Source: The GameFAQs forums, relating information from a since-deleted Ubisoft message board post.
What we heard: On Monday, Ubisoft set the gears of the Assassin's Creed 2 hype machine in motion, launching a teaser site for the sequel to 2007's well-received multiplatform action adventure. Visitors to the site are greeted with a brief Flash clip panning through the journal of famed Italian inventor Leonardo da Vinci. The short teaser ends with word that a full review of Assassin's Creed 2 is expected to arrive with the upcoming issue of Game Informer magazine, which is owned by retailer GameStop.
On its Web site today, Game Informer confirmed that Assassin's Creed 2 will indeed be the cover story of its upcoming issue. The site also noted in a brief blurb that the title will be set in "Renaissance-era Venice" and will follow the travails of new protagonist Ezio, a young Italian noble. For more on its "world exclusive," the blurb teases, gamers will have to spring for the May issue of the mag...
...or wait until the Internet gets its collective hands on it a week early. Yesterday, a poster on Ubisoft's official forums offered a detailed accounting of purported Assassin's Creed 2 information that will be included in the May issue of Game Informer. (Before the post was deleted by a Ubisoft forums administrator, a GameFAQs user secured a copy of the original message.)
The post offers a litany of alleged details on Assassin's Creed 2. According to the original message, the game will offer a number of famous Venetian locales, including da Vinci's workshop, Saint Mark's Basilica, The Grand Canal, The Little Canal, and the Rialto Bridge. Players will also supposedly be afforded trips through the Tuscan countryside, circa 1476. A number of historical figures will also reportedly be present, including Niccolo Machiavelli, Caterina Sofrza, and Lorenzo de Medici, the latter of which is said to be the subject of an assassination attempt.
Ezio--full name Ezio Auditore de Firenze--will apparently have a number of weapons to choose from, including "an axe, a hammer, a mace, a spear, two different sword types, a [halberd], and two smaller blades." Each weapon is said to have a special move associated with it, and Ezio will be able to disarm opponents and use their fumbled weaponry against them.
Continuing with the Venice theme, swimming will reportedly be an option in the game. And, as speculated following Ubisoft's official teaser, the leaked details claim that Ezio will be able to take to the skies using da Vinci's flying machine. The report also states that a day-and-night cycle has been added to the game.
Moving on to specific gameplay details, the Game Informer reveal will also reportedly say that Assassin's Creed will sport 16 mission types, a dramatic increase over the original's four. Two mission types supposedly not included, however, will be eavesdropping and pickpocketing. A number of new enemy types are said to have been added, including archers, "as well as elite enemies, dagger wielders, 'Brutish' armored troops with heavy armor and two-handed swords and axes, and an intelligent halberd enemy will probe hiding places with their weapons if they think you're nearby."
The post goes on to state that Assassin's Creed 2 will also include a number of holdover mechanics from the original, including tower climbing and horseback riding, and assassinations can now reportedly be performed while Ezio is concealed in a stack of hay. Hidden objects will also return, though the report indicates that players will gain in-game benefits by hunting them down this time around.
The official story: "I can confirm that the information in the upcoming Game Informer magazine is factually correct," a word-mincing Ubisoft representative told GameSpot.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. However, it's impossible to say with certainty whether the forum poster was accurate in his details until Game Informer hits newsstands next week.