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New Assassin’s Creed Game Leads to Wikipedia Trolling

Assassin's Creed Shadows Yasuke Art

Yesterday Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Shadows and the two main characters, Naoe and Yasuke. Unlike the fictional protagonists in previous Assassin’s Creed games, Yasuke is a real person. Instead of admiring two new badass characters and the franchise going to Japan, people have begun arguing about Yasuke’s presence in the game. Going beyond the usual social media bickering, trolls are edit warring on the Yasuke Wikipedia page.

Depending on when you checked the page yesterday you’d see different information changing literally by the minute. Before admins could lock page edits, random contributors were slipping in racist comments and arguing about garbage like “the global elite” and how DEI is taking over. This all started because a real African person is a samurai in a video game. That’s it. I can’t see all the personal attacks between contributors because Wikipedia admins have been removing them. But you can still see the warnings and contributors who were permanently blocked from Wikipedia.

The ridiculous controversy is around Yasuke’s history since there isn’t a lot known about him. Even Ubisoft addresses this in one of their trailers where they explain how they plan to build his story. Without getting too deeply into it, Yasuke was likely born in Africa and came to Japan where he may have become a samurai. The history is blurry since there doesn’t seem to be many primary sources discussing him. And as such, we have people arguing about whether or not he’s a samurai, if he’s a retainer, if he’s bushi, etc. But it doesn’t stop there, it then leads to questioning what a samurai actually is.

Yasuke Wikipedia Talk Discussions

This racist rant is under the Yasuke Wikipedia Talk section.

Funnily enough, the English Wikipedia page refrains from calling him a samurai at all. And yet people are still complaining about it. Whereas the Japanese page outright states he is one, as translated by Google Translate, “Nobunaga … showed great interest in this black man and negotiated with Valignano to give him up, naming him “Yasuke”, giving him official status as a samurai, and keeping him close to him”.

Fortunately, the Japanese Wikipedia mostly avoided the bickering plaguing the English version. Between malicious edits and discussions filled with personal attacks, admins are calling the situation “a complete dumpster fire“. One admin even cited “typical Gamergate bullshit” as part of the problem. Before May, the English Yasuke page was averaging around 3,000 pageviews daily. Yesterday after the Assassin’s Creed Shadows reveal, it spiked to 172,415 pageviews.

Which isn’t all that surprising when you have the edit warring of people repeatedly adding and reverting the exact same paragraph. I counted one incident where they went back and forth 13 times. And then another where they did it 16 times. It probably would have kept going if admins didn’t lock the page, or protect it as Wikipedia calls it.

Assassin's Creed Shadows Naoe and Yasuke

It’s one thing for a Wikipedia page to be accurate but I have to wonder how many of these people are just upset over a black game protagonist. Looking through the Wikipedia discussions is tame compared to Twitter comments where everyone is suddenly a historian. Stop whining about historical accuracy in your fantasy sci-fi game. For the people who seem to care so much about Yasuke, they barely know the little bit that we do know about him. Which I’m sure they barely care about, to begin with.

It’s going to be a fun time when the people who are scared of diversity in their games learn about gay samurai. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ubisoft slips something in. But it would be even more satisfying to see them include the gay relations of Japanese daimyo, Oda Nobunaga.