When Ubisoft took a leap of faith with the original Assassin’s Creed back in 2007, video game music wasn’t as widely consumed or celebrated than it is today. Ever since the first melodic bleeps to emit from primitive arcade cabinets and home computers there has been a fascination with video game music but not to the point where it could fill out venues.
The thought of sitting down in front of a proper orchestra to listen to your favourite gaming soundtracks may be a strange notion to wrap your head around though live performances of this kind are becoming increasingly popular. The latest franchise to take its music on the road is Assassin’s Creed – a series that has attracted many of the industry’s finest musical talents including Jesper Kyd, Austin Wintory, and Sarah Schachner.
Legendary composer Hans Zimmer has even had a hand in the series, having helped produce the Revelations OST.
Needless to say, there’s a wealth of music there to lose yourself in and that’s just what we did when we were lucky enough to attend the Assassin’s Creed Symphony world premiere in Paris.
Song selection is a key part to any orchestra, cherry-picking from the expansive catalogue of such a colossal media property. The way Ubisoft and its 80-piece orchestra did this was somewhat refreshing, as was the way the performance followed a distinct chronology.
From the first Assassin’s Creed right through to last year’s Odyssey, we were treated to several tracks from each major instalment in the franchise. This also included two of the lesser talked about games, these being Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Assassin’s Creed Rogue.
There’s an incredible amount of diversity packed in there. Fans are transported from the besieged Holy Land during the Third Crusade, to renaissance Italy, then colonial America, the Caribbean, the French Revolution, and Victorian London, as well as Ancient Egypt and Greece. Each era has its own motifs as instruments are cycled out, reflecting the many different cultures and characters that make up the Assassin’s Creed universe.
As the talented musicians played, the crowd was also treated to a video companion, splicing together a montage of key moments from each of the games.
This isn’t a comprehensive story recap, however. Don’t expect some of the clips to make sense if you’ve missed some past instalments or haven’t played them for a while. Still, it helps embed the music being played, adding some extra context to certain Assassin’s Creed set pieces.
Assassin’s Creed is still fairly young when compared to Final Fantasy or Nintendo’s vast catalogue of games though the size and fervour of its fanbase should never be underestimated.
For them, this is an unmissable event – a celebration of a modern gaming franchise that continues to capture hearts not only through their vast worlds and iconic characters but their incredible music too.
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