The very concept of For Honor indicates a fictitious landscape. History has never offered a war between Viking, Samurai, and Knights. Ubisoft Montreal fulfills our bloody and adrenaline filled fantasy with a narrative cataclysm that left only these warrior classes to battle for survival. In the process of tapping into our combative desires, Ubisoft Montreal draws on historical realities to shape their aesthetic approach.
Unlocking the Fantasy
At the time of this writing, Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts holds Florence’s Museo Stibbert’s collection of Samurai equipment. The selection blends functional and decorative exhibits dating back to the 17th through mid-19th centuries. A walk through “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” puts one in immediate proximity with the inspiration for the Samurai faction of For Honor’s glorious cast.
So how does everything compare? We took a careful look at the pictures Ubisoft has offered on their website and brought them through The Frist to analyze For Honor’s balance of authenticity, detail, and artistic liberty.
Katana: The Soul of the Warrior
Possibly the most recognizable emblem of the Samurai warrior, the Katana’s curved feature allowed for a flexibility that kept it from breaking on impact. Ubisoft Montreal focused on perfecting this important feature, and it appears they nailed it.
The detail of the sword models demonstrates For Honor’s dedication to precision. The dark patterns show off a technique called Hamon, which served to harden the edge of the blade while making it look even cooler.
The more visibly artistic aspect of the Katana is the hilt and sword guard. The long, two-handed hilts crossed leather over a quasi-concealed and important emblem. The pattern and emblem may signify the owner while adding grip.
The guard also utilized a practical function; protecting Samurai’s hands. You can see an artistic pattern above, as well as in the pictures below. A whole wall in the Frist was dedicated to these guards, and the one below stood out.
The relatively few visible aspects of the Katana offer a tight set of artistic licenses, which Ubisoft Montreal utilizes.
Gusoku: Ready to Strike
For Honor took a little more artistic liberty with the armor while keeping to the Samurai’s stylized roots. Armor styles changed more often than the Katana throughout history; some eras utilized firearm protection and more metal. Earlier periods focused on leather and wood, which seems to indicate the style in For Honor.
In tandem with the two-handed style of Katana, Samurai did not use shields. Instead of relying on heavy armor, they relied on their speed and flexibility that the leather and wood offered.
Possibly the strongest historical departure For Honor enjoys is the Shugoki. This class appears less elegant, yet does not lack in intimidation. At the Frisk, much of the decorative pieces relating to helmets relied on the intimidation that the Shugoki personifies. Especially the use of demons link Shugoki with history, as many ornate helmets displayed monsters used to frighten opponents.
Our Bloody Valentine
For Honor blends historical inspiration and survivalist fiction perfectly in their Samurai class, which slashes its way into the world on Feb. 14, 2017. We at TLS look forward to battling it out!