with Giovanni Maisto, concept artist of Ubisoft
“Ubisoft is a creator of worlds, committed to enriching players’ lives with original and memorable gaming experiences”, that is what we find when we read about the mission of the videogame company. It is the perfect summary of the long-standing experience that has led the company to become a leader in this sector, which presently counts about thirty studios distributed among twenty different countries in three continents. The French software house was founded in 1986 by Yves Guillemot and his four brothers, who started their career as distributors of American videogames and only in a second moment switching to the production of their own games. The boom arrived after the publication of Rayman in ‘95, a multiplatform title that presents an endearing gameplay and a very clean graphic, factors that are common to all Ubisoft productions. The strategic Tom Clancy’s acquisition took the company to the next-gen (PS3, xBox 360 & Wii), consecrating the firm among the most influential and important in the videogame industry.
One the most long-lived and renowned series of games, Assassin’s Creed, appeared for the first time in 2007 and includes about 20 titles (if we count those of the official series and the spin-offs). Almost every episode is characterized by a free-standing story, but it is easy to observe that there are some elements in common between the different productions. It is in fact an semi open-world from a third-person perspective, which creates a very strong interaction with the surrounding world. Desmond Miles – the leading character – descends from a one of the most well-known families of the confraternity of assassins; by exploiting a revolutionary technology called animus, he has access to the memories of his ancestors, thanks to which he can rediscover historical periods filtered through the eyes and consciousness of two opposing parties, Assassins and Templars, whose multiple fights and ideological clashes have influenced and shaped the events that nowadays are still remembered. The reinterpretation of history is now presented from these elusive assassins’ points of view, who fight for freedom and free will despite their reputation as murderers. Templars are presented as the ones interested into creating a dictatorship with the use of violence. What makes all narrations more credible is the presence of historical figures and places truly existed, which makes the whole narration more endearing.
Ubisoft’s creativity has also been devoted to producing several cinematics produced in CGI and a film dedicated to the saga (2016). The long rehearsal period of this last work was characterized by a series of short episodes later called Assassins’ Creed Lineage, produced by Hybride Technologies, authors of works such as “300” and “Sin City”. The actors were filmed with the use of the green screen technology, while the set was totally virtual, with the background re- created in CGI, trying as much as possible to integrate images from the game scene. Stage costumes and even scenarios were obtained thanks to the collaboration among historians, artists and costume designers, whose joint effort made it possible to reproduce the setting as faithfully as they could. Furthermore, we have to remember that the coherence between the short film and the videogame was obtained thank to the close collaboration between the two screenwriters, William Raymond for the shorts and Corey May for the first episodes of the game saga. Giovanni Auditore from Florence, Ezio’s father, acts as lead character in all the shorts Ezio, the father, had been an assassin devoted to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Lord of Florence during the Renaissance, who had been victim of a conspiracy by the Borgia family and the Pope, supported by the Barbarigo family from Venice. Giovanni travels throughout the country trying to protect Florence from the maleficent plans of the Borgia family. The film ends with the sentence “The conclusion is in your hands”, which brings the spectator back to reality and to the realization that this is the plot from a videogame, a masterpiece that has to be taken as an example for any action-adventure production.
Assassin’s Creed Lineage
Director: William Raymond
Hybride Technologies – Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed Origins: From Sand (September 29th 2017, 1’46” )
Assassin’s Creed Revelations (Reveal trailer E3 2011, June 3rd 2011, 3’11”)
Assassin’s Creed Unity : Arno Master Assassin (CG trailer, July 29th 2014, 2’27”)
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Gameplay trailer, August 21st 2018, 1’28”)
Assassin’s Creed Origins (Gamescom 2017, August 20th 2017, 3’13”)