Like anyone else making the rounds on game-related sites, I’ve seen a lot of coverage on the current “scandal” involving Assassin’s Creed producer, Jade Raymond. For those just tuning in, it goes a little like this…
- Someone (I don’t know who) produces a webcomic featuring a dimwitted and bikini-clad Jade Raymond performing fellatio on three boys, apparently in the hopes that they will buy Assassin’s Creed. The last panel shows a semen-covered Jade; giddy that the boys like her “game”. (For obvious reasons I won’t link to the comic, but if you must see it, I doubt you’ll have much trouble finding it.)
- Jade Raymond, Ubisoft, and Ubisoft’s legal department catch wind of the comic and begin to get seriously fired up over the offensive strip.
- A member over at Something Awful posts a link to the comic in the forums and it begins to spread like wildfire.
- Ubisoft’s legal eagles see the thread in question, and join the long list of entities to send site owner, Lowtax, a Cease & Desist letter. (Lowtax’s response to the lawyers is absolutely brilliant.)
Now, there’s been a lot of discussion over this incident, ranging from “What’s the big deal?” to “The game industry is hostile towards women!” Personally, I think the whole affair is kind of silly, but I also suspect that there may be some in the Ubisoft organization who are quite happy with the massive amount of free publicity this has generated for the newly-released Assassin’s Creed. (Case in point: Had it not been for this webcomic “scandal”, I doubt the title Assassin’s Creed would have ever been published here at TJG.)
Let me remark on the affair bit by bit…
Jade Raymond: I have no need for using hipster lingo and commenting that Jade Raymond is “hot” or that “I’d like to tap that”, but there’s no denying that she is certainly easy on the eyes. Not only is she a doll, but she also seems quite articulate and well-spoken; a real “triple threat” kind of lady.
The Comic: I don’t know who created the comic (I’ve been told that it came from someone at Destructoid), but it’s vulgar, insulting and monumentally unfunny. Not only does it cater to the lowest common denominator with its tasteless and pornographic visual content, but it also depicts Jade as being a brainless bimbo, which is clearly inaccurate. Whoever the author is, their attempt at being witty has failed miserably, and their intended commentary about the PR practices of Ubisoft has been lost under the weight of their hardcore porn approach. Grow up, people. Seriously.
SomethingAwful: The site had nothing to do with the creation or hosting of the comic, so it’s quite unclear as to why Ubisoft’s legal department think that they have grounds to sue Lowtax into oblivion. Whatever the case, it makes for some damn fine comedy, as already evidenced by Lowtax’s response to the lawyers.
Ubisoft: I have no doubt that Jade is legitimately upset and offended by this whole affair, but I have a hard time believing that everyone at Ubisoft feels the same way. After all, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and due to the hoopla over this webcomic, Ubisoft’s getting a whole hell of a lot of it — at the cost of free.
Let’s look at some points of interest, shall we?
The vast majority of gamers are adolescent males, and adolescent males are complete horndogs with a penchant for strong acts of stupidity. Has this age-old truth somehow missed the folks at Ubisoft? From gamers getting hot & bothered over Lara Croft’s extremely pointy breasts in the original Tomb Raider, to snatching up wank-worthy copies of Stevie Case in Playboy or Morgan Webb in FHM, this kind of sexually charged behavior from the gaming community is nothing new at all. Ubisoft did an excellent job of attaching Jade’s face to a great amount of the promotion for Assassin’s Creed, and with her as pretty as she is, how can they be surprised that something like that webcomic — from a demographic that has a strong history of juvenile stupidity — made an appearance?
And about that Jade-heavy promotion, when’s the last time you saw a novice game producer being featured so heavily during the pre and post release phases of a game? I can guarantee you that if Jade looked like Quasimodo, none of us would even know who the producer for Assassin’s Creed was. And I don’t say that as some kind of negative commentary on Jade’s talents and abilities. I’m just saying that I believe Ubisoft knew that the gaming community would respond greatly — both positively and negatively — to their lovely game producer, and exploited that fact as much as possible. Hell, even this snapshot of the Assassin’s Creed development team suggests that theory.
So, ultimately, yes, the creators of the comic are disrespectful assholes and the comic should have never been created. However, Ubisoft probably shouldn’t be getting so high and mighty when things like this surface; attempting to sue everybody who makes mention of it. Especially when it’s a result of the company focusing on the marketing of one of their beautiful employees as much as they’re focusing on the marketing of their game.
And why wasn’t Ubisoft offended over pieces of Jade “journalism” like this? Hell, it might not be as offensive as the webcomic, but it’s definitely just as stupid.