When Assassin's Creed was released in 2007 it instantly smashed records. After gaining the title of 'fastest selling new franchise ever to be released in North America' it then went on to sell around 8 million units worldwide on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It'd certainly be an understatement to say this surprised people, especially because of its love-hate relationship with the gaming media. For all those that loved the game, there were also those who honestly couldn't understand why it was receiving any praise.
Time has passed since then, and although the original still continues to sell, its successor is just around the corner in the form of Assassin's Creed II (check out our preview). There have been rumblings that Assassin's Creed II may struggle to have the same impact, purely because of Modern Warfare 2's similar release date, but it's unlikely this will affect much.
When the original title came out, it faced quite a few boundaries. It was a completely new franchise, and although there was a lot of hype, it still had convincing to do. It also received very mixed review scores. However, it still managed to sell extremely well in its first month. All this happened while competing for consumer's money with, you guessed it, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Not only this, but around the same time, Super Mario Galaxy was also released, as was the original Rock Band. Comparing that to Assassin's Creed II's competition, and it actually looks quite favourable.
This time, Assassin's Creed II biggest competitors might actually come from within. On the same day, two companion titles are being released in the form of Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines for the PlayStation Portable, and Assassin's Creed II: Discovery for the Nintendo DS. However, given the performance of Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles, this may be an unfounded assumption.
Either way, Assassin's Creed II may still see some competition from other titles aside from Modern Warfare 2. Dragon Age: Origins poses a legitimate threat if it takes off, and Left 4 Dead 2 launches the same week. There is also James Cameron's Avatar: The Game, which should be released around the same time. Some might also argue that the recession could play a part, but NPD has also shown that in the first half of 2009, more consoles were sold than the first half of 2008 - this suggests that people are still spending money heavily on video games.
It's also important to note that many of the people who bought the original will be interested in buying the second installment, if only so they can gain more insight into the weird ending. Modern Warfare also has its own fan base, and the games are completely different. There is room for both.
Ubisoft have definitely done their homework with regards to Assassin's Creed II's release. Unlike other publishers, they have stuck to their guns and haven't been scared away by Modern Warfare 2, probably because they went head to head with Modern Warfare two years ago, and came out relatively unscathed. Whether this happens again remains to be seen, but Assassin's Creed II has every chance at succeeding when it's released.