Far Cry 4 was "inches away" from having the option for players to select either a man or a woman as a playable co-op character, director Alex Hutchinson told Polygon.
The Far Cry series has never had a playable woman lead. When asked if he thought a woman protagonist would work in Ubisoft's brazen and oftentimes violent open-world shooter series, Hutchinson said that yes, it could work - and it should already be working.
Ubisoft Montreal had come very close to making it so players could select the game's co-op character as man or woman.
"It's really depressing because we almost... we were inches away from having you be able to select a girl or a guy as your co-op buddy when you invite someone in.
"And it was purely a workload issue because we don't have a female reading for the character, we don't have all the animations," he explained. "And so it was this weird issue where you could have a female model that walked and talked and jumped like a dude.
"So unfortunately for this one, no, but I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away. As we get better technology and we plan for it in advance and we don't have a history on one rig and all this sort of stuff. We had very strong voices on the team pushing for that and I really wanted to do it, we just couldn't squeeze it in in time. But on the other hand we managed to get more of the other story characters to be women.
"We did our best. It's frustrating for us as it is for everybody else, so it's not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done."
Yesterday, Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio that Ubisoft dropped women characters for Assassins' Creed Unity's four-player co-op because of workload pressures during production.
"It's double the animations, it's double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets," Amancio said. "Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work."
"We started, but we had to drop it," said level designer Bruno St. Andre in a separete interview. "I cannot speak for the future of the brand, but it was dear to the production team, so you can expect that it will happen eventually in the brand."
Earlier today, Naughty Dog animator and former Assasin's Creed 3 animation director Jonathan Cooper told us that animating a woman character should take "a day or two's work," instead of what St. Andre said required the replacement of more than 8,000 animations to do so. Cooper said that male animations could still work on a female form.
"I think what you want to do is just replace a handful of animations," Cooper said. "Key animations. We target all the male animations onto the female character and just give her her own unique walks, runs, anything that can give character."