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Artist Alex Ross has designs on ‘Assassin’s Creed III’ cover
- Updated: March 7, 2012
Fans of renowned comic book artist Alex Ross will want to pre-order Assassin’s Creed III.
His brushwork will appear on the front and back of a free collectible case for those who order the game early.
His painting for the front cover shows the assassin Connor atop a craggy, snow-covered mountaintop. Ubisoft has announced that the next installment in the action-adventure franchise will be set in the Revolutionary War between the Colonial Americans and the British.
Ross is well known for painting D.C. and Marvel characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Captain America and even having done posters for the Academy Awards. (See his art at his web site.)
In an interview with Game Hunters, Ross says that “out of the blue (Ubisoft) contacted me at the end of last year and they invited me to do the cover for the new special edition of this game. … I was well aware of the game. I think Assassin’s Creed has been a pretty large footprint in video games. You see the commercials and definitely remember them.”
What type of information about the storyline did you get to do the image?
Honestly, I asked for as much as I needed to finish a painting. I think in some ways, coming from the background of comics and superheroes and supervillains, a character like this is not very removed from what I do already. A lot of the attitude and the mood to the piece is something that fit with any number of images I have been familiar with before in comics.
I just needed to get fully immersed in what the visual was for the character and I kept asking, in the process, for more and more tighter reference of the clothing detail for the character. One of the key differences from video games to comics is they can go into an infinite amount of physical detail in describing the character’s look. What this guy is wearing has much more going on in it than the simple superhero body suit.
What did you try to imbide into your rendition of the assassin?
Well, he should be bit cold because there is snow all around him. Ultimately as this is an American Indian character in the time of the Revolutionary War setting, I see it as kind of an anarchistic type figure in the game, a rebellious figure towards the early installation of America. I find an interesting spirit to the game.
He has three weapons (tomahawk, firearm and bow). He is really loaded for bear. This is a guy with a whole lot going on there and, in the final painting there is a fair amount of blood splatter showing that he has recently conquered with the weapons he has got. With the weapons, it is more to me a matter of the detail that I had to execute in terms of what was going on with those accoutrements. A lot in comic characters I get maybe one key thing they might hold like Thor’s hammer but not necessarily the amount of stuff this guy is carrying. You know, Batman has a simple utility belt in comics, not twenty different things he is carrying that are large implements.
So did you find this pleasantly challenging to paint?
It was a greater challenge to draw the compositions of the front and back cover of this costume because of that amount of detail. Once I had put it all down in pencil, executing it as a painting came a lot easier for me to do. That’s the way my process usually works.
Have you done a front and back cover before?
I don’t think I have actually. I have played around with things before in creative ways. I’ve done turnarounds for a lot of characters for costume development and superhero characters and a lot for toy production. So this is not new territory for me in terms of that but as far as executing it as a painting and as a cover, it is a very cool twist.
Have you done a cover of a video game before?
Yes, I did a cover for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe a few years ago. It was a crossover game they did with D.C. It actually has a personal connection. I went to college who the guys who went on to create Mortal Kombat (the original creator/artist John Tobias, John Vogel and Tony Goskie). So I have a lifelong connection to people who work in the video game arts, just you know we have divergent careers.
You don’t play video games, right? Do you play games at all.
Has this project changed your mind to perhaps trying this one?
I have a fascination with the beauty of the work that is put into video games. I would love to sit and watch someone play it in front of me. You know that thing that one develops where you are using your thumbs to move the controllers.
I don’t have that. I don’t have a modern cell phone. I don’t have an iPhone. I don’t any of that facility in my hands. For me, that kind of function is so foreign. I would just rather sit back and enjoy the visuals and the work that pretty much looks like a cinematic film to my eyes.
What else can readers expect to see from you soon?
I always have new books I am involved with. I’m currently helping to relaunch the character of The Shadow. He is the oldest and original superhero character that precedes everybody you have have heard of. So his return to comics is a big deal for me. People can look for that from Dynamite Entertainment. It should be coming in another month.