Prepare to don your twin wrist-blades once again and take a trip to Renaissance-era Italy: Assassin's Creed II is slated to hit shelves by the end of the year.
Thanks to some folks on the Internet acquiring this month's Game Informer ahead of time - with its cover story on the second Assassin's Creed title - we already knew about the game. We already knew that it would take place during the Italian Renaissance, we already knew that we would be thrust into the shoes of disenfranchised young Florentine noble Ezio Auditore de Firenze ...
...but now it's official. Notably, Creative Director Patrice Desilets says that the team is working to improve on Assassin's Creed in every way (gee, how surprising!). Hopefully that means that they'll keep the freerunning parkour and climbing of the first game (just, uh, in Renaissance Italy instead of the Crusade-era Holy Land), while dialing back heavily on frustrating fights against 10 guys at once. Multiple fights against 10 guys at once - in a row. Without any save checkpoints between them. Yeah, let's do away with that, shall we?
Anyway, here's the full, formal press release:
UBISOFT® UNVEILS ASSASSIN'S CREED® II
SAN FRANCISCO - April 16, 2009 - Today Ubisoft announced that Ubisoft Montreal is developing Assassin's Creed II on all current-generation platforms for a scheduled Holiday 2009 release. The initial installment of Assassin's Creed® was released in November 2007 to popular and critical success, selling 8 million copies worldwide and garnering awards such as Best Action Game 2007 from 1UP and Outstanding Achievement in Animation from the AIAS.
Assassin's Creed II is the product of over two years of intensive development by the original creative team behind the Assassin's Creed brand. In a vast open world environment, the game invites players to incarnate Ezio, a privileged young noble in Renaissance Italy who's been betrayed by the rival ruling families of Italy. Ezio's subsequent quest for vengeance plunges players into a captivating and epic story that offers more variety in missions, surprising and engaging new gameplay elements, diverse weapons and a profound character progression that will appeal to fans of the original Assassin's Creed as well as entice players new to the brand.
"Our creative team is working hard to top the experience of Assassin's Creed," said Patrice Desilets, creative director at Ubisoft. "We've made improvements to every aspect of the game. We've plunged ourselves into the stunning history of the Italian Renaissance so that we can offer fans a unique, varied and innovative Assassin's Creed experience."
Additional details on Assassin's Creed II are revealed in the May issue of Game Informer.
So. Where do we go from here? We've checked off the Crusades, the Renaissance... what next? Since we can presume that they'll continue the whole pretext of "reliving one's ancestral memories" from the first game, we can guess that these games will primarily be set in Europe - Desmond Miles ain't changing his ethnicity anytime soon. He'll just have to deal with being "forced" to witness genetic memories by the least profitable evil corporation ever.
Me, I'm pulling for Industrial Revolution-era England or something. That could be pretty badass. Either way, Assassin's Creed II is supposed to be on shelves by Holiday 2009.