The cat is out of the bag now. Ubisoft has announced the next instalment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be Viking-themed and is set to be released worldwide this holiday season. But this wasn’t just your run of the mill press release. In the countdown to the official unveiling, Ubisoft partnered with Aussie artist BossLogic to create an exclusive digital artwork that was revealed over an eight-hour livestream. Fans tuned in to see BossLogic create the intricate piece, which slowly, over time revealed the game’s setting and time period, along with the main character’s design.
For BossLogic, the digital artist who boasts over 2 million followers on social media and a resume that includes partnerships with Marvel, working on the latest instalment of Assassin’s Creed was a dream come true.
“I’ve been a fan of Assassins Creed since the very start. My artwork has been heavily influenced by Assassins Creed. As soon as they (Ubisoft) mentioned the title of the game, I knew I had to sign and had to be a part of the project,” he tells Man of Many. “My favourite game is Origins because I’ve always been big into mythology. This new Vikings theme takes that mythology even further, it all feeds into it.”
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, players will live the saga of Eivor, a fierce Viking raider raised on tales of battle and glory. As Eivor, players will be able to choose to be male or female and must forge a new path for their clan as they are driven from Norway. Players will experience an epic journey through the Dark Ages in what Ubisoft is calling the “most realistic Viking experience to date”.
“From our perspective, we really wanted to find out Ubisoft’s direction and where they wanted to take the game,” BossLogic says. “Being that it is Viking-themed worked out so well for me because I’d just started watching Vikings. It really inspired me to pursue this further, but it’s been hard. It’s always a challenge to introduce a new element or theme into an already-loved franchise. How do you make sure the existing fans are happy with the new direction while staying true to the origins?”
Fans watched on through the livestream as BossLogic and his New York-based team put the pieces together on the incredible artwork, gaining a rare look at the whole design process. “You’re able to see us working from scratch, so people were able to jump on the ride with us as we went,” he says.
It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point. Starting out making flyers and banners on MySpace, BossLogic has risen to become one of the internet’s biggest digital forces. “I enjoyed the job and because of that passion, I just kept trying to get better,” he says. It’s an area where too many artists fall down, BossLogic explains “If you’re into art or you dabble in fanart like me, keep on the process and on the grind. People always ask me ‘how does it feel to get to this point?’ and it feels amazing, but the thing is, you can get there too. All these young artists, they quit or they put it on the back-burner. Don’t.”
Working with his own Lineage Studios, the Ubisoft partnership prompted BossLogic to take a look into what makes the Assassin’s Creed series so successful. With over 140 million copies sold worldwide, the gaming franchise has become one of the biggest of all time, putting the pressure on to get it right. “The main thing we were drawn to through the development process was duality,” he says. “Heroes often have to step into the dark side to get the job done. It’s a good example of how opposite sides of the same coin can lead to the same outcome, good or bad. The whole theme that Assassin’s Creed is built on is duality. We see the hero do evil shit so he can get the job done. We really tried to depict that in the artwork. You can see in the photo he is heavily burdened, there is a balance between cold tones and warm tones, the elements of good and evil are always visible.”
It’s a sentiment Ubisoft echoes. The new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been years in the making and the BossLogic partnership was the ideal way to kickstart the release. “We can’t wait for players to experience the incredible Viking journey ahead of them,” said Ashraf Ismail, creative director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. “Being in Eivor’s boots as both a Viking raider and a clan leader will help players understand the conflicts Vikings endured as they tried to establish a new home while in the midst of a power struggle for control of England.”
The new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is available for pre-order now and will be offered on Xbox One X, PlayStation4, Google Stadia, Windows PC and UPLAY+, Ubisoft’s subscription service. The game will be released on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 upon their launch.
As for BossLogic, the Australian artist-turned global star, the future is looking bright. While coy, he admits the next projects are already underway. “There’s a lot of crazy things going on. I can’t say too much, but one is Marvel-based, one is Warner Brothers-based and one if Sony-based. If you follow our industry, you might be able to figure them out.”