Assassin's Creed Pirates

The Assassin’s Creed franchise was created in 2007, it has sold over 100 million copies, and the movie released in 2016 grossed $240 million. Assassin’s Creed Pirates is a unique mobile game from the universe of the franchise. A co-production between Paris HQ and the Craiova studio in Romania.

Company:  Ubisoft

Year: 2012 to 2013

Team size: 50

Location: Paris, FRANCE

Role: 3D Production Coordinator

Press and Awards

Skill Set

Art & Creative Direction

Leadership, Agile

PIRATE_FLAG_ILLUSTRATION_V03

1.Pre-production

The objective of pre-production is to have a full game proposal and a feasible production plan. This is done through competitive analysis and prototyping.

My role was to create visuals of what the product could be, while elaborating the art direction, and the art production pipeline. 

First, developing the Art Direction was done through analysis and reverse engineering of previous Assassin’s Creed titles, and the production of concept visuals to communicate the Art Direction to the team.

Camera, colour and light research
Concept art for battles

Art/Creative Direction

The gameplay was divided into 3 game modes: the tactical view, the navigation and the battle mode. The same game entities (enemies, environments, obstacles, bonuses, etc…) would be present across each mode, but seen from a different perspective; it was vital that they remained immediately identifiable by the user in all the modes. It is the role of the Art Direction and UX design to do that job. I researched and developed a low-level visual language as a basis for the art direction, using shapes as the primary visual information layer and then colours, followed by animations.

shape information research for "threat" in nature, and how it is perceived by humans
Low-level visual language shape code

Assassin’s Creed Pirates takes place in the Caribbean, featuring an open world of 12 km², it was vital that the world made sense as a whole, creating logical variety in vegetation was the basis to provide an identity to this open world.

Vegetation as a system
Natural landmarks were designed to tell a story, again as a programmable system

Prototypes

To bring the game to life and evaluate the feasibility of its different aspects, I built multiple iterations of prototypes:

Prototype of level selection aka “the node map” making use of the art direction

Refined prototype of the node map

Early concept of the Tactical view

Video concept of the tactical view

The outcome of my work in pre-production enabled our team to discover production needs in regards to:

  • Engine and tools features for the engine dev team
  • Targeted graphics
  • Technical and Artistic Guidelines for the Art and post-FX production

2.Co-production

During production, my role was to set the 2 weeks sprints content, to assist the production team remotely and on-site and to provide constructive reviews and solutions to enhance the game’s visual quality.

Having prototyped most aspects of the graphics in pre-production, I wrote documentation to guide the production team for them to follow the best-tested process:

Sample pages of documentation guides

By following a precise production process the team was able to considerably enhance the environment quality:

With the production team on rails, more time was allowed for pushing the overall quality of the game through Post Processing Visual Effects technics such as colour-grading, God rays, lens flares, rain, lighting and water technology. These images show the evolution of the overall graphics throughout production:

3.Launch

My last involvement with the project was the supervision of cinematics (real-time and precalculated). I was also involved in the creation of marketing launch trailers. Apple selected the game as one of the Best of 2013 in the category blockbusters, and very welcomed by the fan community:

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