What began as a Prince of Persia project, the original Assassin's Creed quickly became its own game. Allowing players to move freely around three cities set in 1109 during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land, Assassin's Creed followed Altair, a member of the Assassin Brotherhood, in his search for the mysterious "Piece of Eden" before the Knights Templar discover it.
Two years after Assassin's Creed launched, Assassin's Creed II released to widespread acclaim. Set during the Italian Renaissance in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the sequel follows Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a nobleman-turned-Assassin after the murder of his father and brothers. On his quest to avenge his family Ezio uncovers a centuries long war between the Knights Templar and Assassins. Just like its predecessor, Assassin's Creed II not only follows Ezio, but his descendant Desmond Miles set in 2012 as he flees the Knights Templar's in his search for the Apple of Eden long hidden by his ancestor.
Assassin's Creed II follows its predecessor by allowing players to explore a masterful recreation of Italy spanning five different regions -- Venice, Florence, Forli, San Gimignano, and the Tuscan countryside. Along with the new setting Ubisoft Montreal added its own economic system, letting players to buy and renovate properties. Ezio is able to buy and sell medicine, poison, weapons, and dyes for their clothing. By completing these renovations Ezio generates income that he can then use to upgrade his equipment and buy paintings to decorate his family's villa, located in Monteriggioni.
Along with the economic system Ubisoft added a plethora of new features. Unlike the original, Assassin's Creed II allows Ezio to swim as well as hide in the water from perusing guards. Players were also allowed to hire mercenaries, courtesans, or thieves scattered throughout the cities. These groups would then aid Ezio by distracting or starting fights with guards. Ezio would also have the ability to hide bodies in haystacks and loot them for money.