Ubisoft Montreal built Assassin’s Creed 3’s first prototype using toy soldiers and Warhammer-style battlefields

Assassins Creed 3

Assassin’s Creed 3 was always a sure thing at Ubisoft, but its setting in the heart of the American Revolution – with its low, parkour-unfriendly buildings and dense forest – was a hard sell internally. To get the green light from the publisher’s management, a tiny pre-production team at Ubisoft’s Montreal studio built a physical prototype of the game back in 2010.

During Ubisoft Montreal’s talk at Eurogamer Expo, the developer showed footage of the miniature models, which were used to convince the French publisher of their idea’s validity. Somewhat ludicrously, it proved cheaper to build Boston and the battlefields of the American Civil War using balsa wood and glue than CG.

“Two years ago we didn’t have a team, we were just a small group of directors,” Montreal’s Alex Hutchinson and Jonathan Cooper told the crowd. “So we essentially had to sell the idea to Ubisoft, that it was a worthy story and a great place to put the Assassin’s Creed story. [We made] 3D models, and then we filmed it and talked our way through where Assassin’s fit into this.”

You can see the footage below, which begins at 6:40.