Assassin's Creed Syndicate was praised by both Chris and Redmond, who reviewed the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, respectively. Among the highlights cited by both were the focused gameplay and the two lead characters, Evie and Jacob Frye. Although Evie isn't the first female lead in an Assassin's Creed game (that honor goes to Aveline de Grandpré in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation on the PS Vita), she is the first to headline a mainline franchise title.
Redmond had this to say about Evie in his review of Assassin's Creed Syndicate:
Then there's Evie, who is walking proof that it's possible to craft a female lead without succumbing to the kind of base design ideas that can so easily plague other virtual women. There isn't one ounce of come-hither on Evie. She doesn't have doe eyes or D cups. She doesn't "sizzle," "smolder" or show a lot of skin. She fuses a sort of bookish cuteness with the graceful physicality that befits a master of the Assassin order.
While the look and feel of Evie can be credited to the character designers at Ubisoft Quebec, the character's personality and movement is solely the work of actress Victoria Atkin, who performed all of the motion capture and voice work for Evie in Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Whether Evie is scaling a wall or sneaking around in preparation for a kill, all of the movements are based on Atkin's performance.
With last week's release of Assassin's Creed Syndicate on the PC, we got a chance to chat with Atkin about her role as Evie and what was involved with taking on the persona of an assassin.
WorthPlaying: How did you prepare for your role in the game? Have you always had an interest in Victorian London, or did Assassin's Creed Syndicate require some background research?
Victoria Atkin: Actually, I have always had an interest in the Victorian era. I grew up reading Charles Dickens stories and watching the film Oliver Twist. In order to prepare my role as Evie fully, I did indeed have to do a thorough study of where and how she lived.
WP: Playing through the game, Evie comes across as efficient and cunning but also incredibly ruthless. At the same time, she seems to have a depth to her character that the others do not. Jacob, for example, is just a straightforward fighter. How did you bring that complexity to Evie, and prevent her from being just a one note character?
VA: That is a good question. I, like Evie, like to prepare so I spent a lot of time outside of the motion capture shoot, thinking about how Evie would behave under the many different circumstances she encounters. My main goal was to create a truthful human being who lived as an Assassin in that time. I loved exploring how as ruthless as she is, she became torn when in a room with Henry.
WP: If you had to sum up Evie in a few words, how would you describe her? An action hero? A rebel?
VA: Someone you wouldn't want to have as an enemy.
WP: Voice acting is a bit different than performing in film or on a stage. When recording lines for Assassin's Creed Syndicate, were you by yourself in a booth the entire time, or did you record alongside Paul Amos when the story called for Evie and Jacob to be conversing with one another?
VA: Paul and I performed the entire motion capture for the shoot. So every body and facial movement is also my work. For a number of months, we were on the motion capture stage shooting the game six days a week. It was really for game play dialogue and effort sounds that I went in the VO booth. So Paul and I were together a lot!
WP: Do you have a preference for voice acting versus film or stage? Do you think that one form offers more flexibility than another? Or are they all variations on the same theme?
VA: I loved performing the motion capture for Evie. It was the ideal blend of TV, film and theatre.
WP: In addition to the voice acting, you also did motion capture for Evie. Did you come into the role as a fighting expert, or was this your first experience with the martial arts? Did you do the motion capture while sparring with someone, or was it more of a mundane “Do move X, then do move Y” in a vacuum sort of thing?
VA: It was very similar to television and theatre, which gave us quite a good amount of free rein in the space. For very specific movements within the gameplay, we were given strict instructions, but for the most part, the directors were open to our interpretations of how Evie and Jacob would move in the space, and they encouraged it. There was an amazing stunt woman for all the really hard fighting parts. She was awesome to watch and learn from.
WP: Along those same lines, what was your experience with parkour before the motion capture sessions? Did they have you running through an obstacle course while doing the parkour motion capture?
VA: I wish! I haven't got to parkour much. I suppose I just had the energy and went for it. Who doesn't like an obstacle course? Perhaps a parkour group will show me the ropes in the future?
WP: What about playing video games? Did you play any of the previous Assassin's Creed games before taking the role of Evie? Do you consider yourself a gamer? Any favorite titles, new or old?
WP: You recently released your first novel, London Love, earlier this year. What inspired your passion for writing? Do you plan to keep writing novels? Or would you like to try your hand at script writing?
VA: I would love to make my novel into a movie. I guess writing is something I have always enjoyed from a young age. I believe all good stories should be on paper, so they can be preserved forever. I will be writing another novel. However, at present I have just completed narrating the audiobook of London Love, which will be released at Christmas.
WP: Can you give us some details on your next project, The Downside of Bliss, which is set for release next year?
VA: I can't say too much on this just yet. I am also in a new physiological thriller feature film called Haunted due out in 2016. My character Beatrice is very Virginia Wolfe like, which was great to play. It was also filmed in NYC, which was a fun place to shoot.
WP: Anything we didn't ask that you would like to add?
VA: Just a HUGE thank you to all the AC Fans that continue to send me so much Evie love on social media. I don't get the time to reply to everyone, but I see all their messages and I am humbly grateful for the continuous support with all my work.
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