At this point of the year, Ubisoft’s usually preparing to show off the next big chapter in the Assassin’s Creed franchise in the flesh. E3 press conference announcements have long been the stage where the French publisher has unveiled the latest tour of history through an Animus session, artwork for the game plastered all over the Los Angeles Convention Center and showcasing the next mythical figure that fans will guide through a tale that weaves history and fantasy together into a package of action, drama and plot twists galore.
This year, things are a little bit different. There’s no massive crowd milling about the LACC to marvel at the gigantic poster showing off the game, no throng of crowds sitting inside the Orpheum Theatre waiting to see what’s next. What there still is this year, is art. Art that teases what’s to come, art that sets the stage for the direction of Assassin’s Creed and where this year’s entry in the franchise will take place.
I hope you’ve packed your jacket because this year is about to get chilly when Assassin’s Creed heads to colder Nordic lands! Called Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest chapter has you swinging axes and sailing on a longboat, discovering new lands and finding new foes to tangle with. Wanting to perfectly set the scene, Ubisoft roped in famed digital artist BossLogic to give fans their first glimpse at what lies ahead, utilising his distinctive art style to prepare the world for the next era of Assassin’s Creed.
A world that Kode “BossLogic” Abdo is more than familiar with. “Basically I started with everyone else, during the first one,” Abdo said when we chatted to him this week.
From there, they created this whole new genre of basically crazy assassins with awesome hoodies, crazy action that you get from it. Everyone got inspired by it, but the thing is, what kept me going all the way now, is artwork. Like if you look at my style, the urban look, the grungy look and all that stuff, it kind of got inspired by Assassin’s Creed.
Having made a name for himself with his incredible digital art, Abdo wanted to render a main event piece of artwork that told a massive story that was different from the usual Assassin’s Creed splash page. “We wanted to create something that shows you the game in a new light. Vikings are obviously a new thing to the Assassins genre,” Abdo explained.
We also wanted to create something that’s impactful, but not spoilerish. So we gave the main character a burdened state, you’ve got attack battles on the side. We’ve got all that sort of stuff and if you look you can pick up little Easter eggs here and there. Hopefully we didn’t spoil anything.
Having created art for Marvel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, you’d think that BossLogic would be used to the pressure of such a mammoth project, but even that team felt a touch of anxiety when they got to work on the project. “It’s always scary to create something, especially if you’re the main person creating something for the whole fanbase,” Abdo said while describing Ubisoft’s passion for art.
We’re happy, I hope the fans are happy and I’m happy as a fan. Definitely there was a bit of pressure, because we want to make people happy and it’s a new platform now. It’s Vikings, it’s totally new. We don’t know if it’s going to be well received like ‘Oh my god this is the craziest thing or it’s going to be like ‘meh we want the old classic hoodies’. Hopefully it’s well received.
The thing that drove us the most, is their passion. When they were describing the theme and what they were going for, they kind of inspired us. Their vision for the game helped us a lot and that’s why the back and forth between us was really important.
If you’re expecting a ton of history in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you won’t be disappointed as Abdo and his team had to hit the books when researching for this project while Ubisoft gave them extra homework on the side:
They gave us the direction. Me and the team had to dive deep into the history vaults of Google and find out the information on certain things, eras, looks, aesthetics and all that sort of stuff. They pointed us in the direction, for which we were thankful. It was crazy fun. The thing is, when you’re trying something new you’re also getting a history lesson, also learning.
So when you have to read up on these boats, these axes, it helps you with future work and it helps you with your history lesson. That’s what I like. I like learning new things.
Eagle-eyed viewers of the artwork might have also noticed something: Easter eggs! While Abdo can’t reveal what’s in the piece exactly, it is worth exploring and searching for as there are some hidden nuggets of treasure that Assassin’s Creed fans will appreciate:
Yes! I’m not allowed to say anything about them, but when they find them they’ll know. That’s the fun part. If you follow me on social media, with my Marvel work and stuff, I always throw in Easter eggs. So throwing in Easter eggs here, people always tend to look through my work so this isn’t an exception. You can look and you’ll find stuff.
Overall, Abdo’s goal was a simple one on this project. He wanted to tell a story, one that you’d be able to see without reading a single word. “With things like this, we always try to depict story. If you’re able to feel the main character, if you’re able to feel what’s going on in the background then basically you’re being drawn into the picture.
That’s the final outcome that I and the team wants. You’re appreciating the picture and you know all the hard work that went into it…That’s money to me.
There’ll be more Assassin’s Creed Valhalla content revealed throughout the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned, as we’ll be keeping a close eye on this game ahead of its upcoming launch.
Last Updated: April 29, 2020