UbiSoft sent along this Q&A with Patrice Desilets, Creative Director of Assassins Creed 2.You previously insisted on the fact that character progression was a central development aspect of Assassin’s Creed II. How did you represent that progression in the game?
As immersion is a point we wanted to push, the main idea behind Assassin’s Creed 2 progression was to relive the life of our main character – Ezio – and his evolution throughout the story that spawns for 30 years. Ezio isn’t born an assassin. He will have to learn to become one. A large part of Ezio’s story is him answering the question – who am I? What’s my purpose? – He can’t find the answer to this question in 1 year or 2; it takes the spawn of his entire life. The player will have to accomplish a certain number of achievements in order for Ezio to learn new skills and turn into a Master Assassin. He will meet a lot of characters that will teach him new skills, how to behave and reach his full potential. As Ezio matures, his values, his morals, his sense of self – will also change. We've heard about a lot of major locations Ezio will get to explore, like Florence, Venice, Tuscany/San Gimignano, the mountains etc. Is the Italian capital – Rome – going to be a part of the game?
It would be a shame to make a game set during Renaissance Italy and not include its capital. Rome is definitely going to be a part of the game! The city was also subject to a lot of suspicious activity at that time which is in line with the atmosphere/storyline of our game.In Assassin’s Creed, Masyaf was the home of the assassins. Is there a home city or a sort of hideout where Ezio can go without being troubled by guards in Assassin’s Creed II?
In his adventure, Ezio will discover the Auditore Family Villa, in the city of Monteriggioni. Perched atop a beautiful Tuscan valley, Monteriggioni has become run down and is badly in need of repair. The Villa will become Ezio’s domain.
As Ezio, you will be able to invest in renovations, bringing the city back to its former glory. You may also choose to redecorate the Villa Auditore with famous renaissance paintings, stock your weapons and armor, and store a variety of collected objects. Any improvement to the city will help develop the local economy, rewarding you with periodic income, which can be reinvested in the city or used elsewhere in the game. In addition, Monteriggioni hides many secrets. Ezio will be able to discover some secrets about his family’s past and many other surprises for players that will look into the most hidden areas of the Villa. We've previously heard about famous families – the Medici and the Pazzi – and the conspiracy that is at the heart of their history. Will the game involve any other controversial history facts around great figures of the Italian Renaissance?
Renaissance Italy was known for being a time of great political anarchy – there wasn’t any one leader to rule the country and families would strive for power over the pieces of territory that composed Italy. In Venice you had the Doges. In Florence, the Medici family took control of the city – and left the Pazzi family behind – which triggered the Pazzi conspiracy against the Medici brothers. In Rome, the power essentially belonged to the Popes. One of the most famous Popes of the renaissance being Pope Alexander the 6th. He was a typical Renaissance Pope in many ways but he was also probably the worst. All the Popes in the Renaissance treated the people’s State like their own territorial kingdom: they raised armies, they marched into the field, they sacked cities, they launched campaigns against their enemies. Since betrayal was a common thing at the time, they also tended to rely on family members as close councilors and lieutenants, people they felt they could trust because they never were sure whether the other cardinals in the Vatican were entirely on their side. Alexander the 6th pursued exactly those strategies but he took them to unheard-of lengths. You will get to meet “the Pope” in Assassin’s Creed 2...
What more can you tell us about Leonardo Da Vinci in the game?
Leonardo is a student in Verrocchio’s workshop until 1476. Between 1476 and 1481, there is little historical information on Leonardo’s life...Here is our version: What really happened between these dates is that the Auditore, Ezio’s family, patron Leonardo to open his own workshop. Therefore, Ezio will meet Leonardo as he visits the artist in his workshop. Events will bring both Leonardo and Ezio to become very good friends and therefore close confident to one another. They are both progressive men and are each master of their arts. They spend a lot of time discussing their personal problems and helping each other work their way through them. Leonardo is aware of the tragedy that befalls the Auditore family and will support Ezio through it.
As you all know, Ezio becomes an assassin. On the other side, Leonardo is not an assassin and he is not fully aware of what Ezio is going through throughout the story. Leonardo will ask Ezio a lot of questions and Ezio will have a hard time opening up to what he “really” does. There is a little tension between Ezio and Leonardo throughout the story but Leonardo is wise and understands the choices his friend needs to make.
Leonardo plays an important role in Ezio’s life. Leonardo also helps Ezio solve mysteries and puzzles, build weapons, and create inventions that will each have their use to Ezio! If you need something for a mission, Leonardo is there for you.