- "I thought my work was done. I was wrong. Once more, I must venture into the fray. By recruiting enemies of the state, we arm those who have been disarmed by the Borgia. The greed, the corruption, the tyranny my enemies have spread will burn to the ground. From the ashes of vengeance, a new Rome will rise."
- ―Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Launch Trailer.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a 2010 video game and the direct sequel of 2009's Assassin's Creed II, picking up right after the conclusion of the previous game.
The story once again features Ezio Auditore da Firenze, now a legendary Master Assassin, as he strives to rebuild the Assassin Brotherhood in Rome, by bringing down the tyrannical Templar family, the Borgia, and bringing the city into the true wealth and wonder of the Renaissance.
A sequel for Brotherhood was announced in May 2011, entitled Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and was released in November of the same year.
Brotherhood retains the gameplay from its predecessor, with many significant new additions. Combat with the knife, sword and mace is now dual-wielded, paired with throwing knives and the Hidden Gun respectively. This allows Ezio to seamlessly utilize the ranged weapons in the middle of combat. In addition, a new kill-streak feature allows Ezio to continuously move from enemy to enemy and perform multiple takedowns and executions using melee weapons. Utilizing dual-wielded weapons also allow Ezio to perform dual executions that work in conjunction to the kill-streak feature.
Ezio can now carry heavy weapons after upgrading his sheath, and is able to hurl them towards enemies to perform an instant kill, which can also be done with spears and halberds that Ezio picks up. The crossbow has also been added to Ezio's arsenal, allowing silent ranged takedowns. In addition, the poison darts have also been introduced as an extension to the Poison Blade, which can be gained through upgrades from Leonardo da Vinci himself, along with the second Hidden Blade and the Climb Leap Glove. Also, every utility in Ezio's weapon wheel can now be manually assigned to one of the four quick-access buttons, instead of being given a default setup.
Horse mechanics have also been upgraded. Ezio can now take a horse through city districts rather than just the countryside, and can call for his horse at any given time while free-roaming. Combat on horseback now allows Ezio to utilize some of his ranged weapons, namely the Hidden Gun and the crossbow. Ezio can now also perform assassinations while on horseback, as well as assassinate enemies that are mounted on a horse in addition to being able to hijack them while on foot. Replacing the fast travel booths are the tunnels, which Ezio can access to go to fixed points in Rome.
The renovation system, limited only to Monteriggioni before, has now been updated to encompass all of Rome. Select areas of Rome are kept under watch by the Borgia with their towers, and in order to begin renovations, Ezio must eliminate the tower's captain, and then destroy the tower. Stores and stalls such as doctors, blacksmiths, art merchants, tailors, and banks, have to be renovated by Ezio in order to fully restore Rome. Other buildings include horse stables and buildings for mercenaries, thieves, and courtesans to occupy, as well as various landmarks, such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum.
Some time later, Ezio is able to recruit apprentices into his cause. Several civilians being harassed by the Borgia can be rescued by Ezio, and will pledge their allegiance to him once saved. While in Rome, Ezio can command several apprentices to incapacitate guards on his command, and can call forth an arrow storm once he has recruited enough apprentices. Ezio can also send apprentices to other countries in Europe and Asia to take on contracts, wherein they can gain additional experience, as well as money and trade objects for Ezio. Apprentices gain experience while under Ezio, gaining better equipment as they go along, until they can be fully initiated into the Order, wherein they gain superior equipment and armor and becoming fully fledged Assassins. Apprentices also occasionally take part in Ezio's missions, such as assassinating major targets and acting as his backup.
Numerous side-activities are available all throughout Rome. Replacing the Assassin Tombs are the Lairs of Romulus, where the Followers of Romulus keep the keys necessary to unlock the armor and dagger of Marcus Junius Brutus, as well as his documents. Ezio had also been given special missions by Leonardo da Vinci, where he must destroy his War Machines, weapons of warfare located in undisclosed states, before the Borgia could utilize them. In addition to Assassination contracts, Ezio now has special assignments for both the Thieves and the Courtesans. After renovating a significant portion of Rome, several repressed memories of Ezio's past lover, Cristina Vespucci, can also be relived. Feathers return as collectibles, as well as Borgia flags.
In the modern day, Desmond is given more leeway in his activities, as he can exit the Animus at any time outside of missions. When outside the Animus, Desmond can interact with the team and certain objects in their hideout, as well as log in to his and the team's email accounts. Desmond can exit the Sanctuary in order to explore present day Monteriggioni for a set amount of time. While there are no civilians present and there are little to no objects for Desmond to interact with, Desmond can collect a total of five artifacts around Monteriggioni, all of which belonged to Ezio and his company while there. Once the timer has run out, Desmond will simply return to the hideout, and can leave again soon afterwards.
Introduced for the first time in the series is a multiplayer mode. Online players are introduced as subjects taking part in the first stage of Abstergo's Animi Training Program, which allows them to assume the role of several noted Templars during the Renaissance. There, they can compete with each other to progress through the ranks of Abstergo, as well as develop their own skills through the bleeding effect. Subjects play on digitally recreated maps of several known areas, wherein they can participate in several modes to either compete or cooperate with each other.
In order to progress in rank and experience, subjects had to score points in sessions, with the manner in which they did so depending on the game mode. At the subjects' disposal, aside from their avatars' weapons, are abilities which they can use on their targets to debilitate them, or utilize it themselves to gain the upper hand. Preset perks and streak bonuses give the subject a passive advantage in each session.
Using the Animus 2.0, Desmond Miles attempted to relive one of the later memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore, hoping that it would reveal the location of his Apple of Eden, which could allow them to prevent the foretold disaster. However, instead of entering the memory set in 1506, he was forced into a different one, occurring during a battle in Viana. From there, as Ezio looked upon the besieged Viana Castle, he recalled the similar events of the Siege of Monteriggioni, subsequently forcing Desmond back further, into a memory from 1499.
Siege of Monteriggioni
- Main article: Siege of Monteriggioni
As Ezio left the Vault beneath the Vatican after listening to Minerva's message, he discovered that Rodrigo Borgia was gone. Noticing too that the Staff had been left behind, he attempted to extract it from where it had been impaled into the floor; however, it descended and was sealed away.
Mario Auditore then called down to him from the entrance, and he and Ezio fought their way out of the Vatican. Ezio, unable to decide whether or not to cast the Apple into the Tiber River, gave it to Mario for safe keeping. The two then rode back to Monteriggioni on horseback.
However, Ezio soon learned that the Templar threat had diminished little, when Cesare Borgia, son of Rodrigo Borgia, laid siege to Monteriggioni. Cesare's army of soldiers, towers, and cannons attacked in full force, destroying much of the city and villa. The attack ended with Monteriggioni in ruins, Ezio wounded badly by arquebusiers, and Mario killed by Cesare himself. Though Ezio attempted to follow his uncle's murderer on horseback, he passed out on the road to Rome from his injuries.
At that point, Desmond woke from the Animus stationed in the back of the Assassins' van, they having arrived at the Villa Auditore in modern Monteriggioni, their last safehouse in Italy. Lucy Stillman explained that they need to recover Ezio's Apple of Eden, as she suspected that Minerva had altered it somehow when she had touched it in the Vault.
Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca then headed for the Villa, seeking the safety of the underground Sanctuary, which would keep them hidden from Abstergo's cell towers. However, as the door was locked, Desmond and Lucy left to discover another way in. After making their way through the secret passage that Ezio and the citizens had used to flee the Borgia attack, they opened the way for Shaun and Rebecca.
Inside the Sanctuary, Desmond saw an aged Ezio due to the bleeding effect, and deduced that he must have returned to the villa many years after the attack, though for an unknown purpose. He also found a symbol that Ezio had drawn on the wall and, using Eagle Vision, saw a series of numbers hidden underneath.
The four of them then set up the Animus 2.0, and Desmond returned to Ezio's memories, with Lucy believing that improving his synchronization with Ezio would allow Desmond to access the memory revealing the location of the Apple.
War in Rome
- Main article: Liberation of Rome
Ezio regained consciousness in a small house in Rome, where the woman who had been tending to him told him that a man had brought him there, and had supplied him with new armor and clothing. After leaving the house and receiving medicine from a doctor, Ezio left to meet with Niccolò Machiavelli.
Through Machiavelli, he discovered that Rome was in disrepair, and that the citizens were being oppressed by the Borgia. Later, he would also stumble across the Followers of Romulus, and explore one of their lairs, Nero's Golden Palace.
Basing himself on Tiber Island in the center of the city, Ezio began his mission to rid the city of the influence of Cesare and his generals. To do so, Ezio reestablished relationships between his Assassins Guild and the other guilds in the city, namely that of the Courtesans (led by madonna Solari, and later Claudia Auditore), the Thieves (led by La Volpe) and the Mercenaries (led by Bartolomeo d'Alviano).
Ezio then began to rebuild the Brotherhood by recruiting Apprentices, who were made up of both distressed citizens who wished to liberate their city, and young novice Assassins, such as Francesco Vecellio. After the recruits had completed their training, he placed them in teams and sent them on missions across Europe.
Ezio then began to break down the Borgia influence in Rome by destroying several Borgia towers and their captains. He also sabotaged Cesare's forces by striking at their arsenal, their military funding, and their support from the French forces. To do so, he destroyed the war machines of Leonardo da Vinci, and assassinated two of Cesare's key generals, his Banker, Juan Borgia, and the French general, Octavian de Valois.
Afterwards, he was informed that Pietro Rossi, an actor and Lucrezia Borgia's plaything, possessed a key to the Castel Sant'Angelo. Knowing that he would need it in order to assassinate Cesare and Rodrigo successfully, Ezio tailed after Micheletto Corella, Cesare's personal assassin, who had been sent to kill Pietro. After Ezio had rescued him, both from being stabbed with a spear during his play, and from the ailments of poison, Pietro handed the Assassin the key to the Castello.
Soon afterwards, Ezio infiltrated the Castel, where he witnessed the murder of Rodrigo by his son, Cesare. Cesare forced the location of the Apple of Eden from Lucrezia, and hurried to retrieve it from Basilica di San Pietro. However, Ezio successfully reached the Apple before Cesare, and subsequently used it to demilitarize the remnants of Cesare's army.
In one last battle, Ezio and his fellow Assassins fought Cesare and his surviving men at the gates of Rome. Cesare was arrested by Fabio Orsini by the order of the new Pope, though not before commenting that he would not be in chains for long and that he would never be killed by any man.
Sometime later, Ezio, troubled by Cesare's comments, discussed them with Leonardo, who suggested using the Apple to find out if what he said was true. Ezio was hesitant, but decided to take his advice, and discovered that Cesare would indeed free himself from prison. Ezio declared that he needed to leave at once, reassuring Leonardo's concerns for the Assassin Guild he was leaving behind by saying, "I built this Brotherhood to last, with or without me."
- Main article: Siege of Viana
In 1507, Ezio finally tracked Cesare down at the Siege of Viana, Spain. Ezio fought through the infantry, and finally managed to corner Cesare on the castle wall. There, in a climactic battle, Ezio managed to destroy Cesare's armor and ultimately defeat him. Though Cesare insisted that he would not die in the hands of man, Ezio then left him to the "hands of fate," and threw him from the battlements to his death.
Recovering the Apple
Desmond emerged from the Animus shortly after reliving this memory, listening to his teammates deducing a way to get into the Vault. Just as Rebecca mentioned that they needed a spoken password to enter it, a blackout occurred, cutting them off from using the Animus to find out. However, Desmond realized that the symbol he had seen on the door of the Vault was the same one he had seen drawn on the villa wall. Shaun discovered that the sequence of numbers hidden behind the symbol referred to the seventy-two names of God, setting the password to be 72.
The Assassins then drove to the Colosseo in Rome, and Desmond separated from the others to find a way into the Vault. As he traveled the underground passageway, he encountered another of Those Who Came Before, Juno, who spoke at length of the downfall of humankind.
Arriving inside the Santa Maria Aracoeli, Desmond unlocked the door for his teammates and, shortly afterwards, witnessed a memory of Ezio free-running through the church. He followed him and activated a system of bars and levers, finally causing a small pedestal to emerge from the floor. Placing his hand on it, Desmond activated the floor, lowering the four of them down to the door of the Vault.
Desmond spoke the password, and the door opened to reveal a large empty chamber, with a tall platform raised in the middle, upon which the Apple awaited. Desmond activated the staircase up to it by jumping across a series of pillars; while Juno's voice echoed through the cavern as she spoke cryptically of humans, the Pieces of Eden and a "sixth sense." However, Desmond was apparently the only one who could hear her.
Once the Assassins had access to the platform, Desmond touched the Apple, and a series of holographic symbols appeared.
Shaun mentioned that two of the most distinct ones, the Phrygian Cap and the Masonic Eye, only came together in one place; however, when Desmond picked up the Apple, time seemed to stop and he found himself controlled by Juno. Though he struggled, she forced him to draw his Hidden Blade and stab Lucy in the abdomen. The two then fell to the ground unconscious, with blood pooling around Lucy.
Later, William Miles and Harlan T. Cunningham could be heard speaking, saying that Desmond had gone into shock. William ordered Harlan to put Desmond back into the Animus, despite Harlan's protests on how badly the Animus had affected Desmond already. Desmond had entered a coma, though William claimed that Desmond would live through it.
- Roger Craig Smith as Ezio Auditore da Firenze
- Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman
- Nolan North as Desmond Miles
- Fred Tatasciore as Mario Auditore
- Carlos Ferro as Leonardo da Vinci
- Manuel Tadros as Pope Alexander VI
- Angela Galuppo as Claudia Auditore da Firenze
- Elias Toufexis as Federico Auditore da Firenze
- Alex Ivanovici as Bartolomeo d'Alviano
- Arthur Holden as Octavian de Valois
- Holden also voiced Ercole Massimo
- Liane Balaban as Lucrezia Borgia
- Danny Wallace as Shaun Hastings
- Eliza Jane Schneider as Rebecca Crane
- Harry Standjofski as Juan Borgia the Elder
- Vito DeFilippo as Gilberto, a.k.a. "La Volpe"
- Andreas Apergis as Cesare Borgia
- Jennifer Seguin as Animus
- Cristina Rosato as Caterina Sforza
- Shawn Baichoo as Niccolò Machiavelli
- Amber Mullin as Cristina Vespucci
- Cam Clarke as Clay Kaczmarek, a.k.a. "Subject 16"
- Nadia Verrucci as Juno
- Philip Proctor as Warren Vidic
- Castel Gandolfo
- San Donato
- Mont Saint-Michel (DLC)
- Pienza (DLC)
- Alhambra (DLC)
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Montreal also worked on both of the other main Assassin's Creed games in the series and was thus chosen to lead production for the third installment. A new Assassin's Creed episode featuring multiplayer was announced during Ubisoft's 2009 fiscal third quarter results while not revealing its name. In early May 2010, a GameStop employee published on the internet some images of a pre-order box featuring the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood title while Ubisoft was teasing the game on Facebook and Twitter. Ubisoft then confirmed the authenticity of these pictures. Brotherhood has not been numbered unlike Assassin's Creed II because players, and even developers themselves would have expected a new setting and a new ancestor while this is only the continuation of Ezio's story.
The game was developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal in Canada. Production was aided in part by four other Ubisoft developers: Annecy, Singapore, Bucharest and Québec City. The multiplayer mode is mainly developed by Ubisoft Annecy, the studio responsible for creating multiplayer mode in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Ubisoft also announced plans for downloadable content (DLC) after the game's launch. Two sets of free DLC have already been released under the names "Animus Project Update 1.0" and "Animus Project Update 2.0". The first includes the new map Mont Saint-Michel and one new mode, Advanced Alliance. The "Animus Project Update 2.0" was released in January 2011, was also free, and included another map, mode and the introduction of a player grading system. From the perspective of performance, Ubisoft have commented that they hope the gaps between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will be even smaller with Brotherhood.
While still in development, creative director Patrice Désilets left before the game's presentation at the E3 2010. Ubisoft and production manager Jean-Francois Boivin stated that he only took a "creative break" after completing his task on Brotherhood. A teaser trailer of the multiplayer mode was released on the official site before the E3. A cinematic debut trailer was diffused during Ubisoft's E3 2010 press conference along a walkthrough of the game's beginning. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood reached gold status on October 28, 2010. The Microsoft Windows version uses Tagès copy protection, as well as Ubisoft online services platform, but doesn't require an always-on Internet connection to play. On November 30, 2010, a novelization of the game was published. The novel is a sequel to the previous novel.
- The background of the game's title menu cycles between the blue of Abstergo's Animus (1.28), and the white of the Assassins' Animus 2.0 if the specific menu is highlighted.
- In the multiplayer mode, despite all the characters being Templars and using Abstergo's Animi 1.28, the desynchronization animation and the blend animation are from the Animus 2.0.
- Nolan North, the voice actor of Desmond Miles, had admitted to be working on a new Assassin's Creed game before any official announcement, and game developers said that his story would "take an interesting turn."
- The covers of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game show Ezio with dual Hidden Blades in an "X" pointing upwards, while on the PC version cover, the blades are facing downwards.
- The PC version of Brotherhood can be played on three monitors.
- On the cover Ezio can be seen wearing identical bracers, whereas in the game they are not.
- During the ending sequence in the Colosseum Vault, the images of Phrygian Cap and Masonic Eye were constantly projected on either side of Desmond Miles as he struggled against the Apple of Eden's power. Coupled with Shaun Hastings' line about the two symbols coming together in one place, the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, it was the first hint of the American Revolutionary War being a setting for another installment of the series.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was later released in the Assassin's Creed Anthology collector's edition box, consisting of the main games in the Assassin's Creed series.