Assassin’s Creed: Liberation – A Positive Role Model
This may sound cheesy, but growing up, video game characters were my role models. Sonic the Hedgehog with his brazen attitude and unshakable sense of right and wrong was a big deal to me as a kid, and when I was a little older Sora from Kingdom Hearts inspired me to treat the people around me with a warm smile and an offer of friendship, regardless of who they were. I feel I was lucky that I grew up with so many positive male role models in the gaming world, but it’s always seemed odd to me that there are so few female role models.
When talking about gaming and women there always seems to be this negative stigma that creeps in. For years the girls of gaming have been mostly princesses to save or eye candy for the player. There have been characters who defy this norm such as Samus Aran, Alex Vance, and the ladies of Uncharted to name a few, but it’s a little too rare that there are any positive female role models for girls. This is one of the many reasons why I am so psyched to get my hands of Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. I believe that the protagonist, Aveline de Grandpe’ is going to be a strong female character who avoids the pitfalls and mistakes of so many other video games.
Granted, we know little about how the story of the game progresses, but we do already know a little about Aveline. Though she was born into a wealthy family, she still developed a moral code that pushed her to fight against moral injustices such as slavery. She came from a family of some influence, and used that to protest and avoid getting into trouble with the law. Her values synch up with that of the Assassin’s which make her a protagonist in the same vein as Altair, Ezio and even Connor regardless of her gender. In fact, from a gameplay standpoint, being a woman only gives her more advantages. She’s intelligent and uses her gender to blend in with society in a way that other Assassin’s could not; she dresses as a lady to go unnoticed at social events, and as a slave to keep from drawing attention to herself.
Aveline is not an over sexualized character like so many other women in games. It’s not like the Dead or Alive series where, although women are fighting on equal footing with men, they are almost required to have comedically large breasts. I don’t doubt that at some point in the game Aveline will use her feminine wiles to get a leg up on a male target, but should that happen it will be another aspect of her intelligence as an assassin. Also, while she may be a beautiful woman, she’s not the stereotypical girl-in-game beautiful. Aveline, in all of her outfits shown thus far, does not over expose herself. Her disguises are realistic, colonial era clothing. She also starts her journey for a reason we don’t see from many other female protagonists… Vengeance. From the screens we’ve seen so far, Aveline is not afraid to get messy and is every bit an assassin as previous Assassin’s Creed protagonists.
Okay, maybe a trained killer isn’t the best role-model for anyone, but it’s the other aspects of her character that make her something special. Her character model is toned town, she’s not ridiculously proportioned or unrealistically beautiful, she seems, for all intents and purposes, like a real woman. She has a strong sense of moral obligation, even though she was born with everything and could easily live a leisurely life. She becomes an assassin in the pursuit of vengeance, to what ends we don’t yet know. Aveline differs from the female norm in video games in almost every way, and I think that this is another step in the right direction for the video game industry. Strong female protagonists give male gamers a totally fresh experience, and give female gamers those role-models I believe they deserve.