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The concept art behind Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s beautiful Victorian London

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The latest Assassin’s Creed game is one of the most refreshing in years, and much of that has to do with the new setting. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate takes place in London during the Industrial Revolution, making it the most modern game in the series to date; you can get your hands on all kinds of gadgets, like a zip-line, and stroll through town riding a horse and buggy. “Nineteenth century London is a city of extreme contrasts and contradictions,” art director Thierry Dansereau explains in the new book The Art of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. “The splendor and colors of Buckingham’s gardens and the majesty of the architecture reveal opulence and pomp, the same way that workhouses and smoke-spewing factories reveal degradation and poverty.”

And you can see all of that in the game — smoking towers overwhelm the skyline, and neighborhoods range from the opulent to the downtrodden. It’s a lot of fun just climbing up buildings and enjoying the view, or walking down the streets of unfamiliar areas. You'll do everything from running across boats on the Thames to delving into seedy underground fight clubs, and almost every scene looks just like a postcard. “Our main visual guideline was to create an immersive, colorful, saturated, and contrasted world,” Dansereau says. For more on designing the look of the game, be sure to check out the book — but you can get a small sampling in the artwork below.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate concept art