Anvil is an engine developed by Ubisoft Montreal for use with two of its most successful franchises, Assassin's Creed and Prince of Persia. One of its most innovative features is its use of Autodesk's HumanIK middle-ware package.[1]


According to the technical director Claude Langlais, modeling is done in Autodesk 3ds Max for environment, and in ZBrush for characters. Autodesk's HumanIK aids in calculating the positions of the playable character's hands and feet in the world, such that they convey a convincing animation sequence.

The engine was improved in Assassin's Creed II in order to include day and night cycles, enhanced lighting, reflections, AI, and NPC navigation systems.[2]


As the successor to the Anvil, the AnvilNext engine boasts several new technological tools for developers to work with, including deferred lighting, ambient occlusion, support for a dynamic weather cycling system, a new camera mode, improved crowd AI, as well as advancements in animation and improved visuals. The technology pioneered in the game Assassin's Creed III.[3]

AnvilNext is reported to possess the ability to render crowds in their thousands, while the previous engine was limited to the hundreds. The engine also allows for the implementation of a dynamic game world, enabling the world to change itself over the course of time. This means that enemy settlements may appear or disappear, relating to the events in the game.[3]


  • Anvil was known as "Scimitar" during initial development in 2006.
  • It was rumored that no previous in-game animations from the Assassin's Creed series would be carried over to the AnvilNext engine, with the intent of bringing an entirely fresh feeling to Ratonhnhaké:ton, however this was not the case due to a few remaining "iconic" animations.[4]