March 27, 2024


Thanks to the recent launch of The Crew Motorfest Season 3 and the introduction of the latest addition to the in-game "Ivory-Tower" brand, the Aezus, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jérémy Sachot, Vehicle Designer Modeler at Ubisoft Ivory Tower. In our interview, Jérémy shares insights into the inception of our first Hypercar and delves into the underlying principles that define our brand's approach to automotive manufacturing. Dive into the interview to discover the behind-the-scenes story of the Aezus and gain a deeper understanding of Ivory Tower's brand vision for innovation in the virtual automotive world.

Jeremy's background:

  • Graduated from Institut Supérieur de Design Rubika, Master in 'Transportation Design' in 2015 with several internships at Bertone (Turin), BMW Designworks (L.A.), Renault and Alpine (Guyancourt)
  • Dubai for about 4 years to work for W Motors leading to the design of the MUSE (Mobility Using Sustainable Energy) concept car for a Chinese partner Iconiq.
  • Since 2020, Jeremy joined Ubisoft Ivory Tower as a Vehicle Designer and Modeler

Why creating a new brand within the game? What's the objective for the studio with this brand?

One of the central concepts driving the introduction of the new "Ivory Tower" brand in the game was our desire to demonstrate the expertise of the team behind the creation of vehicles for The Crew Motorfest, as well as our true passion for automobiles. While we previously had a brand called "Proto" in The Crew 2, we wanted to go further. The idea with this new "Ivory Tower" brand is to serve as a laboratory, aiming to evolve the gaming experience through our models and enable the development of new game features for the game and for our players.

What makes the Ivory Tower brand unique compared to other premium manufacturers?

Our brand "Ivory Tower" distinguishes itself from traditional automobile brands in several ways. Firstly, it is a "virtual" brand, allowing for more agile and spontaneous design processes unconstrained by industrial limitations. Secondly, being a "new" brand means it lacks heritage, providing an opportunity to define and construct its complete identity through our lineup. "Ivory Tower" also aims to be a "multi-category" brand, mirroring "The Crew" franchise's approach to exploring all automotive categories, including cars, motorcycles, boats, and planes---an endeavor unprecedented in the automotive industry. Lastly, originating from a video game studio, our projects are approached with a gameplay-centric mindset, setting us apart from conventional car brands by prioritizing distinctive gaming experiences.

What were the brand's first vehicles and what were their special features?

The Ivory Tower Aezus wasn't the first vehicle of our brand available in The Crew Motorfest, before the release of our first Hypercar, we have made 4 other vehicles.

The first one was the SSV Falcon S1000, the only SSV available in the game, and building upon this foundation, we have crafted two special editions. The first one was the SSV Falcon S1000 Off Roading Addict Ed., provided the foundation for us to prototype what we call the "in-game flex", a new technology that allows certain parts of the vehicles to be flexible, i.e. they are no longer fixed and are able to react to physics, for example when the player accelerates, brakes, turns, etc... thanks to this vehicle and our "laboratory principle", we will add this feature on more vehicles to come. The second one, the SSV ML3 was the first Main Stage vehicle reward (our ingame progression system), it stands out as the only vehicle featuring a digital dashboard on its exterior, specifically on the rear-facing side, visible from the player's viewpoint.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 01 - Green

The second one is our IVT AGP R-07, our Alpha Grand Prix single-seater. The only AGP car in our game to have active aerodynamism with 5 independent elements.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 02 - Orange

The "Aezus » is our newest car, and it embodies various distinctive elements within a single vehicle: active aerodynamics, animated engine parts, and a rev counter inspired by the world of watchmaking. It's also the first vehicle in the game to offer a brief animation of the digital dashboard upon engine start-up, symbolizing the awakening of the beast.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 03 - White

We're also in the process of developing additional vehicles to expand our lineup. However, as we're still in the design phase, we can't share too many details now. What we can say is that the next vehicle from Ivory Tower will be a Muscle car. But that's a tale for another time.

How important is a Hypercar for a car manufacturer?

In the automotive world, the Hypercar represents the pinnacle of creation, the ultimate showcase of a company's expertise and talent. Crafting such a vehicle demands a rigorous, creative design process driven by passion. As a designer, this project has been an opportunity for me to apply everything I've learned eight years into my career and to design a car that I will be proud of for as long as possible.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 04 - Outdoor

How does automotive design interact with AI?

Like many designers and artists, my initial response to AI was one of caution, perhaps even a hint of envy! Having invested years in refining specific technical and creative skills to meet the demands of the industry, it's striking to witness the rapid evolution and execution capabilities of AI. It has now reached a remarkable level where it can swiftly produce high-quality visual outputs. However, the unique advantage humans still possess lies in the overarching conceptualization of a project---the ability to continuously innovate through intuitive choices, deliberate decision-making, and a craft narrative rather than merely exploit, mix and aggregate existing elements, a contrast to AI's tendency. While designing the Aezus and other Ivory vehicles, AI was not consulted. Yet, I firmly believe that for our future creations, it will become nearly indispensable to integrate AI as a supplementary tool, provided we wield it judiciously in service of the narratives we craft with each vehicle.

How the car has been named?

We aimed to honor the cherished Gaulish culture of our country by naming our hypercar Aezus. It's a reimagining of Esus, also sometimes spelled Aesus, the Gaulish deity of the Cosmos. To establish a consistent theme, our upcoming creations will further delve into this relatively lesser-known mythology to the public.

Could you present the Ivory Tower Aezus?

The Aezus marks the third addition to the Ivory Tower lineup and is our inaugural hypercar. Our objective was to offer a compelling alternative to the existing hypercars in the game, while infusing it with our distinctive style, echoing the DNA of our initial two vehicles. The credibility of our design hinges on several factors, notably realistic proportions mirroring those of the game's most high-performance vehicles. Prior to design, careful consideration was given to the Aezus's technical specifications. Opting for a strict two-seater with a mid-rear engine configuration, we positioned the cockpit forward, resulting in the typical ready-to-pounce silhouette emblematic of supercars. The Aezus's credibility is underpinned by its performance. Rather than aiming to establish a new performance standard, we aimed to align its capabilities closely with established brands like Ferrari, Bugatti, or Pagani. This quest for credibility was paramount for us to not stand out next to our licensed vehicles and not disrupt the Motorfest "meta" experience.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 05 - red surface

How would you describe the style of the Aezus?

When examining the car, I believe we can talk about sleek proportions, taut lines, and generous curves, without unnecessary aggressiveness or superficial details. The car's proportions and muscularity are more than sufficient to make it both attractive and intimidating. At the front, the design presents a relatively soft appearance, with large yet smoothly integrated air intakes that avoid sharp angles.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 07

Great care has been taken to ensure seamless reflections across the body, with meticulous attention to detail, especially along the sides where positive and negative surfaces interplay to adhere to the aerodynamic principles of such vehicles. Notably, the air extractors on the front wheels and the rear wheel arch air intake serve as distinctive design elements of the Aezus.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 08

Moving to the rear, a sleek panel houses horizontal lights and the car's logos, while a subtly concealed spoiler only reveals itself at high speeds. The raised rear end exposes a significant portion of the rear tires for added visual impact.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 09

Large sections of the car are translucent. The massive glass roof reveals a supportive X-shaped structure, upon which the doors are hinged. The engine is prominently visible behind the glass, showcasing the level of detail with which we designed the car. Finally, one of the Aezus's signatures lies in the 'glass fragments,' these floating elements situated just behind the cockpit, which also light up in an X pattern during braking. As a nod to the world of video games, this X is only perceptible in the player's view when the car is seen from the rear.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus »  -10

Did real-world automotive design trends or concepts influence the design of the Aezus?

Certainly! Our surroundings continually shape our preferences and influence what we find appealing. While it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact reasons behind our likes and dislikes---whether it's certain objects, shapes, materials, or colors---when it comes to design, designers are invariably influenced, consciously or subconsciously, by their tastes, preferences, and their interpretations of current or past trends.

As for myself, I've always preferred objects with a design that embodies simplicity, elegance, and therefore withstands the test of time more easily. In automotive, this translates to cars with smooth shapes, subtle curves, captivating surface transitions, and proportions that appear natural. Personally, I resonate with what McLaren, Koenigsegg, and Porsche offer---cars that don't seek to exaggerate an extroverted personality, avoiding the use of sharp lines and eschewing unnecessary details.

What challenges did you face in the process of creating this car?

Every car you see for the first time in a magazine, on YouTube, or on the street has been designed several years before its official release. Among the various categories of industrial design, automotive design is arguably one of the longest and most demanding processes. It must be aesthetically pleasing from every angle, embodying the brand's DNA while also evolving it, attracting customers with its style while adhering to increasingly stringent technical specifications. This is why the design phase of a car takes several years, from the initial sketches to the final 3D model that considers all industrial constraints, involving large and qualified teams. Major automotive design studios typically employ dozens of designers who work closely with an equally large number of engineers.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » - 11

For the Aezus, as with other creations from the Ivory Tower brand, the production timeline was notably shorter compared to the conventional practices in automotive design. Approximately six months were invested from the initial sketch to the final in-game 3D model. I undertook the design process solo, but the unwavering support of my manager Frederic Marchetti and the excellent integration work of my colleague, vehicle artist Paul Conti, greatly facilitated the process.

Furthermore, unlike traditional automotive design studios with separate departments, the main challenge here was designing both the exterior and interior of the Aezus. Crafting the interior demanded a significant amount of work, involving various stages of sketching, Photoshop renderings, and 3D exploration. However, it's crucial not to underestimate this aspect of automotive design to offer a comprehensive and immersive vehicle experience.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » 12

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » 13

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » 14

The absence of industrial constraints allowed us to concentrate on the car's aesthetics and the player's experience. Nonetheless, the considerably shorter design process presented a genuine challenge compared to my prior experiences in automotive design. Moreover, every project brings its own set of obstacles, uncertainties, and apprehensions about failure, but perseverance ultimately leads to overcoming these challenges. Witnessing your car in-game, enjoyed by thousands of players, is undeniably the most rewarding aspect of the entire endeavor!

Car-loving video gamers love customization, so does the Aezus allow them to express their creativity?

Creating a car under our own license allows us the freedom to customize it extensively. With this in mind, our aim was to make the Aezus one of the hypercars in the game with the most customization options available to players. This includes a diverse range of choices such as bumpers, spoilers, wide kits, and material variations.

Could you provide some insight into the special edition of this vehicle that players can win via the Summit?

Another advantage of creating our own vehicles is the ability to offer them in various forms, known as special editions in The Crew. The Aezus, for instance, features its inaugural special edition, the "Stealth Edition". This edition aims to elevate the base model of the car by revamping the wide kit, introducing distinct front lights inspired by the X theme of the Ivory Tower brand, refining the diffuser, and incorporating a unique spoiler that aligns with the car's design language. Additionally, the selection of colors available to players is carefully curated to accentuate specific aspects of the car through contrasting elements.

[TCM] Article Interview « Ivory Tower Aezus » 15

How was the process of integrating this vehicle into The Crew Motorfest?

The integration of the Aezus into the game was led by Paul Conti. The most time-consuming aspect was adapting the high-poly 3D model from the design process to meet our game engine's requirements, reducing it from 5 million polygons to approximately 50,000 for the exterior alone. Additionally, various Levels Of Detail (LOD) models were created to optimize performance based on the car's distance from the player. Similar attention was given to detailing the car's interior. Once the 3D models were finalized, textures, materials, and technical details were meticulously added to enhance realism. Special focus was given to the headlights, which play a significant role in defining the car's style. Hugues Vacher, another vehicle artist, contributed his expertise in modeling and texturing the engine compartment. Paul also handled the modeling and texturing of the five wheel models available for the Aezus. Furthermore, he integrated all the car's customization parts, adding approximately another month of work. Following integration, Sylvain Branchu, 3C Reference, fine-tuned the car's performance and behavior to ensure an exhilarating gameplay experience.

How did you collaborate with the audio team to create the vehicle sound?

Alongside the efforts of the 3C team, we needed to refine its audio aspect. We had complete autonomy in determining the sound profile we aimed to achieve. Following thorough deliberation and collaboration among the 3C, Vehicle, and Audio teams, we settled on a 5-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine. This selection ensures highly spirited revs and a metallic engine tone with high frequencies, reminiscent of renowned engines such as those found in BMW, Lamborghini, or Lexus V10s.

What's next for the Ivory Tower brand?

With a wealth of ideas to explore various terrains - from roads to off-road, water, and air - our potential projects span a wide spectrum. Some may pay homage to the past, while others may embrace futuristic concepts. We're only at the outset of our adventure!


Visit Other Social Channels