Ubisoft was "inches away" from including female co-op characters in Far Cry 4, the publisher has said.
Similar to Ubisoft's other open-world co-op game this year, Assassin's Creed Unity, the decision to ultimately not include the option has been blamed on technical reasons.
"It's really depressing because we almost... we were inches away from having you be able to select a girl or a guy as your co-op buddy when you invite someone in," Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchinson explained to Polygon.
"And it was purely a workload issue because we don't have a female reading for the character, we don't have all the animations. It was this weird issue where you could have a female model that walked and talked and jumped like a dude."
This was the same stance that Assassin's Creed Unity director Alex Amancio first took for female co-op characters being cut in that game.
"It's double the animations, it's double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets," he originally claimed.
But speaking to Eurogamer last night at E3, Amancio changed tack - with the explanation that all characters are male because everyone plays as main character Arno in their own game.
"I understand the issue, I understand the cause, and it is a noble one, but I don't think it's relevant in the case of Unity," Amancio told us. "In Unity you play this character called Arno, and when you're playing co-op you're also playing Arno - everybody is. It's like Aiden Pierce in Watch Dogs."
But, in Watch Dogs, other players who join your game can appear as female characters.
It's also worth noting that Far Cry 3's separate co-op mode also let you choose to play as a female character, Tisha.
"Unfortunately for this one, no, but I can guarantee you that in the future, moving forward, this sort of stuff will go away," Hutchinson concluded. "As we get better technology and we plan for it in advance and we don't have a history on one rig and all this sort of stuff.
"We had very strong voices on the team pushing for that and I really wanted to do it, we just couldn't squeeze it in in time. But on the other hand we managed to get more of the other story characters to be women.
"We did our best. It's frustrating for us as it is for everybody else, so it's not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done."