Assassin's Creed Infographics writer Guillaume Delalande discusses the game's history in unique visual history book
The ongoing story in the Assassin's Creed series is so intricate and detailed that you might think it requires a flowchart and some graphs to follow it all. Which is kind of what you get in Assassin's Creed Infographics, a deep dive into the series through a series of visual presentations that include, well, charts and graphics.
To learn more about this informative book, we spoke to writer Guillaume Delalande about putting together the text for a visually-oriented collection of facts, history, and insight.
GameCrate: Where did the idea for this book come from?
Guillaume Delalande: Assassin's Creed Infographics is part of a collection of books published by Hachette Heroes in France . They already made Graphics books about the Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars universes. Being as rich as it could be, the universe of Assassin's Creed seemed to them as a natural fit for the collection.
GC: And how did they come to hire you to write it?
GD: They approached me. I've been covering the tech and videogame industry for French TV LCI, and now M6, for the past 15 years. Ubisoft is one of our national treasures in France, and over the years I've gained special access to them. I first published a 300-page book about series in 2012 , and a 400-page augmented version in 2013 along with the release of Black Flag. The aim was to question the real history and the events in the games, to tell the creation stories of each and every game, comics, and short movies. Sorry, it's only in French. So when Hachette decided to give Assassin's Creed the Graphics treatment, they called me.
GC: I assume that the info in Assassin's Creed Infographics covers all of the games, not just the console ones. But does it also include info from the novels, comics, the shorts, and the movie?
GD: Yes. Assassin's Creed is arguably the most transmedia franchise ever. Games, comics, European "bande-dessinées" , short and feature film, novels, apps, board games...each and every one of them being closely intertwined in a big overall story. There are guys in Montreal whose sole job is to make sure that the whole overall story is making sense, and that's an effing big job indeed.
Let's say an artifact like an Apple of Eden had several owners, each and every one of them has a story related to it. Making this into a simple graphic was challenging, but that put things into perspective.
Bunka © Ubisoft Entertainment
GC: How hard was it to make this book entertaining? Because there's people who would think that a book of charts and graphs, even one about video games, would be kind of dull.
GD: I would have to disagree on this one. You know, Napoleon used to say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Even though you can't go as deep as in a 400 pages book, each infographic tells a big story. And summing up each main characters' adventures in a two pages sketch was quite a challenge.
Lying down all the personal stories of each assassin, I had to pick from every A.C. outlet ever published. Some of them have their stories extremely fragmented and I feel like I'm giving justice back to some of them in putting all the pieces together in a nice and easy timeline.
GC: In putting the text together, did you learn anything about these games that either surprised you or made you chuckle?
GD: Well, it was not a surprise because it's what made the franchise so appealing to me, but the whole humankind history is retold through the games. And even what could seem as science fiction can be backed by facts. Works around generic memory for instance. It might not be as accurate as reliving your ancestor's past, but epigenetics is now proving that you inherited from what you ancestors lived. The expression of our genes are not so fixed as we used to think.
Bunka © Ubisoft Entertainment
GC: Obviously, in a book of infographics, the text is only half the story. In Assassin's Creed Infographics, the art was done by Bunka. Whose decision was it to have him do the art?
GD: Bunka has done the whole series of Graphics books published by Hachette in France. He's a very talented artist and his style matches perfectly with the aim of simplicity and clarity.
GC: Did Bunka or his art ever suggest anything you incorporated into the text?
GD: Not really, the A.C. universe is vast enough.
GC: Finally, if you could do a book like this for any game series, Ubisoft or otherwise, what would it be and why do you think it would both work and be one you'd like to do?
GD: For a good graphics book, you need a very complex world with interconnections between games. The world of The Legend of Zelda, with the parallel universes and multiple storylines, would greatly benefit from the infographics treatment.
Assassin's Creed Infographics is out now in hardcover.