Here’s a nice screenie of some architecture near the duomo in Assassin’s Creed II.
Oh, wait. That’s a photo of real life. Here’s the screenshot.
You just try to tell me that’s not amazing. My dad starting playing AC2 a little while ago, and realized he could clamber his way up to a viewpoint not unsimilar to the view from an apartment he stayed in. I assume I’m not alone in eyeing churches a little differently after having played this game — judging handholds and looking out for glowing feathers. These two images speak to just how faithfully the developers recreated reality, and if I ever find myself in Venice I had better see haycarts all over the place, for my own safety.
The game’s producer-authors chose those years as the most eventful of the era and labored lovingly to re-create the environs as exactly as possible. They hired Renaissance scholars to advise on period garb, architecture, urban planning, weaponry and the like. They took tens of thousands of photographs of interiors and streets. They used Google Earth liberally to piece together the ground-up and sky-down perspectives through which the action flows.
Well, it worked.