50,000 sign petition for Assassin’s Creed Shadows to be canceled over ‘cultural disrespect’

Controversy isn’t leaving Ubisoft’s back as the petition to cancel Assassin’s Creed Shadows is growing stronger with over 50,000 signatures.

This petition at Change.org (translated by Google) charges Assassin’s Creed Shadows for “cultural disrespect” over its black Samurai co-protagonist Yasuke. It goes so far as to paint it as “a serious insult to Japanese culture and history” and prophesies that the game “can lead to racism in Asia.”

Yasuke and Naoe in a burning building in Assassin's Creed Shadows
The dual protagonists. Image via Ubisoft

“The game is based on Japanese samurai and ignores the fact that samurai were a higher class of warrior class and should have been “gokenin” or servants of nobles. In fact, the first European to receive the title of samurai, William Adams (Miura Anjin), served Tokugawa Ieyasu as a 250 koku hatamoto,” petitioner Shimizu Toru says. “In such history, Ubisoft continues to misunderstand the essence and role of samurai.”

With its next goal of 75,000 signatures, the petition urges “Ubisoft to immediately cancel the release of Assassin’s Creed Shadows and show sincere research and respect for Japanese history and culture.”

As we know from AC Shadow’s trailers and marketing campaign so far, the game will be featuring dual protagonists—Naoe, a shinobi, and Yasuke, a samurai—with the latter being the first real historical figure that players will be able to play as. 

The real Yasuke, according to historical records, was a man of African origin who lived in 16th-century Japan and served as a samurai to the Japanese daimyō Oda Nobunaga for over a year during the Sengoku period.

While it remains to be seen how Ubisoft toes the line of historical authenticity with the upcoming entry, the company will surely have to deal with the culture war-esque controversy that seems to have taken momentum since Yasuke’s introduction.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is slated to release on Nov. 15 later this year.

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