A war is raging in the streets of Constantinople in 1511, and its borders stretch out across the breadth of the Mediterranean region. The Templars and the Assassins battle for control of the great cities. The assassins have a general in this war, and his name is Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

That’s the top-level idea behind a brand new system that infiltrates the story of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Throughout Ezio’s mission to recover ancient seals hidden across Constantinople, he’ll also be juggling his role as the leader of the Assassin order. In that role, he must train new assassins, send them out across the city and the wider region, and ensure that the Assassins remain in control of as much territory as possible. “We really liked the Borgia Towers in Brotherhood, where you got to take over the city from the Templars,” explains creative director Alexandre Amancio. “We started with that, and then completely revamped the system to create something new. It allows you to not only fight and gain control of the city, but to have an organic fight.”

In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, players controlled Ezio in a fun action loop. Bring down the Borgia captain. Burn his tower. Open shops. Make money. That idea has been reworked and focused in Assassin’s Creed Revelations to deliver more variety and offer a fun distraction from the main story while continuing the war of the Assassins and the Templars.

It starts with the concept of Assassin’s dens. These hidden locations across Constantinople are the bases of operations for Ezio’s allies. Control a den and its surrounding region and you’ll be able to upgrade all the shops and buildings in that area, including the den itself, which will provide more navigation options (like additional zip lines for the hook blade) in that part of the city. Each of the stores now has more levels of upgrades to move through than they did in Brotherhood, but they continue to provide a steady source of income for future purchases. As an added benefit, controlling a den will change the character of the surrounding guards. Regular Ottoman patrols will monitor the regions you control; they’ll still halt your illegal activities, but won’t be overtly hostile.

Unfortunately, these areas are under constant threat. The Templars will try to retake the regions of the city. In fact, they’ll be more likely to attack a region as your notoriety rises – a good reason to try and keep a low profile when you can. Lose a den, and you won't be able to upgrade its facilities. Ottoman guards will be replaced by aggressive Byzantine soldiers – the allies of the Templars.

When such an attack comes, Ezio has a few options. He can go in person to lead the defense of the den and its surrounding region. Alternately, if he can’t be bothered, he can send some of his trainee Assassins to do the job for him. Like assassin missions in Brotherhood, you’ll see a percentage chance of success depending on whom you send to hold the line. Finally, if you want to be assured that a particular assassin’s den will forever remain under control, you can install one of your fully trained master assassins as the den’s leader. 

Next up: Leveling up your assassin army, and sending that army out across the known world