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Anvil, previously known as Scimitar, is Ubisoft's proprietary game engine.   
 
Claude Langlais, the Technical Director of Ubisoft Montreal, has stated that Autodesk's 3ds Max is used for the environment and ZBrush is used for the characters.  It uses Autodesk's HumanIK middleware technology for positioning the hands and feet of characters in the environment. 
 
It used the Scimitar name for Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia (2008), and Shaun White Snowboarding
 
For the Assassin's Creed II version of the engine, Anvil, there were many technical improvements and additions.  Cloth physics were improved, vegetation technology was borrowed from Far Cry 2 and a night and day cycle was added.

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