Assassin’s Creed 3 is one of the biggest titles of 2012 with rave reviews for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC versions. We spoke with Assassin’s Creed 3 character artist Remko Troost about his impressions of the game and the effort that went into the artwork of one of the year’s biggest titles.
Gaming Illustrated: How much research went into perfecting the American Revolution and Native American designs in Assassin’s Creed 3? Which one was harder to execute?
Gaming Illustrated: Is it difficult striking a balance between historical accuracy and just “looking cool” for a game? Does that same issue come up when working on making the distinctive multiplayer characters?
Remko: It is. And this is where things become quite exciting when creating characters for brands like Assassin’s Creed. The brand is known for his sophisticated and complicated costume designs and so you’re always looking to find the right balance in between “historically accurate” and “kick-ass” final look. This is where you understand how important good references and documentations are. Finally to make the character look cool but historically accurate, we are playing around with trying new details, shapes and force lines. As for the multiplayer characters, those were created by Ubisoft Massive in Sweden. These characters are used in multiplayer situations without a real storyline, like capture the flag or death match modes. This means less storyline and so less constraints in historical accuracy.
Gaming Illustrated: Do you often borrow themes/designs from previous entries in the series to make the look cohesive across the bar?
Remko: I don’t. I do keep them aside, to be sure the final designs all fit together in the same universe but I create each character from scratch and each time again try to find that little touch that makes him look cool but founded in history.
Gaming Illustrated: What was the difficulty in getting an authentic look with the Native American characters in the game and not having them simply be stereotypical archetypes of what Native Americans have been popularly portrayed as in popular media?
Remko: In staying true to history but then propose new designs anyway. Native Americans can be found in tons of movies, cartoons, video games and so on. I watched a lot of these materials to see how I could add this little Assassin’s Creed touch. Something that hasn’t been done yet, before I started creating these amazingly interesting characters. We were also assisted by historians specialized in Native American culture and history.
Gaming Illustrated: Since the Assassin’s Creed series has used events and people from history in the plot of the games, is there a mandate for the art to be historically accurate or is it a balance between that and the artists’ own artistic license?
Remko: Although of course we prefer to stay true to history in order to present a credible and cohesive universe, we do are invited to try and push the boundaries on the costume design. A very satisfying challenge finding the right balance.
Gaming Illustrated: Artwork in AAA titles such as what we’re seeing in shots from AC3 often inspire a new generation of artists to jump into the gaming industry. What advice could you give to these inspiring artists?
Remko : I don’t think there is some kind of magical receipt for getting into the industry. It’s about working hard and being 300% passionate about what you are doing. Training, drawing, painting and illustrating all the time, on and on. And not only the things you like to draw but also subjects you master less. Get out of your comfort zone in order to learn. Create an online portfolio containing ten of what you think are your best works and then send it out to a studio you think, their universe fits you best. Also there are some well-known forums on the internet, where artists get together and show off their work. Here you can find job offers from the video game industry and encounter professionals and create contacts.It happens things won’t work out the first time(s). Don’t give up.This is normal! Sometimes it’s just the universe that don’t fit you yet or a lack of experience needed on the game.Try to find out what didn’t work, be honest with yourself, and learn from it, look around you, improve these factors and again don’t give up!
Gaming Illustrated: Any final words that you’d like to pass along to your fans?
Remko: Not sure I have any! If so, yeh, keep drawing, stay curious, believe, learn, share, get out of your comfort zone , keep drawing, play the game and keep drawing!
Gaming Illustrated would like to thank Remko Troost and the team behind Assassin’s Creed 3 for their time!