So here’s what I’m not too excited about: they announced the casting of Michael Fassbender apparently as a lead according to this article from Variety. It’s specficially worded as:
“Michael Fassbender was our first choice” to play the franchise’s iconic hooded hero
That’s kind of a bummer, assuming they follow the games and that hero is Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, a very Syrian kind of guy. It’s ironic to make such a casting and then conclude with these sentiments:
By controlling more of the creative through UMP, Ubisoft hopes it doesn’t wind up with another “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,”
Funny, since one of the biggest critisims was that film’s casting of predominately white actors.
I know the subject of white-washing and gender-equality in the video game industry and Hollywood at large is a touchy subject for a lot of people. It’s something that I actually ignored on a whole for many years, but as someone who’s still a gaming-industry hopeful, and a hispanic woman to boot, it’s become a pretty important to my life in a lot of ways.
I’ll start by saying I think things are getting a lot better all around. Producers and developers are certainly recognizing the plight of under-represented groups both in terms of consumers and the characters they portray in their franchises. So I do give them props for making an effort to incite some change, albiet a small and slow one.
Assassin’s Creed has a very interesting element in that it spans over many eras and many locations, thus lending itself to some awesome cultural leanings we don’t see too often in games. Of our main assassins, we have Altaïr (fun as hell to say) who is Syrian; Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian noble; and Connor Kenway, the half Native American, half English lead for the upcoming ACIII whose birth name is Ratonhnhaké:ton (have fun with that one).
That’s really one of the main things I love about this series. The fact that the nationalities of these guys is so diverse also seems pretty intentional, actually, especially considering Connor who could have very well just been an American colonial. It makes Desmond, the modern-day decendent of all of them, an ethnic mutt which is realistic considering how common that is now anyway.
But that’s also what makes it frustrating that they’d settle with a white actor, in either case, but especially for Altaïr. And it’s Ubisoft themselves making this choice; so that borders on almost surprising.
I don’t doubt the actor they chose is a good one. I don’t pay attention to Hollywood enough, honestly, so I couldn’t give my opinion either way (I did see Prometheus recently, and he was wonderfully creepy in it). But I do know there are many great actors of color who would do the role justice, as well, and it bothers me that they’ve seemed to settle on a white dude for it.
I mean, I get it. Entertainment industries are afraid if you don’t cast a white guy as the main character, nobody’s gonna want to see the movie. That is a real concern, but something that also really needs to change, and they can start by trying to have some faith that people will be willing to see a movie if it’s good and not base everything on race. Tons of people play the AC games. Most of them are probably white. They also don’t seem bothered Altaïr is not.