Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
With Assassin's Creed II's entirely different era, location, and protagonist than the original, it seemed like the franchise was destined to face radical shifts with each new installment. Its fiction lent itself nicely to the idea, with Desmond anchoring the core story in 2012 while the player darted across rooftops as his stealthy ancestors. Despite this, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will directly continue Ezio's story as it left off in II. Unlike the last game, however, Ezio won't be alone.
Ubisoft isn't about to abandon the series' core elements of stealth, acrobatics, and combat, however. You'll still be dispatching oblivious guards with an assortment of gadgets and blades, but you'll also use your newfound infamy to inspire others within the city. As a master assassin, you have the ability to inspire "rebels without a cause" and give them a sense of purpose. These proteges will make up your guild of assassins, and can be deployed as you see fit. Specifics regarding how these mechanics will play out are sparse, but it promises to be one of the most significant gameplay enhancements in Brotherhood.
Rome was the original city of choice for Assassin's Creed II, but was deemed too large. Research of Italy's capital started back in 2008, giving the team a head start when it came time to start on Brotherhood. Ubisoft promises that Rome will be three times the size of II's Florence, and a huge part of the game revolves around restoring the crumbling city. Details are sparse, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the return of II's villa restoration elements.
Brotherhood will break from series tradition in one major way, as it introduces a full multiplayer mode. Ezio and Altair always focused more on attacking from the shadows than with head-on force, and the multiplayer will reflect that. Rather than standard deathmatches, Brotherhood gives specific kill orders to players of eight different character types. At the beginning of each round, the only information you're given is the type of character you're looking for and a radar to guide you to the general vicinity.
Onscreen indicators don't tip you off as to whether that priest you're looking at is an innocent AI or your human target, so you have to utilize a keen eye to spot unusual behavior. If your target is a careful player, he'll blend in with the crowd so as not to arouse suspicion. If he's impatient and darts towards his destination, he's far more likely to be the recipient of a throwing knife to the skull.
Each character type can utilize unique abilities to aid them in their escape. One character can cause all NPCs in an area to resemble himself, while another can send a decoy NPC bolting in an effort to draw the killer's attention. Like many modern competitive multiplayer games, Brotherhood will reward you with perks as you progress. They won't all involve NPC actions like the prior examples, as others are more persistent attributes like quicker speed or quieter footsteps. You'll need any edge you can get, as you'll have someone hot on your trail the entire time you're stalking your own prey.
With new single player features and a brand-new multiplayer experience that draws on the series' best elements, Brotherhood should definitely be on the radar for fans of the hit stealth series.