People Are Upset About Aveline de Grandpré [What Else Is New?]

So this news came out while I was still at camp, so I’m definitely a little behind the times. Ubisoft revealed at E3 in early June that another game in the Assassin’s Creed series would be joining Assassin’s Creed III when it launched this October 30th. The following is a trailer for that game:


The AC franchise has always been ahead of its time in terms of racial representation. Altaïr ibn La’Ahad, a Syrian assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian, and Ratohnhaké:ton [Conor Kenway], English/Mohawk are the stars of the first, second, and third games respectively. Each game has given slavish devotion to historical accuracy, but each has also starred a male protagonist. Until now.

Aveline de Grandpré is an African/French assassin, the only black female video game character I can think of besides Rochelle of Left 4 Dead 2, and from what I can tell a complete and total badass. This is a huge step on Ubisoft’s part, and I’m both impressed and proud that they’ve made this choice. Especially when the reception was so expected.

Clicking on the image to the left will bring up comments on the video I posted. Choice comments are:

Yup, [I know] AC isnt so realistic, but a women? :/

okay a female is reasonable but seriously y does she have to be black! wtf

looks like i’m not alone on this lol. so many people think i’m racist or something lol

It may seem like this is only to be expected from the video game community, often [and accurately] thought to be both extremely racist and sexist.  It was only earlier this year that fans of the book series The Hunger Games took to the internet to express their disgust that Rue, a character in the novel, was portrayed by a black actress in the film.

The image on the right is one of many incredibly offensive tweets about the casting. Jezebel reported on the phenomenon early this year, but it seems that it’s not the only Hunger Games related news that the site has to write about this year.

While the role of Panem-ian heartthrob Finick Odair has already been  given to Sam Claflin, months earlier a campaign was started to give it to biracial actor Jesse Williams. This was, again, met with some pretty intense criticism. From racists. Unfortunately a lot of the negative/ignorant comments on this messageboard have been deleted, though Jezebel’s write-up on the situation can be read hereThe campaign tumblr is still out there, though it now also discusses racial casting, which I definitely don’t have a problem with.

Suffice to say, the world still has a ways to go before we, in North America, anyway, can simply start accepting that not everyone out there is white, and therefore not everyone who appears in art, either electronic or literary, is either. These comments I posted may just be an example of the “loud minority,” but if female or nonwhite protagonists are really a big deal, maybe we should be loud as well.

I think Aveline de Grandpré is an amazing addition to an already stellar video game series. I think it is fantastic that she’s black and that she is a woman, and I think that you should too.

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33 responses to “People Are Upset About Aveline de Grandpré [What Else Is New?]

  1. I have no problems with Aveline for being black and female. It’s a great addition to an already amazing series. She the first female without the trade mark hood in the series. If you don’t like then dont waste your and our time with your BS comment

  2. I just don’t want to deal with racial/sexist issues in a game (or movie), so as long as the character I play doesn’t promote some political agenda, they can be any race or gender, that doesn’t bother me. But I have some ideas of realism, maybe they are incorrect, but I don’t think that an african female can walk around in a 18th century town dressed as a man without getting a lot of attention….the wrong kind.

  3. I was thrilled watching E3 coverage this year. Glad Quantic Dream cast the lovely, emotional, sarcastic Ellen Page as a leading lady, but the trailer featuring Aveline shocked me even more. Finally, a beautiful yet strong (willed and muscled) female character wearing actual clothes!! The fact that she is bi-racial only adds to the appeal. A bunch of loud gamers think they are the majority, and they may be, but I think Aveline and Ubisoft are helping to prove that the face of gaming is changing. Some of us are quite tired of playing buff angry white guys, but in the past the alternative has been to play a customized character (like Fem-Shep) or someone like Princess Peach (pink clothes, blond hair, no brain – game in a pink box – yuck).
    I got to start playing AC3:L yesterday, and I am even more impressed than I anticipated. Games appeal to a lot more than young white boys, and a strong female protagonist only helps to push the appeal even further. I have been a female stuck in the gender gap of game culture since the early 80’s… It is about time for developers/publishers to help close the gap, and having a female French-African lead in a well-respected series will hopefully open some eyes.
    I hope some of the big-mouths will actually try the AC3_Liberation… I have been stuck playing as a male character for 30 years, but I still love video games! It is upsetting that forward-thinking, boundary-pushing gamers can be such sexist racists. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I agree that if Aveline is a big deal, I need to express my opinions louder!
    (on a side note – the backlash for The Last Airbender movie was quite the opposite. “Racebending” was the term coined for casting mostly white actors in the Asian-inspired universe. I guess the moral is – Someone will complain no matter what…)

    • I haven’t covered the Racebending movement on this particular blog, but I have followed it very closely [I have a link to the site in the right sidebar]. I can imagine it being difficult to be a female video game fan, in the same way that it’s not always easy for me to be an Asian fan of comic books [not manga] and movies. The various industries are definitely making the right moves, but probably not as fast as we’d like.

    • Sorry sweet heart she not African American she is mix.not black so your steal not playing a black girl

  4. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people! It’s 2012! Racism is so last century. I like that Aveline is black and a female. I liked the other games before, but this really got interested in the series when they added her. I like it because I’m girl and I want to play a female superhero and not a male hero all the time.
    And don’t these people realize that the past main characters were not white. They didn’t complain about Altaïr, Ezio, and Connor (who clearly has dark skin), but they’ll complain about Aveline, a biracial female. Good thing it’s just a small amount a fans that are like that, and not the majority of the fans. Plus, most of the fans are trying to hook up Connor and Aveline together, which tells me that most of them are not simple-minded like some people.

  5. Having too much fun to have even noticed… She’s French? Wow what’s the big deal? Lulz

  6. Regardless, as we’ve seen in the sales of this and other titles featuring black leads, minorities are just that, a minority and do not appeal to the majority.

  7. Fuck white people.

  8. aveline de grandpré is badass

  9. That is racist and I’m brown and it doesn’t matter if your black or white. And that hunger games about Rue thing, she isn’t black she’s Spanish she’s the kind that looks black . Really I don’t care if Aveline is black and a female .

  10. ~liberations~

    People who are so racist and sexist like that make me sick. I love AC III Liberations. In all honesty, Aveline is one of the best assassins!

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  12. Game was made by french people, just look at what games Montreal dishes up and you will have to sell half of your games library if you hate frenchies that much.

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  14. Came a bit late to this discussion, but… I’m honestly baffled at reading those youtube comments. I’ve always assumed enlightened people in general to maintain a modicum of proper fucking respect, but…

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  16. Of the 32 characters I created in City of Heroes, only two were white, three were straight, and one was male. I just found it so much more interesting to roll with other combinations, dive into some culture and history, and actually try and PLAY someone different. My main was modeled after a film idol of mine (Pam Grier, yeah, go figure) but mostly reflects my personality, temperament and worldview.

    To find that Ubisoft has created Aveline, a biracial female (mulattos weren’t well-regarded at the time so there’s that drama as well) is a really big deal to me. I bought THIS version of AC as my first foray into this mythos. I love that she’s graceful, and able to shift between the slave world and the upper-class world, in addition to being an assassin. It’s like, someone asked /me/ who I’d like a lead character in a game to be, and then ran with it.

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  18. Sorry ppl she not black she is mix.wtf is worng with you people is no a black girl she is mix. So she dont count as a black preson at all learn about your race

    • She is black, dumbass, she is just mixed with AFRICAN and FRENCH. You and your grammar makes me want to cringe so hard…

  19. We finally got a female protagonist that’s not a half naked whore with weapons. Hats off to Ubisoft for this one.

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  21. I can’t believe that the fact Aveline is a black woman was an issue at all. Really, I just can’t understand a racist mind. For me, it was just nice that FOR ONCE a woman is powerful and badass, but nothing more than that. The color of her skin didn’t ever cross my mind at all, until I saw this post. What THE HELL is wrong with all those people?!!

  22. Aveline is not Black, but tanned. Adéwalé, he’s black. But both characters are awesome, giving your life for liberation. I like the idea of female assassins, look at Aveline, Shao or Evie, they rock and Ubi should think of making a main game with a female creed somewhere between the European WW-1 and WW-2. Maybe a real person this time, like Hannie Schaft.

    • Most people would say that her mother being an African slave would have her qualify as being Black. Examples of famous people you may know, who the general public sees as and who personally identify as Black are: Barack Obama, Alicia Keys, and Bob Marley, to name a few.

      I’m also all for an Assassin’s Creed game that focuses on a female protagonist. Syndicate is a good start, allowing you to switch off between Jacob and Evie, but still appears to cling strongly to the idea that if you can’t play as a stubbly White hooded guy people won’t buy it.

  23. Now I understand how Trump got elected

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