Book Review–Assassin’s Creed: Into the Animus looks at a unique path from game to film


Fans and filmgoers may not realize the theatrical adaptation of the popular Ubisoft video game Assassin’s Creed is really unlike any other past movie based on a video game.  Never before has a brand owner, here Ubisoft, taken such a hands-on approach to making a film adaptation.  That comes through in Ian Nathan’s new look at the film and its unique production process, Assassin’s Creed: Into the Animus.

Ubisoft has been involved in not only several iterations of the game but continuations found in comic books and graphic novels, as well as behind the scenes concept art books for the various versions of the game.  Pride in the brand and maintaining the integrity of the story for gamers was taken into account from the inception of the film as concept.  From casting Michael Fassbender as the film’s lead to Fassbender’s role as a producer and personally delving in to understand the mechanics of the world of the gameplay and what that meant for his two parallel characters–Aguilar in the past and Callum in the modern age–loyalty to the game was always a priority, as recounted by the crew interviewed by Ian Nathan for this book.


For those who haven’t seen the film, the plot follows two protagonists in a world of Assassins and Templars, men separated by centuries of history yet linked by their DNA, necessitating the re-creation of a historically accurate fifteenth-century Spain and a technologically advanced present day world.  Assassin’s Creed: Into the Animus is an introduction to the complex world of the games, a look at the elaborate sets and exotic filming locations, an understanding of the choreography of the parkour scenes the film is known for, and maintaining the trademark look of the franchise, including Aguilar’s famous assassin’s hood.

The average moviegoer may have missed all of the “Easter eggs” included in Assassin’s Creed.  Director Justin Kurzel and his crew incorporated objects that not only served the story of the film, but objects that have great meaning in all the past iterations of Assassin’s Creed.  So the home edition of the film will be a treasure hunt of sorts for fans wanting to examine frame-by-frame the wall décor, tabletop objects, and other set decorations.  The book itself includes tipped-in bonus features that will give readers hands-on replicas of paper ephemera from the film.  It also includes a foreword by Gerard Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO.


We at have reviewed dozens of concept art books for films and they vary greatly in organization and content.  Insight Editions is one of the leading publishers in book design as is reflected in Assassin’s Creed: Into the Animus with thick pages, high quality inks and attractive design.  Unlike many of the “behind the scenes” non-fiction books about films that focus more on the concept sketches and include few photographs, in the case of this work the opposite is true.  This hardcover book includes hundreds of photographs so, for example, if a cosplayer wants to replicate costumes and props from the movie, this book will be a valuable tool.  The work of costume designer Sammy Sheldon (Ant-Man, The Imitation Game) fills out multiple pages, which fans will appreciate.  Plus readers will find gems like propmaker Tim Wildgoose discussing the elaborate daggers and totems that are key to the film. 

Here are some preview pages from the book:

assassins-creed-into-the-animus-3 assassins-creed-into-the-animus-6 assassins-creed-into-the-animus-5 the-art-and-making-of-assassins-creed-2

A look at a unique filmmaking event and a must for fans of the franchise and the film, Assassin’s Creed: Into the Animus is available now here from Amazon.

C.J. Bunce

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