The lights are on
A few days ago, we shared a guided tour of the concept art for Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed Unity. Today, we're doing the same with an eye toward the other upcoming game in the franchise, Assassin's Creed Rogue.
Unlike Unity, which is set in Paris during the French Revolution, Rogue takes place in the the northeast portion of the United States, including New York City and its surrounding seas, rivers, and waterways. The game's art director, Eddie Bennum, provided us with notes on some of Rogue's concept and character art.
"Following Raphael Lacoste’s high-level art direction, as a general art inspiration, we looked at 18th and 19th centuries American landscape painters, like Albert Bierstadt , Aldro Hibbard, and many others," Bennum says. "Their beautiful, occasionally lavish and fairytale style and execution additional magic to the world they painted."
Note: Click on images to see full-sized versions.
In this image, you can see an early concept for the New York skyline at sunrise. "Even though places like New York and Homestead were shown already in Assassin’s Creed III and were historically quite accurate, we wanted to identify and add some extra spices, while at the same time keep the authenticity of the era," Bennum says. Those spices include "a richer color palette, predominant crystal, [and] bright and positive weather conditions."
"Big cities always have been the stars of the franchise, so our goal was to represent mid-18th century New York as a flourishing, vibrant and colorful place – the true New World’s business and industrial center," he adds.
This illustration shows early concept work for the River Valley and its low to middle land-transition area. "In order to show the beauty of the North American continent, we rely on organic shapes and compositions, breathtaking vistas, and lighting magic hours," Bennum says. "The big rivers, green fields, and snowy mountains offer the player numerous sailing and ground-based exploration opportunities."
"Once entering the River Valley wildness, the player will discover the diverse universe of American pioneers – historical towns, native villages, cozy farms, fortified settlements, and mighty forts," Bennum says. This production art for an abandoned fort shows how the space has been reclaimed by multiple forces – not just the River Valley gangs who inhabit it now. "By making the concept of the fort conquered by nature, we wanted to reinforce the feeling of disorder and chaos set by the gang members."
This illustration is fairly straightforward. "This is where the new outlawed enemies are running their illegal affairs," Bennum says. It's also going to be reclaimed by the player, if Shay's presence is any indication.
These two sets of images focus on the playable character, Shay Patrick Cormac. He begins the game as a member of the Assassins, but he eventually converts to the Templar's cause. He makes a similar visual transition, as well. "In the course of the game, we show the progression from the flowing and organic form representing the Assassin’s nature to the straight and structured shapes of the Templar’s look," Bennum says.
"The transition between the free flow forms of the Assassins to the regimented angles of the Templar is not just a matter of visual and design," Bennum says. "This is also a representation of Shay's changing personality and worldview as the story develops."
For more information on both Assassin's Creed Rogue and Assassin's Creed Unity, be sure to visit our hub.
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