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Interviews

Anthony Del Col Interview - Assassin's Creed Transmedia: Past and Present

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Col: How does an Assassin's Creed transmedia project generally take shape? Is there one core team or several working on different aspects of the project?

 

Anthony: The team that I’ve worked with have been the people at Ubisoft Montreal, headed the smart and innovative Aymar Azaiza. They started out working with just the AC brand, overseeing publishing and other ventures, and now they oversee other video game franchises (Far Cry, etc.). They’re a great group of people there doing an incredible job shaping those universes.

Col: Hi Anthony, thank you for joining us today!  Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your work on the Assassin's Creed franchise.

 

Anthony I’m a best-selling writer of comics, podcasts, theater and television and have worked on both original stories (like Audible’s Unheard: The Story of Anna Winslow and the graphic novel Son of Hitler) as well as licensed properties (like the upcoming comic series The Death of Nancy Drew and the graphic novel Luke Cage: Everyman).

 

In the AC Universe, I was the co-writer of the Assassin’s Creed series (published by Titan Comics) that ran from 2015 – 2017 and introduced the character of Charlotte de la Cruz. It was a LOT of fun and I’m proud of the stories we created (diving back in the worlds of the Salem Witch Trials, the final days of the Inca Empire and Renaissance Italy).

 

I then followed that up with a solo writing arc of the Assassin’s Creed: Origins comic series, illustrating what happened to Aya after the game.

 

And this month finds the release of my latest AC adventure, Assassin’s Creed: Gold, an original eight-episode audio drama to be released by Audible, starring Emmy-winner Riz Ahmed.

Charlotte de la Cruz and Tom Stoddard from the Assassin's Creed comic book series by Titan Comics

Col: Charlotte De la Cruz was a hugely popular character from the series. Did you ever see any of the fan art / cosplay projects created by the community? If so, do you have a favourite?

 

Anthony: One of the greatest things I’ve experienced is when people create fan art or dress up in cosplay of characters I’ve created or co-created. I’ve been lucky that it’s happened with various characters, from Kill Shakespeare and now to Assassin’s Creed.

 

I can’t say I have a favorite piece of fan art of Charlotte but I will say I was so incredibly excited when Ubisoft produced her hoodie and I was able to snag one for my wife. It looked so cool on her!

Col: Each issue of Assassin's Creed had a variety of covers by different artists, all with their own interpretation of the characters. What was it like to work with talented artists such as Neil Edwards on the project?

 

Anthony: Titan Comics did a great job putting together an incredible stable of artists to work on the series in all respects, from covers to interior art and more. In terms of Neil, he’s a prop and did some great work on the original series. His layouts are always tight and he really brought the Salem and Ancient Peru time periods to life.

 

And on covers, we were able to some of my favorite artists to be involved, people to Sanya Anwar, Stephanie Hans and Stephen Mooney. I’m still pinching myself that we got them to create looks for the characters!

Col: Is it difficult for transmedia products set in an established video game universe to expand upon the story without breaking the canon lore of a series? How do you keep track of all that has come before?

 

Anthony: We were very fortunate in that the team at Ubisoft (at that time Aymar as well as Anouk Bachman and Susan Patrick) would always let me know what fit and what wouldn’t fit into the larger AC universe. Many people think that it’s harder when you need to fit within an established continuity but I actually find it freeing. I like to approach all stories from a weird, mathematical perspective and if I know the constraints I can figure out how to work within them. Like a puzzle.

Col: Another transmedia project that you worked on was the Assassin's Creed Origins comic-book mini-series. Had you completed the game before working on the spin-off series, and how do you think Aya/ Amunet differs from the game?

 

Anthony: I was about halfway through the game when Ubisoft and Titan came calling to work on the comic series. They were obviously fans of the earlier series but had also read some of the solo stuff I created and needed someone to come in and write quickly. I jumped at the opportunity to do so and it was a blast working on it!

Col: The series acts as a mini sequel for Aya after she leaves Egypt, and uses flashbacks to expand upon the events of Origins. How did you go about weaving Aya into historical events?

 

Anthony: Well, the game already shows her involvement in the assassination of Julius Caesar, but they wanted to me to dive deeper into it and show how she became involved. And like many of these stories, what you think you see is only partially it. As a fan of Shakespeare I was pretty knowledgeable about Caesar’s death but this allowed me to play with a few “What if” questions and look at the story from all angles.

15/2/20                            By  Colum Blackett                     Edited by Ashlea Buckley

Col: This month sees the release of Assassin's Creed: Gold, a stand-alone audio drama set in the Assassin's Creed Universe. How excited are you for the release?

 

Anthony: On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say I’m about a 9 (which means very excited). The only reason I’m not putting it at 10 is that I’m always my own worst critic and every time I listen to something I’ve written I cringe and think of all the ways I could have improved the dialogue, story points, etc.

 

Having said that, Audible was able to wrangle together an amazing cast, and they did a great job bringing this story to life. I mean, Riz Ahmed is one of my favorite actors today, and to have him play one of the lead roles (the blind Assassin Omar Khaled)? I couldn’t have asked for a better team!