The Jade Raymond Controversy

Well, had to weigh in on this one.

For those of you now au-fait with the situation, there’s a very attractive woman producer working at Ubisoft on a game called Assasins Creed.

She’s reportedly quite good at her job, having worked at Microsoft before that.

However, Ubisoft, in a brilliant marketing move, has pushed her front and center – literally.
Here’s a pic they produced.

Now the backwash of all this is a rather crude comic going round basically making Ms. Raymond out to be someone who would give…favors… for buying the game.
It’s crude, it’s nasty and it’s pretty gratuitous.

Ms. Raymond is a pretty girl with power in a mans (well, boys actually) world. And just like anything in a boys world that isn’t boy dominated, it tends to get abused.

There’s been much ado about it, Ubisoft slapping lawsuits around and juvenile morons creating new “Made Jade Raymond Cry” XLA achivements. It’s just very very sad – lots of morons with no idea of what they are doing. There’s an unspoken inference the Jade Raymond couldn’t possible be attractive and smart, and if she is, well she’s an object, right?

Now I tend to have a lot of empathy for Ms. Raymond in this situation. The media has pounced on her since she’s cute and sex sells. Ubisoft has completely sold her out in terms of using her image to push a game, whereas she should really be in the team, not a figure head.

The fact is that Ms. Raymond is the one having to deal with all this crap, not Ubisoft’s brilliant Marketing Department. No, they just put her in this situation.

There’s much to be said regarding the appropriateness of Ubisofts marketing decision in the first place – while it’s a brilliant one since there’s now so much attention being drawn to Jade and therefore Assasins Creed, it’s a morally bankrupt one in terms of the come back it has on her and not them. Using sex to sell a game in our industry is just never a good move since it’s never been a free ride.
The ends NEVER justify the means.

Secondly, it really does bring home our industries obsession with sex and gender and how immature we really are. Hardly surprising when you look at the demographic we are made up of. I doubt we will ever grow up in that respect.

Thirdly, if I were part of the dev team, while I wouldn’t be especially pissed at Ms. Raymond myself personally (unless I saw that she was reveling in the attention and actively seeking it out – I’ve never met her and have no idea what kind of person she is but I’d rather give her the benefit of the doubt), I would be pretty pissed off at Ubisoft for the above kind of picture, since it inherently gives the impression that the superstar is Ms. Raymond and everyone else a lackey. I know producers, and none of them are superstars. They are enablers, no doers and they should be part of the team, not above it.

Lastly, you do have wonder why Ms. Raymond didn’t simply say “No” in the first place to all this attention? I mean, if you can’t see stuff like this coming in our industry, where can you see it coming? That’s not to imply that this is ‘her fault’ in anyway – no subtle put downs here – simply that the building of this kind of attention does take two to tango. You do have to put yourself out there in order for this kind of thing to happen. Not that by putting yourself out there should this kind of bullshit be warranted – there’s no excuse for this kind of juvenile crap – just that the only way to be sure to avoid it is to not be the focus of attention in the first place.

You will always have your Joystiq’s and your UK Resistance who will pick up on a pretty face, but you don’t have to capitalize on it.

Not that she should have to be particularly ashamed of being a pretty girl either – I just think that attempting to capitalize on it in this industry is a bad move, as events have proven.

As a guy who’s been in this industry, I feel at least someone should apologize to Ms. Raymond for this demographics rampant mysoginism. It doesn’t put things to right, but at least it’s something.

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