With its pseudo historical storyline, vicious combat, free world parkour roaming, and just massive cool factor, 2007’s Assassin’s Creed was a massive hit, selling over eight million copies and launching a new entertainment franchise. While the game was very repetitive (how many viewpoints can there be in one city) and ended with a massive cliffhanger, the anticipation for the sequel is massive. To prepare for its November 17th release, publisher Ubisoft has taken a cue from what publishers have done before: prepare some juicy web series content.
Earlier in the summer we wrote about how the feature film Terminator: Salvation used its video game engine to produce a machinima prequel series to the events of the film. Perhaps Ubisoft took notice of February’s Escape from City 17 live action Half Life 2 short, because the opposite has occurred, the web series for the launch of Assassin’s Creed 2 titled Assassin’s Creed: Lineage is all live action. Well, technically it’s 21st century live action, which means, like 300, it’s real life actors in front of a green screen.
Focusing on Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, the father of the sequel’s protagonist Ezio, the episodes are being directed by Yves Simoneau (who’s also directing the first few eps of upcoming V for ABC. Written by William Raymond, with close supervision by game writer Corey May, the series looks to really strengthen not only the background on the game’s ultra-violent hero, but also the seedy culture that surrounds the game’s Florentine Renaissance setting. Based off the trailer (above), viewers can expect plenty of violence, torture, and certainly lots of fly Renaissance costumes.
Ubisoft has been throwing some serious resources into the production of the series—period appropriate (example: super fly hidden blades) props and even digital syncing some in game environments into the live action episodes. Of course this is easier to do now that the gaming company recently acquired special effects company Hybride Technologies. It all comes together for a very modern way of storytelling in different mediums.
“The beauty of it all is to have all these people working together,” said Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal in a recent interview. “In terms of technology, scriptwriting, settings, visuals and environments, there has been a lot of sharing between the two teams.”
Mallat said in an interview with website CVG that while playing a recent build of the game he was overcome emotionally because he had been emotionally prepped by the web series. The first episode of three will be out Tuesday (October 27) on YouTube, and it is generally assumed future episodes will be released both on the web and on console distribution networks like Xbox 360 and PS3. One can imagine that if the episodes are considered hits, we can expect more live-action series for many upcoming Ubisoft games included the long awaited Splinter Cell:Conviction.
It seems like the game and the shorts have everything going for it, yet there is one thing, one massive specter looming on the horizon for this game and the online series: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Coming out on the 17th, just one week after Assassin’s Creed, the game already has already sold an insane 1.6 million copies in pre-orders alone. One can only hope Assassin’s Creed: Lineage succeed in buying the game a little time before the game is massacred by the Modern Warfare behemoth. Based off history, I’d say the Assassin and his high clever techniques and toys always has a fighting chance.
Tim Goessling is a regular contributing writer for Tubefilter News and has been playing video games since Commander Keen. You can read more of his writing on www.thislalife.com.