Review: The Art of Assassin's Creed IV – Black Flag / Author: Paul Davies / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
The Assassin's Creed titles are often overlooked when it comes to their educational properties. Having depicted historical periods from Renaissance Italy to revolutionary America in past instalments, the series has become synonymous with deeply researched and wholly absorbing worlds for players to explore. It only takes one casual stroll around the architectural vistas in Assassins Creed 2, and you’ll wonder if the Italian tourist board has sneaked a few Euros into Ubisoft’s pocket.
Now as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag crashes upon our shores, Titan have released a book that presents the concept art which has helped form the latest interactive wonder. Covering each location from the Cuban capital of Havana to the gloomy slave plantations of Kingston, this superbly designed art book provides a brief overview of the creative process with some lovely glossy stills to match.
While a large chunk of the book emphasizes how Black Flag is perhaps the most diverse Assassin's Creed yet, it’s other aspects of the game's design that prove more interesting. From the fact the games ships were designed from actual records of wreckages, to how the inspiration behind lead character Edward Kenway stemmed from Patrick Swayze’s character in Point Break, the book serves up small details that colour our knowledge of what it takes to create a blockbuster video game of this scale.
It’s the gorgeous production stills however that will keep you coming back: large double-page prints of sea battles and jungle landscapes that could sit proudly above the mantelpiece. Even if you’ve disdained gaming in the past, you’ll find something to admire in the undeniable visual talent at work here.
So if you adore Assassin's Creed, this book serves as a fantastic collectable. It looks and feels like an art book should, and whilst it can be sketchy on some of the fascinating details, it is still a worthwhile investment for any fan of the series.