Engine House VFX are pleased to announce our second involvement with the Assassin’s Creed Franchise, creating cutscenes for the latest game in the series, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India.
Released on January 12th, this is the second in a series of three mini-games, named the Chronicles trilogy, each based in a different time and location – China, India and Russia.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is renowned for its cinematic style and hugely impactful graphics within the game and the promotional materials.
This is the second of the three episodes that Engine House has worked on, having already completed work on Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China.
Working from the script, we developed storyboards and compositions for each of the cutscenes that told the story between the levels within the game. We were tasked with creating a unique visual style that was sympathetic to the bold graphics of the game, illustrative motifs that are indicative of the cultural backdrop, and also that were instantly recognisable as coming from the Assassin’s Creed universe.
The game centres around Arbaaz Mir in Amristar in 1841, he is recovering the Koh-i-Noor diamond that used to belong to the Assassin Brotherhood. The player controls him through this journey alongside his mentor Hamid, and his lover, the princess, Pyara Kaur
Each game in the Chronicles series has it’s own visual identity, where China has dark tones and natural flows of ink, India contrasts that with bright colours and geometric Sikh patterns. Working with Climax Studios, we referenced a lot of the buildings and temples of this time to create a strong visual language and engaging transitions for the painted story panels.
The starting point for the cutscenes was the story and script provided to us by Climax Studios, which laid out the dialogue and narrative beats we needed to convey in each scene. Made up of one to five still images, each scene would play out like an animated graphic novel.
To create them we used the in-game environments as a starting point to ensure they felt consistent with the game world. When you’re telling stories with just two or three images, it’s really important to ensure you have the characters in strong poses and gestures to convey the narrative. Arranging the characters in the 3D software Maya, we rendered them to be dropped into the scene ready for it to be painted up.
A set of visual rules were established to ensure consistent treatment was given to the cutscenes. Using a library of Sikh style patterns we created, we would then use those as stencils to break up the scene and create visual interest, subtracting patterns from foreground elements and the bold coloured cloudy backdrops, as well as the characters themselves.
Once all elements are painted we would then bring those into After Affects to create the transitions that bring scenes in and out. Again using the geometric patterns to reveal and hide sections of a scene in a visually engaging way to keep within the themes of the game.
We were very fortunate to be given a lot of freedom to explore looks for this game early on, the cutscenes are of a very different visual style to the levels you play through and form such a key part of the experience. The storylines in the Assassin’s Creed series are of key importance to the fans, so we were really grateful to be entrusted with their execution.