Update - June 12: Ubisoft has issued a statement regarding the issue.
Original report: Ubisoft chose not to include playable female characters in Assassin's Creed Unity because it would have "doubled the work", Ubisoft technical director James Therien has told VideoGamer.com.
"It was on our feature list until not too long ago, but it's a question of focus and production," Therien explained. "So we wanted to make sure we had the best experience for the character. A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes [inaudible]. It would have doubled the work on those things. And I mean it's something the team really wanted, but we had to make a decision... It's unfortunate, but it's a reality of game development."
When pressed on the issue, specifically that we didn't think his excuse would wash with the community given the amount of resources at the studio's disposal, Therien continued:
"Again, it's not a question of philosophy or choice in this case at all I don't really [inaudible] it was a question of focus and a question of production. Yes, we have tonnes of resources, but we're putting them into this game, and we have huge teams, nine studios working on this game and we need all of these people to make what we are doing here."
Assassin's Creed Unity launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on October 28.