- "I will travel to the distant land of Cyprus to dispose of the remaining Templars before they rebuild their Order and hunt us again. I am Altaïr. I am an Assassin."
- ―Box description.[src]
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is a spin-off game exclusive to the PlayStation Portable console. It was released worldwide on November 17, 2009.
The game follows the events of Assassin's Creed, and depicts the journey of the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad to the island of Cyprus, in order to learn more of the Templars' intentions, now under the rule of Armand Bouchart.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines contains similar, if not the same gameplay to Assassin's Creed in terms of control style, although there were minor modifications to the control scheme, due to the lack of specific keys and buttons. Some features from the previous game, such as Eagle Vision, were removed for the betterment of the controls.
Due to the system platform, the AI has been seen as somewhat inferior when compared to the first game, making combat easier and simpler. A minor addition was featured in the combat aspect of the game, allowing players to instantly assassinate a target when they are downed in combat.
Another difference between the two games is the amount of civilians present in the streets. While the first game was filled with random civilians, Bloodlines has little to no civilians, explained in-game that the civilians were in a constant state of insecurity due to the new system of governance. Still, civilians will react to Altaïr's improper behavior, such as scaling buildings, and running around the streets.
Stealth in Bloodlines was downgraded, again for the reason of controls. Blending was all but removed, due to the system platform. Although scholars are still present in-game, Altaïr can no longer use them as a way to hide. Although Altaïr can still blend, it only acts as a way to safely bypass guards without raising suspicion.
Scaling the side of buildings was made easier and faster, resulting in simpler animations, again, due to the system's inferiority. High and low profile movements were still present in-game, though they were downgraded.
Taking the place of flags, a new collectible featured in the game are Templar Coins, which can be used to upgrade health bars, and the amount of damage a weapon can inflict. Three types of coins are present in game: Bronze, Silver and Gold, with Gold holding the highest value.
Similar to the previous game, side missions are available to players, such as saving civilians from Templar soldiers, and performing specific tasks for allies of the resistance. The variety of tasks has been expanded, such as delivering letters, and intercepting couriers. In return, Altaïr will receive coins as a reward, instead of assistance from groups, as in the previous game.
With the game centered on the island of Cyprus, the setting was based on two areas: Limassol and Kyrenia. The look of the area is very similar to some of the cities in the first game, going as far as having the same atmosphere. Due to the small setting, Horseback riding was removed in Bloodlines. Like in the previous game, Altaïr can synchronize from high vantage points in order to map out the city. Although the map itself is already drawn out, synchronizing will provide the locations of various side-missions.
Weapons from the previous game return in Bloodlines, such as Altaïr's sword, his short blade, throwing knives, and fists. His usage of each of the weapons is very similar to the first Assassin's Creed.
Assassinations are also similar to the first game, although the animation has been toned down to better fit the system. A new, yet very minor assassination technique has been added to the game, allowing Altaïr to pull opponents off of ledges, similar to Assassin's Creed II.
Cut-scenes were changed and differed from the previous installment. In Bloodlines, cut-scenes are played through preset dialogue, with the character models acting in preset motions and gestures. Unique gestures were only present in confrontations between boss characters, such as Moloch and the Dark Oracle. Subtitles were also added to the game.
Story missions and assassinations were simplified and straightforward. Previous ways to gather information, such as pickpocketing and eavesdropping, were removed from the game. As a replacement, missions were played in the same structure as Assassin's Creed II, with Altaïr handling one task after another and slowly gathering vital information from both his allies and enemies as each mission was cleared.
An in-game achievement system is featured in Bloodlines, which rewards players with Templar coins. Achievements can be earned after performing specific tasks, such as killing a set number of soldiers in a specified order, and also collecting all of the Templar coins located throughout the game world.
Despite all the downgrades, a new feature is also in this game that doesn't apply to the other games: Altaïr can now retrieve throwing knives by walking over his used ones. Since pickpocketing was removed, Altaïr can now reuse his throwing knives provided that the knife he threw landed on the ground or hit an enemy. If the knife landed on water, Altaïr could not regain them. Throwing knives may also be regained by interacting with the newly added knife box in the safehouses.
Like any other game, Bloodlines possessed errors and glitches, such as the invisible wall and plank glitch, among others.
During the Autumn of 1191, the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad had heard of the Templars' plan to depart for Cyprus. While the Templars made preparations to leave from Acre's harbor, Altaïr led an assault in order to intercept them and learn more.
Encountering Maria Thorpe, Robert de Sable's former steward, Altaïr subdued and took Maria as his prisoner. Once the Assassins departed the area with Maria, Altaïr heard from one of his subordinates that the Templars had recently purchased the island of Cyprus from King Richard, after the fall of Isaac Comnenus' rule. Suspecting that their intentions were beyond governance, Altaïr departed for Cyprus with Maria in tow.
Altaïr arrived at Limassol, and made contact with Alexander of Limassol, the informant mentioned by his men. Alexander discussed the Templars' presence with him, and devised a plan to gather more information.
Altaïr consulted with Osman, a Resistance spy within the Templar's ranks, and managed to lower the defenses of the Templar-controlled Limassol Castle, in order to infiltrate the castle with ease. He was also able to learn of a certain archive that the Templars were keeping a secret, though if he wanted to learn more, he would have to seek out Frederick the Red.
Altaïr entered the castle and encountered Frederick, though he gained no information before his target's death. Heading out of the structure, Altaïr saw that the safe house of the resistance had been burned down to the ground by the Templars, and, after searching the area, learned of Maria's survival.
Fleeing to the church area, Altaïr watched over an announcement being made by Armand Bouchart, the current Grand Master of the Templar Order, regarding the death of Frederick. Slaying Osman in the midst of his announcement, Armand threatened to tighten the grip of the government within the city if they refused to cooperate in searching for the murderer.
Just then, Maria arrived and pleaded to Bouchart for safety, though he attributed her safe escape as being in league with the Assassins. Despite her claims, Maria was taken away by Bouchart's men on the grounds of conspiring against their Order; though she was intercepted and rescued by Altaïr.
After regrouping by the city's harbor, Alexander helped Altaïr charter a boat for the city of Kyrenia, which was where Bouchart had fled. Consorting with Alexander's associate Pasha, Altaïr was able to make his way into the city with Maria.
Once Altaïr had arrived at the city of Kyrenia, he encountered the resistance member Markos, who helped stop Maria's escape attempt. Altaïr then left her to the care of Markos while he searched for the resistance leader Barnabas, the man mentioned by Alexander. Meeting with Barnabas, Altaïr was instructed to murder the claimed traitor Jonas, as his end of the deal for assistance in dealing with the Templars.
Intercepting Jonas, Altaïr learned before his target's death that the Templar figure Moloch had placed a price on both his and Maria's head. Learning of this, Altaïr made his way back to the harbor in order to ensure that she was safe. Rescuing her and Markos from harassers, Altaïr instructed them to make their way into the resistance safe house.
After this, Altaïr returned to the safe house and reported to Barnabas, who subsequently told him of a riot happening around the city due to Jonas' death. Barnabas claimed that Jonas was a well-respected man, though few knew of his treachery. Altaïr then explained that more of the resistance were making their way to the safe house, and that he should explain the situation to them.
Departing to deal with the riot, Altaïr was successful and immediately returned to Barnabas, though he found that he has disappeared. Seeing that Markos and Maria were safe, Altaïr decided to eliminate Moloch due to the threat he posed. Infiltrating Kantara Castle, Altaïr dealt with Moloch and escaped before he was caught.
At once, Altaïr returned to the safe house, though he learned that Maria and other resistance members were taken away by the Templars. Markos explained that the discovery of their hideout was the cause of the Dark Oracle, whom was told to have mystical powers. He was also able to learn that the man he knew as Barnabas was a traitor, and that the real Barnabas was murdered before Altaïr's arrival. From there, he left the safe house to rescue Maria and the resistance members.
After successfully rescuing the men at Kyrenia's harbor, he was able to learn that Maria was taken away by Moloch's son, Shalim. After liberating the resistance members, Altaïr regrouped with Markos to report of the men's status. With the uncertainty of the Oracle's mysticism, Altaïr decided to explore the Oracle's supposed prison at Buffavento Castle. There, he overheard Bouchart and Shalim, who made mention of a delivery to Alexander, which Altaïr believed to be a sign of treachery. Dwelling further into the castle, Altaïr located the Oracle and had to assassinate her in her cell, as she attacked him in a crazed frenzy, before he left the castle.
Returning to the safe house, Altaïr asked Markos for information regarding Shalim. Told very little, he tasked himself with tailing Shalim to learn more about him. Following him, Altaïr witnessed him and his men harass the citizens of Kyrenia, and takes it upon himself to liberate them. After doing so, he reported back to Markos, and learned that he regularly confessed at a nearby church. Conversing with a monk, he set up a meeting, but the monk was killed by a Templar assailant. Altaïr gave chase, though was only able to pick up one of the agent's belongings. Reporting to Markos, he learned that Shalim was frequently seen by the harbor, and decided to pick up where he left off by heading there.
Altaïr saw a group of beautiful women meant for Shalim's entertainment, and amongst them was Maria in disguise. Following the carriage the women rode on, Altaïr reached Saint Hilarion Castle and prepared to infiltrate the castle in search of Shalim. Just as he located Shalim, Altaïr saw Maria conversing with him, who talked about the Templars' intention with the Apple. Deserted by Maria, Altaïr prepared to duel both Shalim and his twin Shahar, who he thought was the former.
Dealing with the twins, Altaïr left the castle and reported back to Markos. Altaïr learned that Kyrenia has been fully liberated of the Templars, and that their fleets set sail for Limassol once more, to which he left in pursuit.
Altaïr located the newly rebuilt safe house and rendezvoused with Alexander, who immediately branded the Assassin as a traitor, much to his surprise. Altaïr explained the chain of events to Alexander, who subsequently told him of the Templars' abuse of power. Altaïr first dealt with the captain guards, then asked several of the pirates for Bouchart's whereabouts whilst posing as a Templar messenger.
Altaïr learnt of a recent murder committed by a Templar sergeant and left to interrogate him. After doing so, he was pointed to Demetris if he wanted more information. Questioning Demetris, he learned that he was the perpetrator of the murder, though he was killed by the same agent from Kyrenia before he could reveal any more.
Unable to chase the agent, Altaïr returned to the safe house, though he only found a note from Alexander, instructing him to meet by the castle's courtyard. Doing so, he saw Alexander's corpse, and was greeted by the Templar agent, who was also the impostor of Barnabas.
The agent was able to turn the whole town against Altaïr, as a mob made their way to the courtyard ready to drive him out. With this, the Assassin was forced to utilize the Apple of Eden to drive the civilians away without casualty. After this, the agent asked for the Apple, though as he did, he was stabbed by Maria from behind.
After an argument, Maria informed Altaïr of the Archive's location, which was within the Castle premises. After dealing with a group of Templar soldiers, Altaïr proceeded into the Archive.
Arriving to the sight of Bouchart knocking Maria out, Bouchart mentioned their true plans and intentions. The Archive had existed while under Comnenus' rule, and because of his defeat by King Richard, the Archive was compromised. To prevent this, the Templars were forced to buy the island, and due to Altaïr's meddling, was also forced to liberate the artifacts out of it.
After he was finished, Bouchart engaged in combat with Altaïr, but was eventually defeated. After helping Maria recover, Altaïr escaped the crumbling structure with Maria and the two of them made their way out before it was destroyed.
From there, Altaïr and Maria discussed their future intentions by Limassol's harbor. While Maria stated that her interests were sailing East for India, Altaïr pondered over his journey and understanding of the Creed. Afterwards, he too said that he would head eastwards and the two left the harbor together.
Development of Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines was announced on July 16, 2009, 6 months after Assassin's Creed II was announced, debuting on GameTrailers with a short cinematic placed on an image of the PlayStation Portable.
The trailer was narrated by one of the in-game bosses, Moloch, and revealed very few details, such as the location of the game, Cyprus, and the installment's protagonist, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. The game was being developed by Ubisoft Montreal in conjunction with Griptonite Games.
It was revealed in E3 2009 that interconnectivity between Bloodlines and Assassin's Creed II would be available, allowing players to earn bonuses on both games after connecting the PSP system to the PS3 Console.
A limited edition was also planned to be sold, which included a white PSP, along with a UMD of the game. The package also included a UMD of the movie Angels and Demons, as well as a 2 gigabyte memory stick.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines has the ability to connect with the PS3 system to earn bonuses on both installments. Depending on how many Codex pages the player has collected in Assassin's Creed II, players can unlock health bonuses in Bloodlines, as well as receive upgrades for the hidden blade that roughly resemble the ones present in Assassin's Creed II.
|Health Upgrade||Collecting Codex Pages||Increases Altaïr's health. The amount added depends on the number of Codex pages collected.|
|Hidden Blade Armor Plating||Collecting the 13th Codex Page||Grants Altaïr the ability to block using the Hidden Blade.|
|Knife-Gun||Collecting the 28th Codex Page||Grants Altaïr the ability to fire knives out of the Hidden Blade.|
- Altaïr's voice in Bloodlines is different from his in Assassin's Creed, possessing a Middle Eastern accent that was not present in the previous game.
- The design for the throwing knives has been altered. In the first game, it is simply a flat knife, but in the game, it now possess a cylindrical hilt and a four sided blade.
- During the introductory cut-scene of Bloodlines, a short version of "Access the Animus," one of the first game's original scores, can be faintly heard in the background.
- Throughout the game, Altaïr's model is rendered without the short blade's sheath on his back. This creates a minor visual glitch in the animation, causing Altaïr to reach for his back when drawing (and returning) the short blade, even though nothing is there.
- At the end of each Memory Block (except for the sixth), a cut-scene plays where Altaïr is seen writing down his thoughts on his personal journal; the journal that would later become the Codex. The exact time and date this occurs is debatable, but based on what is written in the Codex, it is more likely that he began to work on it after the events in Bloodlines, due to conflicting events.
- However, some entries from the Codex show that Altaïr wrote entries before his time on Cyprus.
- The Apple of Eden can be seen on Altaïr's desk while he writes the Codex pages between Memory Blocks.
- The only actions present in Assassin's Creed and not in Bloodlines are the Gentle push, which is replaced by Grab, and Eagle Vision, which is replaced by "Target."
- In each Codex entry, Altaïr wrote the following subjects (in chronological order):
- His time with the Apple of Eden.
- His opinion and observations about the Apple of Eden's creation and origin.
- The common man's natural instincts that results to violence.
- The origins and legacy of the First Civilization.
- His confrontation with Al Mualim.
- The chaos that surrounded life, and life's purpose.
- While Desmond does not make a physical appearance within the game, the tutorial segment mentions the Animus user as Subject 17, Desmond's subject number.