the studios. For this reason, AC Sisterhood was born.
3) What this movement is NOT about
There have been a number of misleading statements or misunderstandings about the movement on social media. To clarify, AC Sisterhood:
- is not an organisation or a charity. It is a community initiative. Like any social justice movement, it does not have members; it has supporters.
- is not an attack on male fans or male characters in the series. We appreciate all male Assassins in the Assassin’s Creed universe. We are not looking to “cancel” them or replace them with women. Nor are we asking for all previous games to be remade with female leads or to stop using the word “brotherhood”. Our name is simply a play on words; a recognition of the one-sidedness that has shaped the series’ direction so far.
- is not a movement just for women. We welcome ALL who respect and share our goals, regardless of gender.
- is not asking for all protagonists in future games to be women.
- is not an attack on those in the community who choose to play as male in games where choice is available. We respect your choices.
- is not a boycott of Ubisoft. We know that Ubisoft is capable of doing better and we WANT them to do better. We are hoping that this movement highlights the need for internal change so that women in the company can shine. Women deserve to feel safe and be treated with equal respect as their male colleagues in the workplace.
We understand that these are sensitive topics and that conversations around representation can occasionally get heated. Representation can be very personal and we ask for conversations to be kept civil and respectful. Some supporters may feel that they are already being adequately represented in the games as currently released, and we respect that. When facing pushback as to why this movement is needed, we urge you to try to engage with those who challenge the movement’s goals in a respectful manner. Some may not see why we think this movement is necessary, to which we would urge you to listen and sincerely engage with our viewpoints, even if you disagree.
Currently the only platforms we are on are WordPress, our official Discord server, Twitter and Instagram. Accounts on any other social media platforms do not belong to us and may not be representing us in good faith.
Our Discord server is meant to be a safe, welcoming and enjoyable space for the Sisterhood. This space is moderated and we also carry out a vetting process before allowing access to the server, to ensure the safety of all members. If you wish to join the server, please fill out the membership application form.
We have been involved with many amazing events so far and also dabble in creating podcasts and livestreams, aimed at highlighting and uplifting women in games as well as our incredible community members. The Sisterhood supports charity drives; we have already raised $2,500 for Girls Make Games and more than $15,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 2021. We will be raising money for more charities and organisations in the future. If you wish to get involved with any events we announce, please do let us know!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support so far. The response has been overwhelming! We need to keep making waves so that we can push for the change the video game industry so desperately needs. Please keep using the #ACSisterhood tag on social media to help spread the word!