Assassin’s Creed is a staple in the world of gaming. The brand is one of the biggest and most popular across the industry. Ubisoft is expanding the series’ reach with the upcoming theater release of Assassin’s Creed.
The film will star Michael Fassbender, who plays Callum Lynch in the present day, and Aguilar during the Spanish Inquisition. Other familiar faces are Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard and Brendan Gleeson. Video games that are turned into movies can struggle at times, however, Assassin’s Creed looks like it’ll be the first film to break that trend.
Assassin’s Creed will debut in theaters this coming Wed., Dec. 21. In order to get ready for the film’s launch, We Write Things had the opportunity to catch up with Aymar Azaizia. He serves as Assassin’s Creed director of brand content and had quite a lot of intriguing thoughts about the film and the series’ past.
The present day storyline is a very intriguing one for Assassin’s Creed. Gamers have played as Desmond Miles, a member of Abstergo in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and an Assassin Initiate in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. It is a subject with quite the past and Azaizia spoke about how the games’ present day history has influenced the present day we’ll see in the film.
“The whole movie is set in our universe, so it is inspired by our games, comics, novels, etc. Elements like the technologies we created, such as the Animus machine, allows a user to explorer their Ancestor’s memories, by re living their lives, and that is the core of our fantasy are featured and play a central role in the movie.
“But also narrative elements, such as Abstergo the company that Templars use as a front for their operations, and of course the struggle between Assassins and Templars, two secret societies that has been fighting in the shadow since the dawn of ages. The movie is consistent with the whole franchise, including the game of course!” Azaizia said.
Present day is very important to the series and it will be for the film as well. Desmond Miles is the most recognizable figure from the game’s present day world. His time in the game spanned from the very first Assassin’s Creed all the way through Assassin’s Creed III. That time spans a total of five games.
Desmond is a key character in Assassin’s Creed and he will soon be joined by a newcomer. Callum Lynch is the present day character Michael Fassbender plays. Everything we’ve seen from the film suggests it will showcase the best present day iteration yet. Azaizia spoke about how Lynch and Miles compare and contrast.
“This is a very good question! Callum and Desmond shared a lot of similarities, because of the way they were both designed from a narrative standpoint. The idea was that both would act as a way to educate the audience about our universe. Through the eye of Desmond/Callum the player/spectator, will get exposed to the concept of the Animus, and then the struggle between the Assassin’s Brotherhood and the Templar Order. In that sense, we use them at first with the same objective in mind. They will both be exposed to their ancestors, and will be affected by their pasts.
“Those are the main similarities, but in the end Callum is a very different character, much darker and deeply broken, where Desmond was just enjoying a simple life when he was abducted by Abstergo. Callum starts the movie in death row, and is a bit of a lost soul that will find a greater to cause, a reason to live and fight for. The fact that we have an amazing actor bringing him to life adds a lot of depth to him, that is a given,” Azaizia said.
Aguilar is Assassin’s Creed‘s newest hero and he shares some traits with heroes from the series’ past game iterations. Azaizia said Aguilar “is driven, he fights for free will, and will oppose tyranny in any form, he is a master fighter, and shows tremendous athletic abilities.” He is a reflection of the time period, that being the Spanish Inquisition. Azaizia said he could “easily” picture Altaïr or Ezio getting along with him.
Each assassin over the years has brought something different to the franchise. Aguilar will be doing the same when the new film releases this Dec. 21. Azaizia discussed some of the characteristics that separate Aguilar from every assassin we’ve seen before.
“Aguilar believes in the creed, and serves with devotion, but will probably have more difficulties than others to take radical decisions, or sacrifice others than himself to accomplish his duty. He is closer to Altaïr or even Connor than any other previous Assassins, in his warrior/monk attitude. He is passionate, but not as flamboyant or cocky as Arno or Ezio. He is interesting also in the way he contrasts with Callum and how he bring balance to the character,” Azaizia said.
Bringing a franchise like Assassin’s Creed to the big screen is no easy task. However, filmmakers have done an incredible job of doing so. Azaizia recalled the first time he was on the set of the Animus facilities and found the experience to be amazing. This film is an important milestone for the series. Fan reactions from those who have seen the film have been extremely memorable for Azaizia.
Taking the series from the video game context onto the silver screen means new opportunities for Assassin’s Creed. Of course, there are great possibilities with games, but films also add new realities that gaming simply can’t fulfill. Azaizia spoke about a byproduct of bringing the series into theaters.
“I would say making an Assassin’s Creed film provides tons of new opportunities. Using a new medium to tell our stories allows us to focus on so many different elements. And despite the enormous popularity of video games, and the crazy amount of players we have, there are still a lot of people who haven’t experienced our universe yet and the film will be a great opportunity to introduce this new audience to our world.
“You can do a lot with video games nowadays but the performance of all the talented actors, is still something very unique, and I think that it is still very hard to get close to that in a video game. A film allows the ability to craft very deep characters in a shorter amount of time and therefore create a very strong and impactful experience in only a couple of hours,” Azaizia said.
It’ll be interesting for fans of the gaming series to experience it in a different medium. They will be doing so in a considerably less amount of time than the games usually take to complete. Movies have a different way of storytelling, and the potential for something great certainly is there.
Having an effective script is part of what makes a great movie. From there, having the right director and producers add the vision that helps bring the film to life. Finally, the cast can bring amazing characters from paper to life. Azaizia described the importance of having a great script as well as a great cast.
“The script comes first because the main element you want to secure is a strong story. Then the cast comes and the script tends to evolve depending on what they are bringing in terms of performances, but also ideas, wishes, and the whole process becomes more collaborative, and the script evolves. Ultimately it is never a whole different story, but the characters could change to improve the performance,” Azaizia said.
Video game films can struggle at times to deliver a great experience. Some feel more obligated to stay true to a series and that can hamper the movie, while others stray completely away from it. Assassin’s Creed feels like it is striking the right balance, both from the present day footage we’ve seen as well as the Spanish Inquisition scenes.
This is a new start for Assassin’s Creed and gamers will be surprised by some of what they see. Azaizia believes fans will be surprised that the film is a “good movie first,” and is based on a video game second. He went onto further expound about the goal of the film.
“That has always been our objective, to focus on delivering a solid film. Because we worked closely with the studio and director, we were able to guarantee consistency with the games. It is the only way to guarantee that you are not creating a fan product with a limited appeal and too many self-references or something that veers too far away from the core promise of the source material. For us, it had to be a great creative project first and foremost, so I believe that will probably be the biggest surprise for the audience,” Azaizia said.
Assassin’s Creed will hit theaters this coming Wednesday, Dec. 21. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Assassin’s Creed.