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Home » Featured, News

Ubisoft to expand beyond games; Assassin’s Creed short films on the way

Submitted by on Monday, 27 July 2009One Comment

Assassin's Creed 2Ubisoft have announced today plans to expand their properties beyond the videogame market to include film and “all platforms and mediums that could support our franchises.”

As part of this new direction, the publisher will produce a series of short films based on the popular Assassin’s Creed property.

Starting back in 2007 with the creation of an internal digital content creation team (Ubisoft Digital Arts), Ubisoft have now acquired renown Visual FX studio Hybride Technologies to accelerate their emergence as a digital juggernaut in the media industry.

Best known for their work on 300 and Sin City, Hybride Technologies have 23 years experience in visual effects. Jade Raymond, Executive Producer on Assassin’s Creed II, explains how the studio will not only be involved with growing Ubisoft’s popular franchises outside of the videogame spectrum, but also in enhancing the games themselves:

“Hybride and Ubisoft Digital Arts are involved in the sense that their work on the short films has influenced the game. Although they are not working directly on the game’s assets per se, many of the film’s experts have collaborated with the team to bring a new level of quality to the game. The film’s weapon designer for example worked with the game’s art director on our weapon design. Once we saw working versions of the hidden blade and other weapons we were able to adjust each animation to make sure it reflected the actual weight and function”

Both film and game studios are working closely together with some obvious cross-over apparent considering  the actor who has depicted Ezio in the sequel is also staring as the fledgling assassin in the short films. Exploring the events that lead up to the start of Assassin’s Creed II, the shorts will expand on Ezio’s back-story and also feature Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, Ezio’s father. Explaining the motives of revenge and enmity so prevalent in Ubisoft’s new game, the short films are seen as companion pieces to the upcoming big budget sequel.

A mixture of live-action and CGI, the films are crafted in a similar manner to Hybride’s previous film projects with the use of green-screen technology. This time however the creators can incorporate the game’s engine to visualise their work on the fly. Entitled Assassin’s Creed: Lineage, the short films will be directed by Yves Simoneau, an award-winning director and scriptwriter whose previous work includes “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, “Nuremberg”, “Marie-Antoinette”, “Napoleon” and “Les Fous de Bassan”. Jade Raymond will act as Executive Producer as part of overseeing the entire Assassin’s Creed II brand.

What is clear from CEO Yannis Mallat and Jade Raymond’s comments in the press release announcing Assassin’s Creed: Lineage is how Ubisoft are transforming itself into more than just a videogame company. Undoubtedly just the beginning of Ubisoft’s venture into the media market, we expect this new digital arm of Ubisoft to continue to grow and support its properties going forward. Postulating the future of Ubisoft’s new endeavours, Mallat predicts:

“In 10 years from now, Ubisoft will be an entertainment content provider.”

No dates have been confirmed for the release of the Assassin’s Creed: Lineage films though they are expected to launch close to the release of the upcoming game.