For whatever reason, game publishers maintain the illusion that if a game isn't announced via press release, it doesn't officially exist. Case in point: Ubisoft is still pretending that nobody knows about Assassin's Creed 2, despite the title being name-checked by CEO Yves Guillemot on two separate occasions.
However, the time is nearly nigh for Ubisoft to make Assassin's Creed 2's existence officially official, given that the publisher launched a new teaser site for the game today. The site depicts a brief Flash movie that displays the scrawling of famed Italian inventor Leonardo da Vinci. However, Ubisoft has taken some liberties with da Vinci's venerable drawings, adding a retractable blade to the Vitruvian Man's wrist, among other tweaks. The Flash video ends with the words "Game Informer 04.16.09," written in reverse, apparently teasing a reveal in the GameStop-owned print magazine.
Though initial rumor-mongering appeared to indicate that Assassin's Creed 2 would fast-forward the series from its 12th century Holy Land roots to 18th century France, the teaser site appears to confirm a second rumor, pegging the setting as 15th/16th century Venice, Italy. According to this second online report, Assassin's Creed 2 will introduce a bolt pistol, and disguises such as masks will play a prominent role in the game's stealth mechanics.
According to Guillemot, Assassin's Creed 2 is expected to ship sometime before March 31, 2010.