Assassins' Creed 2 - September 8th, 2012; 15th Century
Assassin's Creed 2 picks up exactly where the first game left off: Desmond escapes Abstergo Industries with Lucy, who leads him to a safe house. Lucy promises to 'train' Desmond in the ways of the assassin, using the Animus 2.0 to sync his abilities with those of another ancestor. This ancestor is Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an assassin who lived during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th Century.
At the start of the game, we find Ezio's family caught up political matters, and his father and brothers are seized and hung. Retrieving his father's equipment, Ezio flees the city with his mother and sisters to live at his uncle's villa. An Assassin in the making, Ezio seeks revenge on the murderers of his family.
With the help of his uncle, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci, Ezio assassinates the political figures at the heart of the conspiracy, eventually leading him to mastermind of the plot: the Spaniard, Rodrigo Borgia.
Led to the Vatican, Ezio finds Borgia in possession of the Apple - the same Piece of Eden that Altaïr had recovered in the first game - and learns that Borgia believes himself to be "The Prophet" that will lead the Templars to a fabled "Vault". Ezio is able to recover the Apple, but Borgia flees before he can be killed.
Catching up with Borgia in Vatican City several years later, Ezio plans to finally exact his revenge. When the moment comes, however, he can't bring himself to do it: killing Borgia will not bring back his father or brothers. He uses the Apple to open an entrance to the Vault - and then things start to get interesting.
Ezio meets an apparition - a divine entity who calls herself Minerva. This apparition isn't interested in Ezio, however, and speaks through him, relaying a warning to Desmond. Before getting to what that warning is, however, let's back up a minute.
Who is this Minerva? Not a god, she reveals - just a more advanced race that came before humans. These beings created humans by using the piece of Eden, in fact - so they're gods of sorts. But here's the thing: the human race would only obey these 'gods' with the piece of Eden in their possession.
Still with me? Good, because another variable is about to enter the equation.
Over the course of the first two games, Desmond learns of Subject 16: another man held captive by Abstergo, who has used the Animus. Subject 16 knows a lot, and has left a message for Desmond in the Animus. Deciphering glyphs hidden around Italy, a video of 'The Truth' is revealed. The video shows a couple being chased through a futuristic looking environment. At the end, we learn that the man is called Adam, and the woman, Eve. Here's the crucial bit: Eve has the apple. She stole it.
So, having stolen the apple which gives these beings their power, the humans rebel and wage war with the gods, eventually driving them from Earth. After a cataclysmic event, God and humans are united once more, but the gods are left weakened and in short numbers after the war. The gods eventually die out. All that is left of them is a date: 21.12.12 - the date this cataclysmic event is said to return; a date that the Mayans have predicted for years.
Yeah. So it all gets a bit confusing by this point, and you can only speculate on a few things. Minerva leaves a message for future generations in a vault in Italy. Trouble is, Ezio gets there too early - but the gods foresaw this, and use Ezio as a channel to Desmond. "It's up to you now!" she tells Desmond. This doesn't mean much to either Ezio or Desmond, and before Ezio can probe Minerva with more questions, Desmond is pulled out of the Animus.
The safehouse, it turns out, isn't so safe. After being discovered by Abstergo, it's time to pack up and find somewhere new. As they flee, Lucy reveals that they've discovered new weaknesses in the Earth's magnetic field, and that if a solar flare were to strike this weakness, the effects would cause a similar level of global destruction as described by Minerva - the end of the world, perhaps. Desmond agrees to help stop this by re-entering the Animus.