Ned Wynert

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Character
Name: Ned Wynert
Occupation: Businessman
Title/Rank:
Location: London, England
Status:
Relationships: None canonical
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Other:
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Ned Wynert is a side character in the 2015 game Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, and notably the first canonically transgender character in the game series, although Eric Cooper was the first transgender character in the franchise as a whole. (Some fans interpreted the character of James Kidd/Mary Read in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag as a trans man or non-binary, but this is not a widespread fanon, and only Eric and Ned have been confirmed transgender by Word of God.)

As expected, some players called the inclusion of a trans character "nothing more than a company political statement to appeal to modern social justice"[1], especially given that the game takes place in 1800s England. However other players responded with comments such as "The Assassins stand for the future, for progress. They are audience surrogates meant to represent modern views in a past setting. This has been true right from AC1."[1]

Ned's character has been criticized as flat and uninteresting, which was a complaint levied against many of the Syndicate side characters:

I don't have a problem with a trans character popping up in a game set in the height of Victorian prudery. I don't really even have a problem with him being a blatant diversity token, even though it's lazy. What I DO have a problem with is that people are trying to paint it as some kind of major step forward for trans visibility in games, because it isn't. It's nothing. Ned is such a worthless, one-dimensional character that I barely remembered who he was when I would get one of those post-mission pop-ups saying his loyalty had increased. The same thing goes for essentially all of Syndicate's supporting cast as well (well, slightly less so for Henry and Abberline I guess since they at least did stuff onscreen) but it's just frustrating to me that people even comment so vehemently on this dreck. Ned's not a character, he's a cardboard cutout. So are all the other loyalty mission allies. They can all be summed up completely by a simple physical description; there's the bumbling cop, the fast-talking bookie, the precocious little cockney scamp, and the trans dude. All of them just bland cliches that do nothing for the story, never interact with the protagonists outside of a simple "do this for me and I'll give you stuff," and simply serve as window dressing for a pretty Victorian setting.


TL;DR version, Ned is a sucky non-character and people should neither see him as a step forward for trans characters nor get butthurt over his inclusion. [...] The problem with Ned is that he sucks, not that he's trans.[1]

Another mild criticism raised with Ned's character was the fact that he was voice acted by a woman. One trans guy fan commented that "I recognize that Ned is pre/non HRT and would have the same voice as a cis female so technically speaking its the same effect. I cant overly judge it because i have no idea or reference if Ubisoft TRIED to get a trans voice actor or not. I cant spew hate at them when maybe they did all they could to find a pre-T FTM voice actor. But its also still very possible that they only ever searched for female voice actresses. Its something that frustrates me, I have no idea on it."[2]

Shipping

Ned is most commonly shipped with Jacob Frye.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 thread "Let's talk about Ned Wynert", February 2016, Ubisoft forums
  2. post by Connor, tumblr, November 2015