Assassin's Creed Horses Were Actually Twisted Human Skeletons, Dev Reveals

Assassin's steed.

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Like most sandbox games, 2007's Assassin's Creed gave you access to a horse that could help you get around the map more quickly. What you might not have known, though, is that Altair's steed was in fact a human skeleton that Ubisoft's engineers had stretched out and transformed into a horse due to the developer's tools only supporting bipedal characters.

"The horse in AC1 was just a twisted f***ed-up human skeleton because our tool chain only worked with biped in 3ds max," former Ubisoft developer Charles Randall tweeted. "Cheers to the amazing animators and riggers that managed to make that guy look like a horse!"

Your developers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
Your developers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Randall also shared a few other non-nightmare fuel stories from the development of Assassin's Creed. For the character of Malik, who only had one arm, Ubisoft didn't have the budget for a custom skeleton so the solution was to turn his extra limb inside out and push it up into his abdomen. "I assume if you could get the camera to clip into him you'd see a tiny little scrunched-up arm inside the bicep," Randall tweeted.

If you ever found yourself dying unexpectedly because you went out of bounds in Assassin's Creed, you can also blame Randall for that as his solution at the time was to simply kill the player if they got too close to a boundary wall. "Up until that point I always said 'If all else fails, kill the player,'" Randall explained. "Was super happy to finally get to put it into practice."

Game developer Twitter is currently full of other stories from people sharing secrets of how games were made after a tweet about invisible squirrels being used as in-game timers in Titan Quest went viral. Though Assassin's Creed likely isn't using mutilated digital skeletons in current titles, you can expect to see what's next for the franchise in September.

Ubisoft will reveal "the future of Assassin's Creed" in an event that also celebrates the 15th anniversary of the series. As for what could be shown, it could be the ambitious Assassin's Creed Infinity (codename) project or the rumored smaller-scale Assassin's Creed title that focuses on Valhalla character Basim.

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