Ezio Auditore da Firenze

Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɛttsjo audiˈtoːre da (f)fiˈrɛntse]) is a fictional character in the video game series Assassin's Creed, an Italian master assassin who serves as the protagonist of the series' games set during the Italian Renaissance. His life and career as an assassin are chronicled in Assassin's Creed II, II: Discovery, Brotherhood, and Revelations, as well as the animated short film Embers. All games (excluding II: Discovery) and films he appears in were re-released as an enhanced bundle, The Ezio Collection, in 2016. Ezio has also appeared in games outside of the Assassin's Creed series, such as Soulcalibur V, as a guest character.

Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Assassin's Creed character
Ezio Auditore da Firenze.png
Ezio in his outfit from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
First appearanceAssassin's Creed: Lineage (2009)
First gameAssassin's Creed II (2009)
Created byUbisoft Montreal
Portrayed byDevon Bostick
Voiced byRoger Craig Smith
In-universe information
OccupationAssassin
AffiliationAssassin Brotherhood
Fighting styleItalian school of swordsmanship
(Soulcalibur V)
FamilyGiovanni Auditore (father)
Maria Auditore (mother)
Federico Auditore (brother)
Petruccio Auditore (brother)
Claudia Auditore (sister)
SpouseSofia Sartor
ChildrenFlavia Auditore (daughter)
Marcello Auditore (son)
RelativesDomenico Auditore (great-grandfather)
Isabetta Auditore (great-grandmother)
Renato Auditore (ancestor)
Mario Auditore (paternal uncle)
Desmond Miles (descendant)
OriginRepublic of Florence (present day Tuscany, Italy)
NationalityItalian

Ezio is an ancestor (on the paternal side) of Desmond Miles, the protagonist of the modern-day portions of the first five main games in the series. Born into Italian nobility from Florence in 1459, he follows his family heritage as an assassin after most of his immediate kin are killed during the Pazzi conspiracy. His quest to track down those responsible for killing his family eventually sets him up against the villainous Templar Order, led by the House of Borgia. Spending years to fight against Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia and their henchmen, he eventually re-establishes the Order of Assassins as the dominant force in Italy. His further adventures lead him to the Kingdom of Navarre (northern Spain) and the Ottoman Empire, where he is also essential in overcoming Templar threats and restoring the Assassins. After his retirement from the Order, he lives a peaceful life in rural Tuscany until his eventual death from a heart attack in 1524.

The character has received critical acclaim. While most of it focuses on his portrayal and growth throughout the series, as well as the unique chronicling of his entire life, he has also been noted as one of the most attractive video game characters of all time. Due to his reception and the fact that he is the only character in the series who is the protagonist of multiple major installments of the franchise,[a] he is usually considered the face of the franchise and its most popular character.

DevelopmentEdit

When creating the character, the developers were keen on establishing similarities between the series' previous protagonist Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad in style and general appearance, while at the same time differentiating Ezio from the former characterwise.[1] His name, meaning eagle, was chosen to keep up the tradition of Altaïr, whose name meant "flying one".[2] While Altaïr was described as a warrior monk bred for combat and the life of an assassin, Ezio's backstory was consciously designed in sharp contrast to make playing him feel like an "empowering experience".[1] Unlike Altaïr, Ezio is not born into the order and discovers his heritage only in his teens, while his main goal for most of the first game is to seek revenge on those who murdered his family.[1] Even though this was made to be his main motivation for the early part of the game,[3] his personal growth was to enable him to seek justice as the game progressed.[2] He does not start out as a master assassin but has to hone his craft throughout, making him more relatable to players. Ezio learns new moves and abilities by being taught by friends and allies, unlike a progression tree, to make the players immersion into the character feel more natural.[4] In general, Ezio was designed to be a Renaissance man, who was to be open minded and seek truth, but also fun-loving.[1] The creative director of Assassin's Creed III, Alex Hutchinson, compared Ezio to actor Errol Flynn, as he was designed to be an over-the-top womanizer and braggart.[5]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Assassin's Creed II and II: DiscoveryEdit

Ezio is an ancestor of Desmond Miles, the protagonist of most of the early series' modern-day sequences, who experiences Ezio's life through the Animus, a device unlocking hidden memories inside his DNA.[6] As it is shown in the beginning of Assassin's Creed II, Ezio was born into the noble Auditore family in the Italian city of Florence in 1459. Tutored by the banker Giovanni Tornabuoni until the age of 17, Ezio led an affluent, care-free lifestyle until his father Giovanni discovered a plot to assassinate the leader of Florence.[7] Giovanni accused Francesco de' Pazzi as a conspirator, but when he presented the evidence to the gonfaloniere of Florence, Uberto Alberti, the latter is revealed to also be a conspirator and orders for the Auditore family's arrest, blaming them for the plot. Out running errands for his father, Ezio is not home when his father and two brothers are arrested and later publicly hanged. Ezio, following his father's final advice, finds his Assassin tools and flees the city with his mother and sister to his uncle Mario's estate in Monteriggioni.[8] Mario assists Ezio in discovering the people behind the conspiracy and trains him to become an Assassin.

While exacting revenge on the Pazzi family, Ezio discovers that more people from outside Florence are involved.[9] The search for those responsible spans over a decade and leads Ezio from Florence to San Gimignano, Forlì, Venice, and eventually Rome. As he identifies and assassinates various political figures involved in the conspiracy, Ezio also gains several allies, including Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, and Leonardo da Vinci. These allies partly set Ezio on a path of redemption, helping him overcome his anger towards his father and brothers' killers, and guide him on his quest. Eventually, the conspiracy leads to the mastermind behind the plot: Rodrigo Borgia, Grand Master of the Italian Templars, who seeks to find the Apple of Eden—a powerful artifact created by a precursor race to control humanity and one of the many "Pieces of Eden". In 1488, Ezio intercepts the Apple in Venice and confronts Borgia, who reveals that he believes himself to be "the Prophet", who will lead the Templars to a fabled "Vault". Ezio and Borgia then fight, and although Ezio is initially overpowered, his allies arrive and chase Borgia away. Ezio's allies reveal they are all Assassins and believe Ezio to be the true Prophet, allowing him to join their ranks.[10]

After losing the Apple to Girolamo Savonarola, Ezio dedicates the next ten years of his life to finding and retrieving it. In Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, which takes place in 1491, during Ezio's search for the Apple, he travels to Spain to free his fellow Assassins, who have been imprisoned under the guise of the Spanish Inquisition. In the process, Ezio discovers that the Templars are planning to sail west to discover the New World.[11] Ezio has to save Christopher Columbus and confront Tomás de Torquemada to end the Templar threat. Ezio must also assassinate some other important targets such as Gasper Martinez, Pedro Llorente, and Juan de Marillo. Along the way, Ezio saves many imprisoned Assassins who help him, including Luis de Santángel and Raphael Sanchez. In the end, Granada City is taken under siege by Templars, and Ezio has to save the Moorish King Muhammad XII.

In 1492, Borgia becomes Pope Alexander VI and resides in Vatican City. By 1499, Ezio and his allies have recovered the Apple and completed the Codex, which is revealed to be a world map, and discover that "the Vault" lies in Rome and has to be opened with the Apple of Eden and the Papal Staff, another Piece of Eden—explaining Borgia's motivation to become Pope. While his allies distract the city's guards, Ezio infiltrates the Vatican using the Apple and attempts to assassinate Borgia, who is empowered by the Staff. After Borgia is unable to open the Vault, he and Ezio fist-fight, and although Ezio emerges victorious, he chooses to spare Borgia's life, realizing that killing him will not bring back his family. Now in possession of both the Staff and the Apple, Ezio opens the Vault, where a holographic figure approaches him. Identifying herself as Minerva, a member of the same race that created the Pieces of Eden, she confirms that Ezio is the Prophet, and delivers a message—which is intended for Desmond, who is reliving Ezio's memories—about a cataclysmic solar flare only Desmond can prevent. As Minerva's projection fades, Ezio is left confused as he questions who Desmond is.[12]

Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodEdit

At the start of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Montereggioni is besieged by the Papal Armies led by Cesare Borgia, Rodrigo's son and co-leader of the Templar Order.[13] During the siege, the Apple is lost, Monteriggioni is destroyed, Caterina Sforza is kidnapped, and Ezio's uncle Mario is killed. Escaping the city with his mother and sister, an injured Ezio sets off for Rome to destroy the Borgia once and for all; however, he collapses shortly thereafter.[14] Days later, Ezio awakens in Rome and receives a new set of gear from Niccolò Machiavelli, who also saved him days earlier. After his wounds heal, Ezio and Machiavelli set their plan into motion – to liberate Rome and remove the Borgias from power permanently, as well as retrieve the Apple of Eden.[14]

Slowly, over the next three and a half years, Ezio and his allies win a series of victories over the Borgias, reclaiming and restoring the city by destroying the Borgia's allies and resources. Ezio restores the ranks of the Assassins and in time succeeds Machiavelli as the Mentor, the leader of the order.[15] By 1503, Ezio has assassinated the clan's banker, Juan Borgia, and their French general ally, the Baron de Valois, and incapacitated Lucrezia Borgia, leaving their power base in disarray. Cesare, in a fit of rage, kills his father and begins losing control over the city. After retrieving the Apple, Ezio uses its power to destroy what is left of Cesare's army and allies. By the end of 1503, Borgia control over the city is completely broken and Cesare is arrested by the new Pope, Julius II, escaping some time later. Ezio rejects the Apple of Eden and hides it below the Colosseum in the Temple of Juno. In 1507, Ezio travels to the Kingdom of Navarre (northern Spain) and catches up with Cesare at the siege of Viana Castle. Ultimately defeating Cesare, Ezio throws him off the castle walls to his death.[16]

Assassin's Creed: RevelationsEdit

After the events of Brotherhood, Ezio discovers a letter left behind by his father that talks about a hidden library full of vast knowledge underneath Masyaf Castle, left there by the legendary Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, setting the events of Assassin's Creed: Revelations into motion. Arriving at Masyaf in early 1511, Ezio is ambushed by Templars who occupy the fortress, also searching for Altaïr's library. After escaping capture and assassinating the Templar captain, Ezio recovers the journal of Niccolò Polo, which tells of five seals hidden in Constantinople that will open the door to Altaïr's library.[17] Arriving in Constantinople, Ezio begins his search for the seals, while helping the local Assassin's Guild, led by Yusuf Tazim, to overthrow Byzantine Templar control. Over time, Ezio succeeds in eradicating Templar influence and resubjugating the city to the rule of the family of Prince Suleiman.

Ezio recovers four of the five keys with the help of historian and book collector Sofia Sartor. He then travels to an underground city in Cappadocia, the Templar base of operations. After assassinating the Templar leader Manuel Palaiologos and recovering the final key, it is revealed that Prince Suleiman's uncle Prince Ahmet has been secretly leading the Byzantine Templars and wishes to open Altaïr's library for himself. After Ezio refuses to hand over the keys, Ahmet threatens to harm Sofia and sails off, leaving Ezio in Cappadocia. Upon returning to Constantinople, Ezio finds that Sofia has been kidnapped by Ahmet and Yusuf has been murdered to force Ezio to reveal the key's whereabouts. Leading an all-out attack with the Constantinople Assassins, Ezio ultimately saves Sofia. He then engages in a chase with Ahmet and eventually recovers the keys from the latter. A returning sultan Selim I kills Ahmet and thanks Ezio for saving his son and country, but at the same time orders him to leave the Ottoman Empire and never return. Ezio and Sofia make their way back to Masyaf and open the library, where Ezio finds Altaïr's skeleton. The entire purpose of the library was to convey another message to Ezio's descendant, Desmond Miles, through a different Apple of Eden. Ezio, realizing he has reached the end of the journey, decides to leave the Apple behind and talks directly to Desmond. While he does not comprehend how they are able to communicate or why Desmond has been observing him, he hopes that he helped Desmond find the answers he seeks.[18]

Assassin's Creed: EmbersEdit

In the animated short Assassin's Creed: Embers, the last years of Ezio's life are chronicled. After his retirement from the Order of Assassins, he has settled down in a Tuscan villa near Monteriggioni with Sofia, and had two children, Flavia and Marcello.[19] In 1524, a mysterious Chinese woman appears at his door requesting his help. The woman, Shao Jun, is a member of the vanquished Chinese Assassin Order and seeks Ezio's advice in how to help her people and rebuild their order. After helping Shao fight off soldiers sent by the Chinese Emperor Jiajing and training her, Ezio sees Shao on her way back to China, armed with the wisdom she came seeking him for, as well as a box, implied to be another Piece of Eden. Later, while on a trip to the market square in Florence with his wife and daughter, Ezio is approached by a young Italian man who reminds him of his younger self. After a brief conversation, the man tells Ezio to "get some rest" and abruptly leaves. Moments later, Ezio suffers a fatal heart attack, and passes away peacefully at the age of 65.[20][21]

Other appearancesEdit

Assassin's Creed seriesEdit

Ezio also appears as a supporting character in the short film Assassin's Creed: Lineage, where he is portrayed by Devon Bostick. In Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Ezio appears when the protagonist Kassandra gets a vision of the future after she defeats the Cult of Kosmos. In Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China, Shao Jun applies his teaching in her quest to restore her order and considers him her mentor.[22] His outfit can also be unlocked in all subsequent releases of the series.

In 2018, Ezio became a playable character in the free to play role-playing mobile game Assassin's Creed Rebellion. Like II: Discovery, the game is set during the Spanish Inquisition and features multiple characters from different installments of the series, as they build a brotherhood to overthrow the Spanish Templar Order.[23] Furthermore, he is a playable character in the 2018 board game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice by Triton Noir.[24]

Soulcalibur VEdit

Ezio also appears as a guest character in the 2012 fighting game Soulcalibur V.[25][26] In the non-canonical storyline of the game, Ezio discovers a strange artifact in 1506, while on his way to Navarre to fight Cesare Borgia. On his voyage by sea, he dispatches a group of Templars plotting to overthrow Catherine of Aragon with said artifact. After touching what turns out to be a piece of the cursed blade Soul Edge, Ezio is transported 100 years into the future, where he fights against the characters of the series in an effort to collect all pieces of Soul Edge and its counterpart, Soul Calibur. Once he has collected all shards of the legendary swords, he is transported back to his own time and next seen back on his ship to Navarre.[27]

OtherEdit

Ezio's robes are unlockable in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands,[28] Final Fantasy XIII-2[29][30][31][32][33] as well as in LittleBigPlanet for the PlayStation 3[34] and PowerUp Heroes for Kinect on the Xbox 360.[35] His outfit, under the name the "Dashin' Hashashin", was presented as promotional headgear to Team Fortress 2 players who had pre-ordered Assassin's Creed: Revelations,[36] along with a special knife modeled after his hidden blade (called "The Sharp Dresser") for the Spy class in the game. In both Final Fantasy XIII-2 and XV, Ezio's outfit was unlockable in special events. In a time-limited special event in Monster Hunter World, players were able to unlock Ezio's robes as a special armor.[37]

Ezio appears as a guest character in the 2014 and 2020 free to play role-playing mobile games Soul Hunters and AFK Arena, through a collaboration between developer Lilith Games and Ubisoft.[38] Ezio later appeared as a boss in another one of Ubisoft's titles, For Honor. In the fighting game, players are encouraged to duel with and kill Ezio in a time-limited special event, active from December 2018 to January 2019.[39]

Ezio's likeness, along with five other series protagonists, was used for a line of character-themed wine labels as part of a joint collaboration between Ubisoft and winemaker Lot18; the full name of his label is "2015 Ezio Auditore Super Tuscan Red Blend", a reference to his birthplace of Tuscany.[40]

Reception and legacyEdit

The character was critically acclaimed by the media and general public alike, with his depiction and transformation, as well as the chronicling of his entire life drawing significant praise. He is the only character in the series to receive several main games. Ezio is widely regarded as the series' best character and the face of the franchise, often finishing first in rankings of the series' characters.[41][42][43][44] With the exception of 'Discovery' (a Nintendo DS release), all games and films he appears in were re-released as an enhanced bundle, The Ezio Collection, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in 2016.[45]

Initial reception for Ezio as a character was positive. Gamesradar characterized him as an "ass-kicking, morally ambiguous superhero" and noted that he had a livelier and more charming personality than his predecessor Altaïr, with his personal growth being a central aspect of the narrative.[46] Will Tutle of GameSpy also noted Ezio's growth and contrast to Altaïr as his strongest features, stating that while he was an unlikeable womanizer at first, he was later hoping he would "get his revenge and uncover the truth".[47] In contrast, Gamespot's Kevin VanOrd called Ezio "terrific" and "instantly likeable", while praising him as a more realized character than Altaïr.[48] In his review of Revelations, VanOrd lauded the developers for reflecting Ezio's age and weariness throughout the game, as well as highlighting his role as a mentor.[49] Matt Miller of GameInformer stated that by Revelations, Ezio has grown from a boy seeking revenge to a man seeking wisdom, as well as a "venerable mentor", which was made a central aspect of his character.[50] John Davison of GamePro named Ezio the epicenter of the game and drew a comparison between him and Nathan Drake. Like Drake, the "charming, witty, and comically self-deprecating" Ezio was "designed to draw the player into the narrative."[51]

Ezio Auditore received an award from GameSpot for the "Best New Character" in 2009.[52] GameZone authors Natalie Romano and Angelina Sandoval listed him third for "Gaming God of 2009", which ranks the most attractive video game men of the year.[53] He was also nominated at the Spike Video Game Awards 2010 for "Best Character".[54] The 2011 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition lists Ezio as the 35th most popular video game character.[55] The praise for his portrayal has also placed him high in multiple all-decade or all-time rankings. Ezio was voted as the third top character of the 2000s decade by Game Informer's readers.[56] In 2012, GamesRadar+ ranked him as the eighth "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games due to his entire life being portrayed.[57] They also placed him second on the list of most badass game characters of the generation, saying "Ezio has become synonymous with the image of the video game assassin."[58] GamesRadar placed him at number 4 in a list of the 50 best game characters of the generation.[59] Complex listed Ezio among the "most badass" video game characters of all time in 2013, ranking him at 37th place.[60] Complex ranked him as having the tenth best fighting game cameo for his guest appearance in Soulcalibur V in 2012.[61] He also featured on UGO Networks's list of most memorable Italians in video games at 15th place.[62] In 2014, he was included in Game Informer's dream roster for the next Super Smash Bros. entry.[63] In 2016, Glixel staff ranked Ezio as 7th most iconic video game character of the 21st century.[64] In 2021, HobbyConsolas also included Ezio on their "The 30 best heroes of the last 30 years,"[65] while Rachel Weber of GamesRadar ranked Ezio as 25th of their "50 iconic video game characters."[66]

The characters' physical attractiveness and clothing style have also been noted. At the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, he won the award for "Best Dressed Assassin",[54] while Paste named him as one of the "best costumed characters in videogames."[67] GamesRadar named Ezio "Mister 2009" in their article on the sexiest new characters of the decade of 2000.[68] Furthermore, PlayStation Official Magazine ranked Ezio fifth on their list of "finest facial hair gaming has to offer".[69] Mashable ranked him 9th in a list of "the 10 most datable men in video games".[70]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Altaïr appears in several small flashbacks in Assassin's Creed II and Revelations and is the protagonist of the handheld releases Altaïr's Chronicles and Bloodlines, but does not appear in any other major installments except Assassin's Creed.

ReferencesEdit

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BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ezio Auditore da Firenze at Wikimedia Commons