Is This Reality TV Dude Really The Face Of Assassin’s Creed’s Protagonist?

Is This Reality TV Dude Really The Face Of Assassin’s Creed’s Protagonist?

Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft’s long-running open-world RPG series, and Vanderpump Rules, Bravo’s long-running reality TV series, are connected—kind of. It’s rare that two of my biggest, most disparate interests collide so spectacularly as this, but here we are, and it’s all thanks to a man named Jax Taylor.

Taylor, one of the former stars of VPR (he left/was fired after season eight, depending upon who you ask) has been claiming for nearly 15 years that the face on the Assassin’s Creed I box art (or II, depending upon who and when you ask) is based on his visage. Taylor, who was previously a model, even lists it as one of his (unverified) credits on his old Model Mayhem page.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that Taylor has, historically, been considered to be, well, um, a liar. As any VPR fan knows, and as a 2019 Vulture article pointed out, Taylor was accused of infidelity in back-to-back seasons and “both times [he] convinced both the show’s behind-the-camera staff and his friends that he was wrongfully accused; both times, he was caught red-handed as the season ended.” Taylor was also tied up in a lie in season six, after he was caught cheating on his future wife (then-girlfriend) with another co-star. There are other lies you’ll find deep in the Bravo subreddits: that he was roommates with Channing Tatum, that he almost got a job working for the NHL, that he loved the tea set Lisa Vanderpump gave him as a wedding gift.

But the reality TV star doggedly insists that he is, indeed, the face on the cover art of an Assassin’s Creed game. He recently doubled down on this claim at Lexington Comic Con, which took place in the Kentucky city over the March 7-10 weekend. Taylor and several of his former and current castmates (he’s starring in a new Vanderpump Rules spinoff called The Valley alongside his maybe-future-ex-wife, Brittany Cartwright) had their own tables at the convention, which were decorated with images of their professional appearances. On Taylor’s table: A picture of the Assassin’s Creed I cover art.

Is Jax Taylor the face of the Assassin’s Creed box cover art?

Screenshot: Jax Taylor on X / Ubisoft

Now, here’s where things get confusing. Taylor first claimed this video game connection back in 2012, when he posted “Me on the cover of assassins [sic] creed II” on X (formerly Twitter). The picture accompanying the text certainly looks like cover art for an Xbox 360 game, but there are some notable discrepancies. First, the image depicts Assassin’s Creed I, not II, and second, that picture doesn’t appear to have ever been used for a physical release of the Ubisoft game. An intrepid reporter asked about this alleged cover art back in 2022, and the replies only unearthed more questions: It appears that the image Taylor posted is from a website called Customaniacs, which, back in the Xbox 360 era, would share hi-res, downloadable, custom pieces of box cover art for people to print out and slip into the plastic shells.

On March 12, I reached out to Taylor’s PR via email, who initially confirmed that Taylor was “on the first season” of Assassin’s Creed. When pressed for clarification, the representative confirmed that he was the model for “the very first game” and “just the box art.” I thanked them for the clarification.

An hour later, unprompted, Taylor’s representative emailed me an image that only made things more baffling: a picture of the cover of PlayStation: The Official Magazine’s Holiday 2009 issue, which featured the publication’s review of Assassin’s Creed II. Yes, a review of the sequel, not the first game like his representative initially confirmed. To add more layers to this confusion cake, the PlayStation mag cover does not depict the box art for any Assassin’s Creed game, but bespoke art. (Unrelated, but hilarious: the image is clearly just the cover torn off the magazine, the rest of which Taylor ostensibly threw out.)

Screenshot: Jax Taylor Instagram / PlayStation: The Official Magazine

Not long after my conversation with his PR person, Taylor posted a picture of the PlayStation: The Official Magazine cover that had been emailed to me to his Instagram story, with the caption “Flashback to when I did the cover art/box art for #assassinscreed 2009.” He tagged the Instagram accounts for Lexington Comic Con and PlayStation.

The thing is, a French-Canadian model named Francisco Randez has been widely credited as the face of series protagonists Desmond, Altair, and Ezio. Randez has done interviews about his role in the series and has an IMDb credit for it. In a 2011 interview, Assassin’s Creed devs discuss creating the digital likenesses of the character, referring to the “handsome model” as a “neighbor” of the game’s producer in Montréal…though they have trouble remembering his name and call him “Rafael.” (It’s around the 8:50 mark.) Is there more than one “Assassin’s Creed guy”? Is Jax Taylor one of them? Is he none of them?

I reached out to both Ubisoft and Francisco Randez. Ubisoft declined to comment, and Randez has yet to respond.

So, it’s still unclear if Jax Taylor is, indeed, the face on the cover for either Assassin’s Creed I or Assassin’s Creed II. As a VPR fan, I’m inclined to believe he’s not, but what do you think?

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