Watch Dogs Legion is removing Helen Lewis’ voice lines from the game due to controversial opinions voiced by the reporter herself.
Helen Lewis is reporter and staff writer for The Atlantic, but she also lent her voice to Watch Dogs Legion. She is a minor character in Watch Dogs, and her voice is only used for audio in two of the game’s podcasts, but recently Ubisoft announced that she is being removed from the project entirely.
The issue stems from some controversial opinions which Lewis has voiced in her writing and on social media. Players and followers began expressing distaste towards Ubisoft for its inclusion of her in Watch Dogs Legion‘s cast despite what many view to be transphobic views that she spreads.
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In response to this news, Ubisoft has opted to cut ties with Lewis altogether, and will be releasing a patch to remove her voice lines from the game. Instead, a new voice actor will be hired to re-record those podcasts and replace Lewis’ lines, completely erasing her from the game. Ubisoft is no stranger to controversy itself, either though.
Though this may seem like a minor occurrence that doesn’t affect much, it has a lot of implications. For one, it shows Ubisoft on its continued path towards making itself a better company. Public outcry against Ubisoft reached an all time high this year as stories of sexual misconduct within the company’s leadership have come to the forefront. Since then Ubisoft’s upper management has shifted drastically, and it seems the replacements are eager to set a reputation for themselves as fair and kind.
Furthermore, it isn’t often that a game will go back and replace work that has already been done for any reason, though it does happen occasionally. One of the more notable times was when Nolan North re-recorded all the lines of the Ghost from Destiny, replacing Peter Dinklage’s original rendition. That was admittedly a much bigger undertaking, but Watch Dogs Legion opting to remove and replace these minor pieces of dialogue arguably shows more dedication given how easy it would have been to simply ignore complaints and pass it up.
Naturally, there are those that disagree with the move, claiming that Lewis should never have been hired if Ubisoft was going to have an issue with her later. This echoes similar sentiments as when Mike Z was suspended from working on Guilty Gear after he finished work on the most recent update. In that case, fans felt as though he was taken advantage of, and some feel similarly about Lewis. Ultimately it seems like Ubisoft will listen to fans and make adjustments accordingly, but it remains to be seen whether that ends up being a positive or negative change in the long run.
Watch Dogs Legion is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, on November 10th for Xbox Series X, and November 12th for PS5.
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