If you’re anything like us, you keep up with the latest news in all things geek and design. The latest piece of news we’ve come across is the recent announcement of the latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series. The newest game is titled Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but don’t be fooled by the number: it’s actually the sixth main console game in the series. Outside of the main video games, we have handheld-exclusive games, comic books and mobile app games with their own stories to tell.
We’ve come a long way from the first Assassin’s Creed. Like their games, their online presence and their global branding has strengthened and evolved over the years without ever losing its core identity of the trademark ‘A’ of the Assassin Brotherhood (notice these days how Ubisoft, the video game’s publisher, can get away with presenting only the Mark of the Assassins with a different element to denote a new game and a new time period).
Each installment has presented a different story and with it a different visual look. In the first Assassin’s Creed, all design instances are clean, keeping in line with the fictional Abstergo Industries, run by the Assassins’ mortal enemies, the Templars. White Helvetica on slate blue, constant white lines and elements of a lighter blue dominated the in-game interface and the real-world design.
Since Assassin’s Creed II, Ubisoft has made a massive visual departure in the main storyline. The difference between the Assassins and the Templars is obvious not only in their philosophies, but in their graphics. Where the ever-adaptive Assassins embrace the red and white of their group, the Templars opt for corporate, scientific blues and grays. As the series progresses, we see the greater freedoms gained through the upgrades and mechanics changes of the independent Assassins. Sure, it’s an in-game explanation for the new fancy things, but we have visuals to show for it, for the audience to know that this is something new and very different from the enemy system that is presented side-by-side in the multiplayer arenas.
Of course, what kind of entertainment doesn’t have an external presence these days? Ubisoft has gone beyond the reaches of their video games and expanded into mobile app games, Facebook games, social media and websites to track and compare global progress. Visit the Assassin’s Network online and you’ll see excellent usage of infographics that match with the geometric-looking brand of Assassin’s Creed III. Even the trophies and achievements won from completing certain tasks or missions change visually from game to game.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a little different from its predecessors. You are the modern-day protagonist exploring the memories of pirate-turned-Assassin Edward Kenway in Abstergo Industries. What this will mean for the visual aspect and the new direction of the Assassin’s Creed brand, only time will tell. We’ll be anxiously waiting for more news as we get closer to the release date.
Or at least one of us here at Backyard Studios will.