Bec Stafford

Bec Stafford has a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Queensland. She blogs and interviews for the Escape Club and The Spotlight Report

ac-complete-historyAssassin’s Creed: The Complete Visual History is quite simply one of the most visually stunning books I’ve ever held in my hands. Penned by gaming journo, Matthew Miller, this sumptuous hardback runs to a whopping 320 pages, most of which are filled with extraordinary artwork that you will want to revisit repeatedly. The franchise’s brand art director, Raphael Lacoste, has provided a short foreword in which he informs us that ‘Assassin’s Creed is about reimagining and reliving history, and with every instalment we aim to create plausible worlds and credible immersion for our fans.’ Fans of the game will already be familiar with just what an escapist’s wonderland Assassin’s Creed is, but this beautifully bound hardback takes the reader through the entire history of the game: its conception, development, characters, timelines, and historical inspirations.

Even before you open this mammoth hardback, the cover is likely to hold you transfixed for several moments with its embossing and arresting image of Ezio, head bowed, blades drawn – stark and dramatic against a pure white background. The comprehensive and jaw droppingly gorgeous concept art within is an absolute delight.

Many of the images have won design awards and make for fantastic posters or prints. The book also contains illuminating interviews with Ubisoft developers and artists who describe the complex planning and evolution behind the outrageously successful franchise. Every detail appears to be underpinned by an underlying philosophy that adds depth and dimension to this impressive artistic vision. Everything, from the logos and costume design through to the background rendering and architectural detail, has been thought through with the aim of preserving iconic design elements and intelligently enhancing the player’s immersion in the Assassin’s Creed universe.

 Assassins-Creed-The-Complete-Visual-History-03It has to be said that you don’t even have to be a gamer to appreciate the beauty of this Insight Editions publication. Designers, artists, history buffs, and anyone who simply appreciates beautiful illustration and art will become equally lost in this incredible world. The book is divided into 11 sections, the initial 9 being devoted to the various historical periods represented in the game, kicking off with the Middle Ages and working through the Renaissance, American Revolution and so forth, right through to the shorter Chronicles games, set in China, India, and Russia, and finally offering insight into the mysterious World Before. Following these info-packed, yet easy-to-read sections, we are presented with a chapter dedicated to the products and spin-offs inspired by the game, including cartoons, novels (and graphic novels), short films, and collectibles.

The background and genesis of each of the franchise’s assassins are explained in satisfying but never overwhelming detail, along with those of a number of secondary characters and adversaries/ Templars. It’s also fascinating to read about which historical characters were chosen to best serve the storyline and reflect each time period (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolo Machiavelli, Paul Revere, and Ben Franklin). The planning behind each of the cities or settings throughout the franchise is also discussed and it has to be said that these reimagined historical places are every bit as fascinating and complex as the characters who inhabit them. Designers discuss having to narrow landmarks down, for example, in order to best represent an area (such as Paris) or having to deliberately add scaffolding to structures in order for characters to scale them. Elsewhere, details such as the shift from day to night throughout a game are described as being key features of the game’s realism. Each individual element has been cleverly engineered to spark our imagination in order that we may, as Lacoste states, ‘travel in time in order to discover epic locations and witness some of the world’s most pivotal moments in history.’

If you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas this year, this release is highly recommended for fans of the game or anyone who appreciates an astonishingly beautiful coffee table art book.

Assassin’s Creed: The Complete Visual History – Matthew Miller

Insight Editions

320 Pages, hardback

Published 30th October, 2015

  • ISBN10 1608876004
  • ISBN13 9781608876006


Hi everyone! As part of MDWeb’s mission to support great emerging Australia creative talent, here is an interview conducted by Cels Jansink with up and coming Aussie game developer Garth Pendergrast from Stirfire Studios.

CJ: Hi Garth, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us about your new exciting venture, Stirfire Studios. Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind Stirfire Studios and what has led you into this field?

GP:  Stirfire Studios was born out of a need to give a platform for talented, independent game production in Perth and Australia.  There’s a lot of talent in this country that gets ignored because simply they don’t have the voice that a larger company can provide.  Our other aim is to give resources to game developers that might have a great idea, but cannot execute it as they lack the financial or skills base required.

CJ: The first game you have coming out is Orbeats. So just what is Orbeats about?

GP: Orbeats was developed by the supreme-beat-guru, Jason Wong.  It’s a music-rhythm game based on making you excited to use a touch-screen device and with a retro feel to it.

CJ: So what kind of “Rhythms” can we expect to pop up during the game? Are they tunes we will recognise or brand new music developed for the game?

GP:  You’ll see some of our own in-house tunes, but we are working on bringing you recognisable artists that you’re likely to see at music festivals or performing at your favourite venue.  We are currently in talks with several major acts and we love our independent artists as well.

CJ: Are there any plans to develop it onto Android systems for those that don’t have an iPhone?

GP:  Sure are.  We would love to migrate it to Android and WP7, but we need to have some success on Apple iOS first to make this a reality.

CJ: Games designed for smart phones certainly seem to be a booming business. Not only are some games becoming water cooler conversations and totally addictive, but some like Angry Birds even have a merchandise range. Is this something you’re aiming for?

GP:  Yes, we can’t wait to see the T-shirts!  We have created a culture with Orbeats as much as a game.  As we aim to grow the game and add sequels, we will be aiming for it to become its own ecosystem of titles.  Unlike Angry Birds, the game itself grows via downloadable content, but we can’t wait to hit with our own take of music genres or artists.  This really gives us a chance to play with the art and feel of the game.

CJ: You’re based in Perth and it’s fantastic to see another Aussie enter the industry. Do you think it’s harder for non-American based companies to gain notice?

GP:  Not at all.  This is a global industry and you find hotspots all over.  Eve Online comes out of Iceland and Korea is the Starcraft capital of the universe, which proves anyone, anywhere can make it successful, provided you have something that is just a little cooler than normal.

CJ: Can you give us a little sneak peek at what else you have coming up?

GP:  Hahaha!  We will be dipping into a little bit of post-apocalyptic weirdness and also into some post-punk-feminist-burlesque action soon.  We are very much looking at the social network space as our next platforms to focus on.

CJ: And I guess the most important question. When and how can we get our hands on Orbeats?

GP:  We aim to have it on the iTunes Appstore in October.  Look out for updates on game, or @orbeatsgame on Twitter

CJ: Well it certainly sounds like something new and no doubt a lot of addictive fun!. Thanks so much for stopping by Garth, and all the best with Orbeats release.


You can see Garth interviewed below (begins at 3min 13 secs).


And below is the newly released game trailer:



davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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