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The Sartor Classics IV — The Package

This is part of a series of posts about the my Sartor Classics project. See all the posts here.

I do love me a story within a story, and that’s what I tried to create here. Alberti’s bit is only part of the larger whole.

The first level is the book itself. Any AC fan will recognize the Durer portrait of Sartor on the cover, the initial indication that there’s something afoot within. A glance at the table of contents reveals the familiar list of books.

So, it’s a collection of books from the game. Sure sure. But the foreword talks about Sofia and Ezio, and gives a brief history of the library itself. Ok, so there’s something new here.

The foreword contains the words ‘Caesar’, ‘shift’ , ‘cipher’, and ‘three’, as well as having many letters underlined. In the version I sent to Ubisoft, I highlighted the words and made a margin note to key them on to the fact that there’s a puzzle here.

The hidden message in the foreword reveals that the book is distributed by the Order to new assassins, and that the main text holds encoded text in the Alberti Cipher. Level 2 of the story.

As the reader decrypts the message, a preface reveals itself. An assassin librarian in plague-year London decides to hide a story within Ezio’s and Sofia’s books before he dies. Level 3. The original books have survived, carefully preserved by the Order.

And at last Alberti’s tale, a brief biography highlighting his experience with the Assassins.

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Ubisoft’s Transmedia Coup

The Assassin’s Creed world has the potential to be the broadest and most lasting since X-Men. We’ve got all of history to play with, and we’ve only seen a few times and places since the series started in 2007. Games for handheld, mobile, and social have fleshed out the world, as have comics, novels, and short films. It’s big.

Ubisoft gets the transmedia concept better than most. Their FB game Project Legacy is proof of that, giving the player the ability to earn some florins and level up outside of the main game.  Yes, that’s right – do some FB click-gaming to give your console character better stuff.  Bit characters from the main game received storylines of their own, complete with excellent illustrations. Most importantly, AC became an all-day affair, not just something you played on your TV.

Their most exciting transmedia moment to date is the Discover Your Legacy promo app for Facebook. This little number grabs information from your FB account – friends, birthplace, workplace, religious views – and uses them to tie your life into the AC world with a short video. Even if you’re not into the game, I recommend giving it a try to see a fine use of social data. The potential here is vast.

So, what’s next? Mining social data to create in-game content? Customized missions based on your life?

This is the direction in which our world is headed. Get ready.