Anvil is an engine developed by Ubisoft Montreal for use with two of its most successful franchises, Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia. One of its most innovative features is its use of Autodesk's HumanIK middle-ware package.
According to the technical director Claude Langlais, modeling is done in Autodesk 3ds Max for environment, and in ZBrush for characters. Autodesk's HumanIK aids in calculating the positions of the playable character's hands and feet in the world, such that they convey a convincing animation sequence.
As the successor to the Anvil, the AnvilNext engine boasts several new technological tools for developers to work with, including deferred lighting, ambient occlusion, support for a dynamic weather cycling system, a new camera mode, improved crowd AI, as well as advancements in animation and improved visuals. The technology pioneered in the game Assassin's Creed III.
AnvilNext is reported to possess the ability to render crowds in thousands, while the previous engine was limited to the hundreds. The engine also allows for the implementation of a dynamic game world, enabling the world to change itself over the course of time. This means that enemy settlements may appear or disappear, relating to the events in the game.
AnvilNext has been used for four Assassin's Creed games. In addition to Assassin's Creed III, it has been used to develop the HD remake of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Assassin's Creed: Rogue.
AnvilNext 2.0 is capable of generating structures in a flexible and automatic manner while following specific design rules and templates, which reduces the amount of time and manual effort required for artists and designers to create an intricate urban environment. Specific landmarks, such as the Notre Dame de Paris, are still designed by hand but now could be rendered at an almost 1:1 ratio to its real-life counterpart.
- Anvil was known as "Scimitar" during its initial development in 2006.
- It was rumored that no previous in-game animations from the Assassin's Creed series were carried over to the AnvilNext engine, with the intent of bringing an entirely fresh feeling to Ratonhnhaké:ton. This was proven false, as several various animations are still present in Assassin's Creed III and subsequent games in the series, built on the AnvilNext engine.