The maps displayed by the Animus acted as a compromise and visualization of an ancestor's memories of the region's layouts, as well as giving a sense of direction for the Animus user while reliving memories.
Representation via Animi
More areas appeared on the Animus map after every successful climb and synchronization with a view point. These virtual maps also marked certain key areas that could be recognized by a unique symbol.
While viewing the memories of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad in the Animus 1.28, the symbols indicated the Assassin bureau, investigation missions, such as eavesdropping, interrogation, pickpocketing, Assassin informants, exits to the Kingdom, and the locations of citizens that could be saved from the guards. Additionally, it displayed the icon for Altaïr's assassination target, after he was given leave to proceed by the city's bureau leader.
While viewing the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze in the Animus 2.0, symbols were displayed to mark key memories, side events such as races or courier assignments, shops like art merchants, doctors, blacksmiths, tailors, and travel booths, as well as hidden treasure chests and Assassin Tombs. This newer version of the Animus also featured a white and red color scheme, instead of the blue and white scheme of the Animus 1.28
In Rome, along with the previous symbols, several new ones had been added. These included unique icons for the four guilds - the Assassin's Guild, the Courtesan's Guild, the Mercenaries' Guild and the Thieves' Guild – as well as the Borgia towers and repressed memories of Cristina Vespucci.
In the Animus 2.03, the appearance of the map was similar to the map of Animus 1.28 and 2.0 with the same icons just like the previous Animus 2.01, with some minor differences.
While reliving the memories of Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton, Desmond could still use view points to uncover parts of the map, but walking through the city could reveal locations as well. The higher the viewpoint where the ancestor was, the more information would be revealed around them. Even simply running on rooftops would reveal more than walking on the ground, due to the higher elevation.
The Animus 3.0's map system was revamped to enable fast travel to any designated point, such as tunnel entrances, ports or captured forts. The map also logged any tasks or challenges Desmond had not completed.
While reliving Edward Kenway's memories of the West Indies, the map style had changed significantly. Locations fell into four rough categories: villages and towns, uninhabited deserted islands, forts, and large cities. Additionally, once a location had been fully explored and its collectibles retrieved, its icon would change color from white to gold. All of the location icons could be used as fast-travel points.
The maps were also divided into sections, each labeled by whatever fort lay within the area, which would appear foggy. After Kenway would take over said fort, the map's appearance for that area would be cleared of the fog, and additional points of interest would be revealed.
Any unvisited location would appear as a question mark until it was either revealed by taking over the area's fort or by viewing it through Kenway's spyglass while sailing.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the compass' directions had been rotated approximately 90º, with the Masyaf castle now in the east, rather than the north, as it was in Assassin's Creed.
- The map for Boston's underground tunnels in Assassin's Creed III was rotated 90º clockwise in relation to the regular map of the city.
- In the Animus interface of the maps, Shay and Aveline are the only playable characters to not feature the hooded variation of themselves on the character emblem since Aveline's default appearance has her wearing the tricorne hat and Shay has no headgear at all.
- It should still be noted that Shay only possessed a hooded variation of himself prior to his defection to the Templars.