Cul­ture­mas­ter

What does it take to be­come a Mas­ter As­sas­sin? We catch up with pro hooded cos­player Jamie Oak­ley about go­ing back to the Brother­hood’s Ori­gins

Games Master - - Contents - Louise Blain

One of the best As­sas­sin’s Creed cos­play­ers around shows off his new Ori­gins out­fit.

Christmas just isn’t the same with­out an As­sas­sin’s Creed game. An open world to hur­tle around, things to find, peo­ple to punc­ture, and rooftops to scam­per across. Well, Ori­gins should scratch that itch (gen­tly) with first As­sas­sin Bayek’s hid­den blade. Of course, with a new An­cient Egyp­tian As­sas­sin comes new cos­play, and UK-based Jamie Oak­ley is no stranger to pop­ping his hood up and look­ing a lit­tle brood­ing. We caught up with him to find out more about what goes on be­hind the scenes. Now on his fifth As­sas­sin cos­play to date – with a cou­ple of ver­sions of each sneaky stab­ber, in­clud­ing Ed­ward Ken­way’s Mayan out­fit and Arno’s Mas­ter As­sas­sin garb – Oak­ley builds ev­ery­thing from scratch. From hoods to hid­den blades and bows, ev­ery layer of his out­fits is hand-crafted from a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als. This man is se­ri­ously handy with a sewing ma­chine. “I’ve def­i­nitely im­proved,” Oak­ley says. “You learn more, and bet­ter ways to make things in this hobby. Prob­a­bly the hid­den blades have al­ways been the most chal­leng­ing. I al­ways found them hard to make from scratch. I’m not a mas­ter at them now, but they work and look the part. Bayek’s was more dif­fi­cult as the blade ran above the base it­self.”

Shield agent

Thanks to the game’s re­vamped com­bat sys­tem, Bayek is the first As­sas­sin to use a shield while fight­ing. And he needs it, as he’s not wear­ing much un­der that ar­mour. Oak­ley was slightly per­turbed that he might show more than he bar­gained for but just had to grin and, well, bare it. “Bayek was fun,” he grins. “When I first saw his out­fit I was un­sure of the bare chest aspect, but it looked amaz­ing so I thought ‘Why not?’ Bayek was a nice build and the fab­rics I used were pretty easy to find. A lot I al­ready had from pre­vi­ous builds. One of my eas­i­est builds for sure.” Bayek’s weapons were new to Oak­ley too. He con­structed the bow on his own with wrapped leather to give it an au­then­tic look. “Maybe his shield or bow were the trick­i­est,” he says. “Nei­ther of them I have made from scratch be­fore this project so it was great to try my hand with some­thing new.”

Oak­ley is a reg­u­lar on the As­sas­sins cos­play scene, and a re­cent trip to EGX in Birm­ing­ham saw him car­ry­ing home a tro­phy. A pre­vi­ous Cul­ture­Mas­ter star and now well-known across the Ubi com­mu­nity, he’s just en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence. “I’ve got a lot more fol­low­ers on my cos­play page and met peo­ple who have been fol­low­ing my work. To me that’s amaz­ing!” he en­thuses. “Meet­ing new peo­ple is al­ways great… This is my third time en­ter­ing a com­pe­ti­tion. I’m not sure if I would en­ter one again but it was def­i­nitely fun. That’s not what this hobby is about for me. For me, it’s to show each other what you have been work­ing on, to meet new peo­ple and talk about your cos­tumes and get ad­vice from each other. Hav­ing fun re­ally.”

As­sas­sin’s Creed stretches far be­yond the games now. Comics, books, mo­bile games, and even the movie

“Prob­a­bly the hid­den blades have al­ways been the most chal­leng­ing”

mean the Creed com­mu­nity is huge. That’s Oak­ley’s favourite aspect of his hobby. “I have met some amaz­ing peo­ple in the As­sas­sin’s Creed com­mu­nity,” he says. “Not only is As­sas­sin’s Creed my all-time favourite gam­ing fran­chise, meet­ing peo­ple who love it just as much as I do is great. I fol­low an amaz­ing page called As­sas­sins Cos­play Brother­hood. They ar­range meets at con­ven­tions and events just to meet new peo­ple, make friends, or just to talk about the games. Not only that it’s a group to share ideas and have fun in your cos­tumes. The ad­min/mod team are amaz­ing and friendly peo­ple.”

When it comes to Ori­gins, Oak­ley wasn’t sure at first about head­ing back so far in the se­ries’ his­tory, but it only took one look at the game in ac­tion to con­vince him. He’s par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about tak­ing in the view from Senu the ea­gle. “I was a lit­tle wor­ried about where the game was set be­fore I saw any­thing,” he ad­mits. “I was un­sure how they could make it work. After play­ing the demo at EGX I was amazed at how beau­ti­ful Egypt as a set­ting was. There’s so much to look at, and so much to see. I’m more ex­cited now that it’s in Egypt and think it’s a perfect set­ting for

the next game.”

Brother­hood news

While he didn’t even get a year off last year as he crafted Michael Fass­ben­der’s Span­ish As­sas­sin Aguilar, Oak­ley still wants to re­visit some of his older builds and make them even bet­ter. When it comes to de­sign, he’s leav­ing da Vinci in the dust. “My favourite-look­ing out­fit would have to be Arno,” he ex­plains. “The favourite that I have made, though, is prob­a­bly the re­make of Con­nor Ken­way’s. I am plan­ning to go back and re­make Ed­ward Ken­way’s and Arno’s out­fits just as I did for Con­nor. I know I can make them even bet­ter.” We pre­scribe a stint in An­cient Egypt be­fore ea­gle-div­ing back in, Jamie.

The big­gest prob­lem Oak­ley had with Bayek’s cos­tume was the fact that he wouldn’t be wear­ing very much un­der­neath…

Oak­ley won the EGX Cos­play Cham­pi­onship as the best As­sas­sin’s Creed cos­player at the event.

Recre­at­ing Bayek’s elab­o­rate bow was a se­ri­ous chal­lenge, but Oak­ley took guid­ance from all the trail­ers and game­play he’d seen to craft this im­pres­sively re­al­is­tic ver­sion from leather and wood.

Lon­don was call­ing Oak­ley for his in­cred­i­ble Ja­cob Frye cos­play from two years ago.

No game out in 2016? That didn’t stop Oak­ley, who painstak­ingly crafted Aguilar’s beaded As­sas­sin out­fit.

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