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The Art of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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"Ubisoft has definitely set the bar high for artistic design in their games and Titan Books should be the standard that any game related artbook strives towards, both in quality and price." - Game Skinny
"Stunning and beautiful" - Atomic Moo
"For those on the fence about the book itself, I’ll give you the two scenarios that will net you the book 1) you are an avid video game art book aficionado who collects these for the love of the art, or 2) someone who really likes the game and wants to see the color commentary of the art and effort put in to creating the stunning images that keep the gamer enthralled in the game." - Urban Vinyl Daily
"Gamers who follow the Assassin’s Creed franchise will find this massive art book breathtaking. With literally hundreds of illustrations that depict Edward Kenway’s evolution from pirate to assassin, this book is a visual feast that will intrigue and mesmerize anyone who has ever played the game." - Barnes and Noble Book Blog
"Clocking in at 192 pages, The Art of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a visual record of the game's most captivating characters and locales. It's arguably the best art book in the series too" - Destructoid
"If you love the game and the art involved then I absolutely recommend picking up this book." - Diehard GameFAN
"AC4‘s book delivers on every level when it comes to art books. There’s really no comparison, the book is so intoxicating you’ll want to reread the damn thing." - Adventures in Poor Taste
"As a point of fact, there is absolutely nothing about this book that isn’t incredible. Titan has nailed down the physical construction of the book, delivering high quality binding and beautiful color saturation wrapped in a protective jacket around a solid binding. The material is equally substantive, showing off the collective work of hundreds of man hours from a team that is clearly passionate about their work. If you are a fan of Assassin’s Creed or just an aficionado of incredible artwork from The Golden Age of Pirates, you cannot go wrong with this book." - Gaming Trend
"With current generation games hitting their heights and next generation titles launching, there are a slew of art books detailing some of the year's biggest releases." - Yahoo Games
"Fans of Assassin’s Creed and pirate collectors will definitely want to pick up this beautifully collected art book." - Retrenders
"If you are a fan, you want this." - Next Power Up
"Gorgeous hard-cover" - Destructoid
"Highly recommended for rabid fans" - Project Fandom
"...a detail walk through of the design choices and concept art that went into the look and feel of the game...really fascinating..." - Twin Geeks
“Absolutely stunning... a great addition to your gaming memorabilia or to gain deeper insight into the development of the Black Flag itself.” - This is Xbox
"The book gives a good view of what it takes to create a truly beautiful world that the game takes place in...artwork...is very impressive." - Pissed Off Geek
"Frankly, whether you are a fan of the game or not, it is gorgeous." - SFF World
"There’s a feeling of bonding between yourself, the book, and the game that keeps you engaged and eager to read on." - Gaming Bolt
"If you love pirates, shipwrecks, gorgeous art, and Assassin’s Creed, be sure to snag this one!" - Nerdy But Flirty
"For enthusiasts of the Assassin’s Creed series, or for anyone that appreciates an insider glimpse of what goes into creating the aesthetic trappings of a big budget game, The Art of Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a jewel just waiting to be unearthed." - Delta Attack
"With all the commentary and high quality art to look at, it’s definitely worth the money for anyone that’s a fan of the series." - Critiques 4 Geeks
"In a year of good art books, this stands out as one of the must-haves." - Video Game Writers
"I think it is the most beautiful and fully packed art book I have read.” - Giant Bomb
"This is quite possibly the best Assassin's Creed artbook so far. It's a terrific video game artbook....Highly recommended to those who like concept art and fans of the game." - Parka
"A gorgeous companion to a gorgeous game." - Only SP
"Ubisoft’s vision of ‘The Golden Age of Piracy’ spills out over 192 pages of detailed character and costume designs, epic sea battles, majestic shipwrecks and painterly sea vistas beautifully representing the more than 50 unique locations" - VG Blogger
"If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series or are a fan of art and concept art, be sure to check out this book" - Nerd Reactor
About the Author
Paul Davies has worked in gaming journalism for twenty years, writing and editing magazines and websites including Official Nintendo and Computer & Video Games. He is the co-founder and director of media agency Unlikely Hero Ltd. whose clients include Yahoo! UK and Microsoft.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a big 192-page hardcover published by Titan Books with most of the artworks are printed big to the page edges.
Many concept paintings featured are actually collage of photographs and art. Look closely and you'll see photos erased and digitally manipulated to form the shape and composition required.
You might that that the photo and art collage style is cheating. The thing is, they look amazing. As concept paintings, they capture the mood and atmosphere really well. This is in part because the colour values are captured correctly, resulting in a convincing environment. The photo and art collage style when not well done, even by a bit, can result in a fake look. Well, all the paintings in this book look great to me. The end result looks more like art than photos.
A nice improvement over the previous artbook The Art of Assassin's Creed III is that details are no longer hidden in shadows. Even when they are hidden, they are done so suggestively, with details fading to vague masterfully.
Character designs are mainly of the pirates, and of course of the main character Edward Kenway. Costume designs are really detailed. Who knew 18th century pirates can be so fashionable. Artist Patrick Lambert's rough paintings look expressive and just great.
There are lots of environment art. Many of the environment art pieces are inspired by location visits.
The design team visited Spanish city Havana in order to create the Havana in the game, a beautiful coastal town that is described by Spanish colonist at "Key to the New World" at that time. It's lively, full of people, activities. There are not just beautiful town houses, but also the poorer middle class people with tattered roofs. The other places are Kingston, a city in Jamaica, or as pirates claim the "Wickedest City on Earth". There's also Nassau, city of Bahamas. For Nassau, there's also a concept art inspired directly by the Queen's Staircase.
Other locations included are the fortified shipwreck, fishing villages built on stilts, tropical hideouts, Mayan temples, mangroves and coves, jungles, campfire night scenes and more. Every location has several paintings to convey the idea of the whole place. There's even a whole city designed, Port au Prince, that was cut from the game. At least the art remains in the book.
Designs for the pirate ships are detailed, interiors inclusive. There are several ships, namely Jackdaw, Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge, Black Bart's The Royal Fortune, Benjamin Hornigold's The Benjamin, The Governor, The Ranger, Calico Jack, Spanish Man of War and other ships from the British Navy. Yes, lots of ship. And there are also many paintings with pirates working on the deck, big ships, small boats, on fire or blown to bits.
There are also scenes from underwater, with submerged shipwrecks, and also sharks with eyes that say "We want to eat you".
Ubisoft art team has truly put together some amazing art, and well compiled by author Paul Davies.
Highly recommended to those who like concept art and fans of the game.
(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
For anyone in the same boat and worried that this book might contain spoilers for the game, I can tell you it really doesn't spoil anything at all, at least from what I can tell. You get a look at different locations, characters, and some ships, but it doesn't give away any major plot points or twists from the images/descriptions presented within its pages. So feel free and safe to browse and skim and read cover to cover without fear of ruining your eventual gaming experience.
As for the book itself, it's hardcover with a nice dust jacket that has embossed lettering. The inside panels of the front and back panels is lined with what I assume is a map of the game's worlds/islands. The pages are sorta thick and of nice quality. Nothing feels cheap here. The book covers sections of different locations, characters, some weapons, and ships among other things. Most illustrations are nice and bright (fitting with the tropical theme I guess) and are usually pretty big, covering at least half the page most of the time. I will say though I was expecting there to be more computer/3D renderings of weapons, characters, etc, but most of the art (in fact, maybe ALL of it) is the brush/paint style (which I'm sure was still done via computer). So anyone expecting clear cut images of people and ships and stuff, you may be somewhat disappointed. But for those who enjoy the particular painting style and are moreso just looking to get a good understanding of the colors/atmosphere of this game, you should be pretty happy with this.
I like pirates, and buried treasure, and the ocean and all that, so I find the art in this book to be very beautiful. It may not be the best video game art book I've ran across, but it manages to show how the themes and moods of the upcoming game came to be, and that's good enough for me. It's a nice addition to my collection, which I'll enjoy looking over time and time again.