Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Short Thing On #1reasonwhy

Have you seen this woman? 

This is Jade Raymond, and during 2006-2007, she was everywhere, promoting Assassin's Creed, of which she was a producer at Ubisoft. At the time, she was 32, a grown woman, a graduate of Marianopolis College and McGill University's computer science program, a veteran from Sony Online's first R+D group, a producer on The Sims Online, and an enthusiastic gamer and game developer. 

Jade is very devoted to her work, and any interview you find from that time will usually feature her talking about Assassin's Creed, but not just in terms of play, but AI, world building, historical accuracy, and the like. Did Ubisoft put her out there because she is a very attractive lady, or because she knew the most about their product? Was it because Assassin's Creed was her creation or idea? Or was it because she was the best PR face they had on hand? Nobody really knows. But she was always there, doing interviews, giving presentations, sneak peeks, hands-on demos. 

But the games press five years ago was even more stupid than it can be today. A rumor started of her posing for Maxim magazine. Kotaku's own Mike Fahey wrote a post about "Jade Smells Pretty at London Games Fest." And then Dave Cheung, creator of the now-dead webcomic Chugworth Academy, made a short comic that reduces her to little more than a ditzy, ineloquent, booth babe, while she sexually services nerds in the text of "buy my game." It's not a hard comic to find if you must, but be warned it's extremely gross, not work safe, and incredibly fucked up in every way.

It's horrifying enough, but I don't need to talk about how bad it is. Five years ago, several feminist outlets that were on the case made the point strongly enough why all these incredibly stupid things are bullshit. But today Jade Raymond is working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist as producer at Ubisoft Toronto - in the same role she was while working on Assassin's Creed. 

She has not been in a single interview. There are no "the team" shots with her at the front, like you could easily find for AC. The most appearances she's made recently is the announcement that her team was doing the game in the first place, and the occasional DICE talk. Many of the images I found were from 2007, when she was mid-development of the first AC. It's like she just vanished - like she no longer felt welcome or safe in the public eye.

So, have you seen this woman?

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