There have been art exhibitions hosted by game publishing company Ubisoft Singapore before, but the latest edition curated and designed by WY-TO, is the best one yet.
"The Art Behind the Game - The Ubisoft Experience" held at the National Design Centre, focuses on the Assassin's Creed franchise, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. One of the biggest selling game franchises of all time, Assassin's Creed offers its fans opportunities to take the "leap of faith" and fight for freedom.
The exhibition is held in partnership with DesignSingapore Council, as part of VOILAH! French Festival 2017. This year's VOILAH! festival's theme is about imagination and innovation, and the eye-catching Ubisoft event encapsulates these ideas perfectly.
Red Dot Diva attended a media preview of the exhibition earlier this week, and here are what you can expect at the event.
For starters, one simply cannot miss the biceptous, life-sized Connor Kenway statue standing guard at the entrance of the exhibition. Red Dot Diva is pretty sure he loves the attention so feel free to take many selfies with him.
There are 3 different parts for the exhibition: the history of Ubisoft, a showcase of the other memorable games produced by the company like "Prince of Persia", and finally, a tribute to Assassin's Creed, with displays of various behind the scenes aspects of the franchise.
Ubisoft Singapore has been involved with the franchise since "Assassin's Creed II". As the local team built up its resources and experience in the following years, the company became heavily involved with the "water technology" and ocean-based gameplay of "Assassin's Creed: Black Flag". So, naturally, a large part of the exhibition was related to this game title.
It is best to begin at the far right of the exhibition space where the Environment Design section is found. Here, one can view the research sketches of actual locations by the artists, and then examples of how these visual ideas were depicted in the form of paintings to be used for the game production later on.
The Story Boarding section comes next. There are a series of sketches showing actions and a sequence of events to help pre-visualize ideas for the game's storylines. There will also be a video montage of the story board images side by side with actual gameplay so that visitors can see how ideas have been translated to the final product.
In the Urban Environment Cities and Natural Environments segments, there are actual photos of the team at key locations as well as sketches and concept artwork relating to the architecture and scenes, like coastal beaches.
Gorgeous artwork of landscapes can be found here, as well as sketches by Associate Art Director of Ubisoft, Kobe Sek. According to Head of Communications Sylviane Bahr, Kobe draws many of such quick sketches while he is commuting to and from work on the MRT.
At this juncture, folks can either choose to wander further one to the Naval Design section or turn right again to check out the Fashion / Character Design huddle.
Red Dot Diva has a thing for the Character Design section as there are many portraits of pirates, including one awesome one of Blackbeard. Bad bad pirates are so darn sexy. :D
The Sound Booth that is next to the Fashion/ Character Design area is also very interesting, with lyrics of songs painted all around. Visitors will be able to listen to the many sea shantys featured in the games and watch a video of the foley artists finding ways to create and record sounds that would be used for the game. For instance, splashes during fights held in water, steamboats, anchor chains or whale sounds.
Here's a sneak peek of the fascinating video:
The sound work for Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Syndicate were done in Singapore, and Ms. Bahr mentioned that oftentimes, staff members were called in to record as part of crowd voices, depending on what kind of accent was needed.
The spacious Naval Design section wraps up the tail end of the Assassin's Creed section, and if you have a thing for ships and vessels, this is the area you should go for.
There is a visual map of different types of ships depicting their scale in relation to each other as well as the size of a human being. The same was done with marine life, like whales and sharks.
Apparently, the first version of the shark looked "too nice" (chibi shark? hahaha) so the artists added more blood and muscle to it. And then, hunky shredded sharky seemed to bulky so they sharpened its fins for speed. Voilah, mega killer shark for the game!
Intricate drawings and plans were also done for the interior of ships! The design were done in Singapore, with the artists working with historians so that the vessels will look as authentic as possible.
Visualizations of sea battles were also painted. These four paintings were done by artists based in Singapore and Montreal, and yet they looked amazingly similar.
In niches here and there around the booths, Assassin's Creed fans have a thrill recognizing original game cases and detailed sculpted figurines like these two:
The exhibition wraps off with a cubicle about the Ubisoft family, and the Singapore teams contributed to the space by adding photos, doodles, humourous notes and several office in-jokes. "We are serious about fun," Sylvaine Bahr chuckled.
Red Dot Diva does not play video games at all, but she still enjoyed the exhibition tremendously because she appreciates the creativity and hard work that goes into productions like these. The flow of the exhibit feels organic and does its job grabbing one's attention visually at every turn.
If you already enjoy Ubisoft's game titles, especially Assassin's Creed, then you should not miss checking out this exhibition! There are many beautiful masterpieces to gawk at and a few interesting multimedia activities to enjoy, so one could geek out for a good hour or so, and it's all FREE!
In addition, those who aspire to learn more about game production and sign up for 2 Ubisoft workshops held in May. Click here to sign up!
“The Art Behind the Game - The Ubisoft Experience" Exhibition
Where: National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road
When: 19 April to 25 May, 2017
Time: 9 AM to 9 PM