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Assassin’s Creed’s Horses are Made from Twisted Human Skeletons

Assassin’s Creed’s horses have been accompanying assassins through the popular series for over a decade, but they’re hiding a horrifying secret.

Horses have been a part of Ubisoft’s beloved Assassin’s Creed series since the very beginning, but according to one developer on the original game, the bodies of the trusty steeds are stuffed with horrifyingly distorted human skeletons.

Assassin’s Creed developer Charles Randall recently took to Twitter to describe some of the rigging challenges the team faced on the original title. The thread started with the innocuous revelation that Malik, a character with only one arm, couldn’t have a custom skeleton modeled due to budget constraints, so his missing arm was simply a regular arm flipped inside out.

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While Randall’s story about Malik’s inverted arm is a neat insight into a unique solution to a game development challenge, it served as a jumping-off point to reveal a much more distressing skeleton-related Assassin’s Creed fact: because the rendering software used to develop the game didn’t support quadripedal models, the horse model in the game was built on a “twisted fucked up human skeleton.”

While the image of a human skeleton contorted to fit the shape of a horse brings to mind a cut scene from a David Cronenberg film, the trick worked wonders. The replies to Randall’s tweet confirm that nobody ever suspected that their mount was secretly another person mangled beyond recognition with a digital horse’s skin draped over it. Randall was quick to acknowledge the hard work of the team that managed to pull off the exceptional feat of masking the body horror within the horse model, saying “Cheers to the amazing animators and riggers that managed to make that guy look like a horse!”

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The Assassin’s Creed series has seen steady new releases since the original title back in 2007, and it’s likely that at some point in the intervening fifteen years, the development team has found a solution to their horse problem. Still, the revelation that the earliest game in the series contorted human skeletons to create a horse raises some interesting questions — how many other video game creatures are literally just guys with animal skin? One can only wonder in abject horror.

The original Assassin’s Creed, human-horse and all, can be played on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. An updated edition is available as a part of The Ezio Collection on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. For a more recent Assassin’s Creed experience, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is available on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Microsoft Windows and Google Stadia.

Source: Twitter

Sorrel Kerr-Jung’s first love is the newsroom, but not far behind is her other passion: forgetting to finish video games. When she’s not picking up Chrono Trigger for the seventieth time, she can be found writing news and features about video games for CBR. She has more (and worse!) thoughts on Twitter.

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