Tech Assassin: Alexandre
IN THE VIDEO GAME WORLD, WE COULD SAY THAT ALEXANDRE AMANCIO IS A CELEBRITY, AS HE IS ONE OF THE SUCCESSFUL CREATORS OF THE ASSASSIN’S CREED REVELATIONS AND ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY GAMES. HE IS NOW THE CO-FOUNDER AND GENERAL MANAGER OF REFLECTOR ENTERTAINMENT, A DIVISION OF LUNE ROUGE, WHOSE FOUNDER IS NONE OTHER THAN GUY LALIBERTÉ.
—By Stéphane Le Duc
Amancio took on the huge task of assembling a versatile team in Montreal in order to create a multi-platform universe. This was the perfect challenge for such a creative mind to express his vision of this international project with outstanding intelligence and clarity.
What made you decide to create Reflector? Was there a need for it or did you see it as a challenge? It’s a little bit of both. As a creator myself, I saw that the world of entertainment was evolving – it was shifting. I had begun seeing this in my career in the video game industry, even in the way that fans were perceiving the work that we were doing. They were beginning to see it more as a universe rather than just a video game – the way that entertainment and every single medium has been decentralizing. There is a democratization of content where there’s now so many channels [that] you can’t possibly control everything unless you are one or two of the largest conglomerates. Audiences have already begun pulling content. They like searching, going from one to the other organically, and I found that no company was approaching content in that way. So, I started to think, ‘What if a company, rather than putting the medium at the apex of his business model, just put a world, a universe, and then just used every single medium?’.
Do you feel we are at a time where it is more challenging to create that kind of universe or mythology? I don’t think it is harder now [than] it has been. I think creating a world is always challenging. I found that a lot of the worlds that are exploited today come from a past century. When they were created, they resonated; they were symbols, metaphors. The reason our company is called Reflector is because I always wanted to remind myself and the audience that the role of any entertainment is to reflect culture back at itself. It is very difficult for society, when living it, to judge itself. The job of entertainment is trying to do that in real time but making it more accessible by making stories that are analogies to it. That is why we invented theatre – it was a proxy of what people were going through at the moment. At one point, we forgot that, and it became more about money.
Can you give me an example of how you achieve doing that at Reflector? Every single one of the universes that we are working on at Reflector starts with one very simple idea, and that idea has to be the Zeitgeist of the moment. The best example is our first universe called Unknown 9 (U9). It is about self-actualization. It’s about the maturation of the human species. We are now at a point where we are becoming gods in so many aspects, from gene manipulations to climate manipulation to overpopulation and resource controlling. We are at a very critical time now. It’s either we go over that hump and, as a species, we transcend what we are today, or we run the real risk of obliterating, annihilating what we are. It is not a depressing [Intellectual Property (IP)] because it’s all about hope, because it is in our hands. We just have to stop looking everywhere else for answers. We have to look at ourselves. That is engrained in the DNA of this IP. We are not preachy because whenever you put a message before the quality of the content and the characters, the audience reacts badly to it. It’s story first, characters, and then the underlying message is encoded into the DNA. Some people will see it, [and] some don’t, but that’s OK.
With Lune Rouge and Reflector, you are really building a new company with a new team. Is it an exciting time for you? I like that kind of challenge. Building something from the ground up is almost like bringing a plant to life in a harsh climate. It will grow into a large and strong tree that will resist any storm, but, before it gets there, it’s a fledgling. It’s very delicate, and any strong breeze or sharp dropping temperature will kill it. I think it needs a special kind of nurturing, and the decisions that you make at that point will have repercussions [on] how that tree will grow. So, I like that challenge and that concept of taking care of something that will grow. The major thing that I have been trying to be very careful about is the culture. I really believe in candor – creating an environment that is free of politics and where everybody has that ability to speak. This is how you create a family and you create belonging and people start seeing the work as collective.