27 February 2024

7 Min Read

Assassin’s Creed Celebrates Black History Month

In February, we celebrate Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honor the legacy of Black people and Black culture while reaffirming our commitment to advancing equality and visibility.

For Black History Month, our spotlight shines on the developers working behind the scenes on Assassin's Creed.

[AC Franchise] Black History Month Developer Spotlight - 1

ASHLEY P., USER RESEARCH ANALYST

Ubisoft Studio: Montreal

Role on Assassin's Creed team: User Research Analyst

I design and run research studies in collaboration with production to understand what players think as the game develops. Sometimes this means observing players' hands-on experiences with the game and collecting feedback through surveys, interviews, and other methods. Other times, I facilitate workshops to better meet our diversity, inclusion, and accessibility goals. Production can then take this data and make informed design decisions!

Which Assassin's Creed character do you find the most impactful?

Kassandra from Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge impact, both in and outside Ubisoft. She was funny, insightful, compassionate, and an artful combatant, which ignited some intense discussions online about female protagonists in games and disrupted the Assassin's Creed brand. I think we'll do well with more characters like that!

What does representation mean to you? Why is it so important?

I see representation as essential and challenging to achieve without genuine effort. We all want to be seen, heard, and valued as human beings, and are validated in that way when we see parts of ourselves throughout our society and culture. It makes us feel like we belong and have reason for being. To be represented is the difference between feeling loved and feeling lonely, that's why it's so important.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is a public reminder for individuals to reflect on how humans have treated and continue to treat other humans, to acknowledge how they've been personally helped and hurt by that, and to aspire to be more compassionate and courageous, wherever they're at. Some years I don't really think about it, and other years it hits me hard. It's both laughing at whatever ridiculous corporate campaign launched that month to win Black customers, and reeling at the generational trauma from which BIPOC individuals continue to heal. I find it easier to think about these kinds of things bit by bit, all year long! When you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start, Black History Month is when the dialogue flows more freely and it's hopefully easier to engage with these tough topics of why we are who we are.

[AC Franchise] Black History Month Developer Spotlight - 2

YOHANN R., PROJECT MANAGER

Ubisoft Studio: Montreal

Role on Assassin's Creed team: Project Manager

My role centered around the coordination and optimization of the patch notes and known issues processes for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, ensuring they were completed on time and in good shape. This involved paying close attention to details, the ability to anticipate problems, and effective communication with different teams to ensure a smooth process.

Which Assassin's Creed character do you find the most impactful?

Ezio Auditore, especially in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, has been the most impactful character for me. His captivating story and the introduction of multiplayer in that installment enriched the franchise's gaming experience.

What does representation mean to you? Why is it so important?

Representation means a lot to me, especially now that I am a father. I want to share with my child a worldview that recognizes and values the diversity of contributions to our history. This involves questioning dominant historical narratives and significantly integrating diverse and inclusive stories into our culture and education, something the Assassin's Creed team excels at thanks to their thorough research into the history of each period highlighted in different Assassin's Creed titles.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month holds an important place in my heart as it highlights the often-forgotten contributions of Black communities. However, I believe that to achieve real and lasting change, we must go beyond temporary recognition and work to integrate these stories into educational curriculums and collective narratives permanently. Only then can we hope to build a society where every individual feels recognized and valued.

[AC Franchise] Black History Month Developer Spotlight - 3

TORRE P., CREATOR ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

Ubisoft Studio: San Francisco

Role on Assassin's Creed team: Creator Engagement Manager

I oversee paid and earned influencer campaigns in the US for Assassin's Creed. My job includes providing creators free keys, contracting creators for videos or streams, and making sure all creators are serviced and happy with Ubisoft.

Which Assassin's Creed character do you find the most impactful?

Connor! From his humble beginnings to his final form as a full-fledged Assassin, his story is inspiring for anyone who is searching for their place in the world and is on a journey of self-discovery.

What does representation mean to you? Why is it so important?

To me, representation means that people are not only recognized but also heard. Everyone has a fair chance to not only be listened to, but also possess the tools, systemically or individually, to attain the same goals as others. For instance, I believe that representation in media and politics is crucial for empowering marginalized groups and creating a more inclusive and diverse society.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black culture and all its beauty.

[AC Franchise] Black History Month Developer Spotlight - 4

XAVIER C., GENERALIST PROGRAMMER

Ubisoft Studio: Montreal

Role on Assassin's Creed team: Generalist Programmer

I work in a department making tools and middleware used to create the game. This software integrates and runs all the HUD elements (mini-map, menus, subtitles, etc.) in the game.

I design and program the features required by artists and UI programmers to ease their creative work. It's an indirect contribution, but in the past, carpenters and masons didn't say they made wood planks or bricks, they said they built monuments. I have the same satisfaction of contributing to something bigger than the part I work on.

Which Assassin's Creed character do you find the most impactful?

So many to choose from! I'd say Ezio, like many Assassin's Creed fans. However, Bayek struck a chord too, as my son was the same age as his son in the game, so his story connected on a deeper level.

What does representation mean to you? Why is it so important?

A dear friend of mine gave me the analogy of windows and mirrors for representation, and I agree. Mirrors allow you to feel seen and validated. Windows allow you to discover other people and cultures. When the window is tainted, or the mirror deformed by stereotypes, then the way you see yourself and others see you is affected by prejudice and stereotypes.

Representation is important because it's all about feeling seen and validated, so when you can't see yourself authentically in the content you consume, it's like the society you live in erases your true self and your culture in some way.

A huge thank-you to our featured Assassin's Creed developers for sharing their views and experience, and to all who have contributed to our franchise.

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