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Yves Guillemot denounces Assassin's Creed Shadows' racist, 'malicious' backlash

Weeks of racist backlash over Assassin's Creed Shadows prompted Guillemot to speak out and encourage the larger industry to not let this behavior stand.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 27, 2024

2 Min Read
Yasuke and Naoe in key art for Assassin's Creed Shadows.
Image via Ubisoft.

Since its reveal in May, Assassin's Creed Shadows has courted racist backlash due to its co-lead Yasuke (famously known as the first Black samurai), and Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has no time for it.

During a newly published company Q&A, Guillemot was asked about facets of the industry he's disappointed by. He went on to talk about the "malicious and personal attacks" directed at Ubisoft staff, some of which came courtesy of Twitter head Elon Musk.

"I want to make it clear that we, at Ubisoft, condemn these hateful acts in the strongest possible terms," said Guillemot, "and I encourage the rest of the industry and players to denounce them, too."

The Assassin's Creed franchise has never been a stranger to historical fiction, but Yasuke marks the first time an actual historical figure headlined an entry in a main role. Reactions to his inclusion soon veered right into racism and attempts to delegitimize his status as an samurai.

Racism and harassment have been a part of video games for a long time, but it's only been fairly recent that developers have been able (or allowed) to actively push back. Guillemot's statement is especially surprising, given how quiet studio leaders tend to be during events like these.

But he's not the only Ubisoft employee to address Shadows' harassment specifically. Earlier in June, Marc-Alexis Côté told Game File that Musk was "feeding hatred," and called his actions "sad." He opted not to give the man any oxygen, knowing it wouldn't convince anyone out of that mindset.

Guillemot assured that he was "proud to support the amazing work of our teams and partners, and I will always trust in their creative choices. We should all celebrate the hard work and talent that goes into making video games."

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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