According to a former art director at Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed II was almost set on the Yucatan peninsula when the Mayans were in power.
Talk about Montezuma’s revenge. Instead of the iconic church roofs and gondolas of Renaissance era Italy, Ezio could have been running around the lush jungles and step pyramids of the Yucatan Peninsula. For all we know, the protagonist wouldn’t have been named Ezio at all. All of this is up for speculation because Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, the art director for Deus Ex Revolution and formerly of Ubisoft, revealed that Ubisoft Montreal had originally planned to set Assassin’s Creed II in Mexico.
“When I was still at Ubisoft, the word was [Assassin’s Creed II] was going to be set during the Mayan era,” Jacques-Belletête said. “When I saw the first teaser later on I was like: ‘argh.'”
Jacques-Belletête is now working on the Deus Ex reboot at Eidos Montreal, and was ticked off when he saw that AC2 was “copying” the Renaissance feel of his new project. Of course, he said that Eidos was working on Deus Ex first.
“You can only take my word for it but we had no idea,” he said. “We started Deus Ex way before Assassin’s Creed 2 by the way.
“I remember when word first came out I called some people and was like: ‘Wasn’t it supposed to be fucking Aztecs?'”
Despite the fact that Jacques-Beleltete uses Aztec and Maya interchangeably when they were very different cultures, I have to say that is the best quote from a game developer that I’ve read all week.