Ubisoft Singapore animator Ricwan Hardjo has no experience in martial arts.
So, in order to animate the new weapon moves the Viking Eivor does in the Assassin's Creed Valhalla expansion, Siege of Paris, Hardjo turned to the one thing he knew would help: Martial arts movies.
Explaining the team's muses, Hardjo said, "We get our inspiration from many sources ranging from movies and games to stunning fighting poses in comics and illustrations."
"I would also try some of the moves myself (the amateur version, at least) in an empty space which allows me to study the body mechanics from different angles," he added.
The Assassin's Creed franchise has always been known for satisfying weapon fights, whether it was Altair, Ezio or Connor in the earlier titles, or Kassandra/Alexios in the more recent AC Odyssey.
One key thing that the animation team needed to get right was to make the weapons feel impactful, especially since some of them, such as the scythe, needed to feel forceful and heavy.
To achieve that result, some of the poses were a tad exaggerated to emphasize the action, Hardjo told Yahoo Southeast Asia.
Given how fluid and cool the moves look, it's impressive to learn that no one on the team actually practices martial arts.
However, they did consult with others in the Singapore team who had training with kendo, added Joan Hsu, the Lead Animator at Ubisoft Singapore.
Even so, sometimes the coolest moves don't always make it to the final product.
The team went through countless brainstorming sessions to figure out what could work and what wouldn't. Some moves were heavy in essence, but ended up feeling boring to look at.
"We had to find a balance - the moves had to look cool and realistic, but also had to be attractive and practical in gameplay."Ubisoft Singapore animator Ricwan Hardjo.
While it would have been great for the animation team to actually perform the motion capture themselves, most of it was performed by actors at the Ubisoft Montreal studios.
However, the Singapore team was still heavily involved, even giving directions over video conferencing to the actors. Once done, the animators then work on translating that into the game.
Not all of the movesets were done with motion capture, however. Hardjo said some of the in-game movesets used the key-frame animation process instead, which is a more traditional form of animation that uses points to mark an object's transition.
And while it is just one aspect of the game, overall, the whole process of animating the weapons did take a few months.
That said, now that the expansion has been launched, Hardjo is hoping to take a breather and head out to cycle and rock climb with his wife.
He's also hoping for COVID restrictions to ease in Singapore so he can get back to playing tabletop Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla's Siege of Paris DLC is out now.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com