I was genuinely stunned when I first picked up an Assassins Creed game and explored Ubisoft’s new world with fresh eyes. The level of detail every street corner and generated pedestrians had was terrific, especially for the time, running the game on a console that seems ancient and as powerful as a toaster by today’s standards.
From then on, I was hooked, playing every iteration of the Assassins Creed franchise that I could get my hands on, desperate to learn more about the world Desmond and his comrades were trying so desperately to save and rescue from the hands of Obstergo Industries and the Templar Order.
Lucky for me then that Ubisoft does know how to spot a money maker and double down in their lucrative IPs because we, as AC fans, have been spoiled if not saturated with content.
I mention this sheer amount of content because today’s article is about a character one can come across in probably the most well-received AC game to date, AC Brotherhood. However, despite this game’s popularity and people’s obsession with Ezio and his life, this side character is often forgotten by even the most die-hard AC and Ezio fans.
I am, of course, talking about the serial killer Malfatto, the scourge of Renaissance Italy’s female population. Think Jack the Ripper but in a creepy doctor’s outfit.
However, before we get into this, I would like to talk about how many people have compared Malfatto and Jack the Ripper since the latter serial killer was included in AC Syndicate. Firstly, I would say that Malfatto was certainly inspired by Jack the Ripper, although the developers haven’t gone to such lengths to confirm or deny this.
Secondly, and most importantly, I would say that while Jack the Ripper does appear in a later game, this does not mean the developers of AC Syndicate merely got bored and stole the content ideas from AC Brotherhood, creating an entire stretch of additional content for the title out of it.
Simply put, these two characters are both inspired by IRL serial killers; therefore, I wouldn’t consider either a copy of the other. After all, if you’re going to design a game in industrial-era London, Jack the Ripper has to make an appearance.
Now, with all this being said, why don’t we move swiftly on and talk about today’s subject, the frightening serial killer Malfatto? Let’s go!
While I have already talked about Malfatto’s similar MO to Jack the Ripper, I will say that, even though he is a minor character, easily missed by the majority of AC players, the developers over at Ubisoft really did take their time meticulously crafting a rather elaborate backstory for the character regardless of his actual screen time and significance to the main story.
Events Before AC Brotherhood
Before Ezio came to the height of his power in the early 16th century, Malfatto was considered one of if not the most wanted men in all of Rome. While his true identity and appearance were unknown to everyone, his name and his penchant for striking at and killing courtesans were public information.
The Malfatto name was thus like Voldemort to the female community of renaissance Rome; after all, how could any good-looking young woman be sure that the infamous Malfatto wouldn’t mistake them for a courtesan during a late-night stroll?
Of course, this would not be an AC game without some rather unsubtle writing to let us know that the main bad guy is, in fact, bad.
As I am sure most of you are aware, Cesare Borgia was Ezio’s main nemesis throughout AC Brotherhood as he served as Captain General of the Papal armies at the time of Ezio’s rise to prominence as well as a high-ranking member of the Templar Order.
All of this should really be enough for Ezio and the player to dislike the man enough to consider him a worthy assassination target; however, Ubisoft writers really like to hammer home that their villains are literally devils. Therefore, they just had to associate the man with a literal serial killer.
Yes, that’s right, the writers didn’t know when to walk away from the keyboard when designing Cesare and Malfatto’s backstory because the pair are linked for no reason at all. It would seem that during the height of Malfatto’s reign of terror, the whispers and screams coming out of Rome about the serial killer reached the ears of the Papal General.
Also, as a side not to display just how on the nose AC writers truly are, Maltaffo is an Italian surname that was derived from the word “malfattore,” which literally means “someone who does evil deeds”, I mean, how uninspired can you get.
Instead of considering Malfatto as the mad man that he is and writing him off as a useless miscreant that should be taken care of, Cesare decided that he wanted to bring the man into his service. The exact reasoning behind this is unknown to me, the entire AC fanbase, and, I’m pretty sure, the developers.
Cesare Sends for Malfatto
After hearing about Malfatto and deciding that he must have a crazy serial killer in his employ, Cesare sends one of his trusted envoys, Fiora Cavazza, to track down the man.
Now, I don’t want to spend this entire article critiquing the writing of the AC Brotherhood team; after all, I am a fellow writer and one significantly less skilled than them; however, I will ask why Cesare would ever consider sending Fiora as his chosen envoy to find and bring in Malfatto, the woman was literally a courtesan before coming into his service.
Maybe this was some weird ploy by Cesare to get rid of Fiora, but it seems like a bit of a stretch.
Regardless, Cesare decides to send Fiora (the courtesan) off to Rome in order to find the infamous serial killer in 1502. With this, Fiora heads to Rome with only a letter of absolution in her pocket, signed by her benefactor, to protect her.
This letter, on Malfatto’s agreement to join hands with Cesare and become his agent, will absolve the serial killer of his past crimes and probably do a good job of almost allowing him to continue his horrid and twisted killing spree.
Fiora Travels to Rome
Upon arrival in the city, Fiora decided it was a great idea to go wandering, unaccompanied, through the streets of Rome’s poor district in the hopes of finding the wanted serial killer; however, before she could set her eyes on the creepy killer, she heard some blood-curdling screams from a nearby alleyway.
To Fiora’s credit, she did not run from this sound, instead choosing to run towards the victim in the hopes of lending some aid or, at the very least, catching sight of her target and getting her job done.
However, this was not her day as when she arrived on the scene, the only thing left behind by Malfatto was his victim, covered in his handy work and a lot of her own blood.
As I am sure you would agree, the sight was rather disconcerting, peaking something primal inside of Fiora, forcing her to flee in fear for her own life. I suppose knowing who you’re looking for and seeing their work in person are two different things.
After this, Fiora decided that it may not be the best thing for her health or mortal lifespan to hunt down a vicious, woman-murdering serial killer in a strange city all by herself.
Therefore, she began ignoring Cesare’s orders, holding up in her small accommodation for weeks on end, hiding from her employer’s orders and the serial killer who stalked the streets.
Of course, Cesare Borgia is not a man who takes well to hearing the word no or insubordination from his lessers; therefore, he came to Fiora with an ultimatum. She would either go back out onto the streets and find Malfatto hoping to somehow survive and complete her duty, or Cesare himself would have her murdered.
Forced into a corner and knowing that her odds of surviving should she spurn Cesare were less than zero, she decided to resume her hunt in the hopes of somehow escaping with her life and throat intact.
Fiora Meets the Monster
After receiving this ultimatum from her employer, Fiora decides that enough is enough and that she simply must track down Maltaffo quickly. To do this, she does something either brilliant or incredibly stupid, maybe both.
She rummages through her travel trunks and discovers one of her old courtesan uniforms, swiftly putting it on before venturing into the night air.
She would then walk the streets of Rome’s poor districts until she was finally confronted by the infamous serial killer and the target of Cesare’s desire. Of course, the serial killer instantly begins to try and, you know, kill Fiora; however, before he can do so, she thrusts out the letter of absolution that Cesare had given her and shouts her employer’s name at the man.
This stops Malfatto in his tracks, causing him obvious confusion. After this, Malfatto did not move toward the young woman. Instead, he looked at her dumbfounded and did not even seem to notice the letter that now lay in his hand.
This confusion gave Fiora enough time to back away from the killer, escaping down the alleyway from whence she came.
In His Sights
After this confrontation, Fiora heads back to her home and spends the night there, trying to calm down and probably forget the fact that she was almost just murdered while trying to do her job. Soon after this, thinking that she escaped intact, she goes to bed and falls asleep.
However, Fiora is unaware that while Malfatto did stand stunned for some time in that ally way, he did come to his senses just in time to begin following her, trailing her all the way back to her home. Once she went inside, the killer lay in wait, possibly waiting for her lamp light to extinguish before making tracks inside her home.
Entering the home and making his way into her room proved very easy for the talented killer. However, Malfatto was unaccustomed to killing women in their beds; therefore, he decided to drug her first with one of his patented needles, hoping to sedate her just enough to make the kill easier.
Whether it was the strange encounter he had with Fiora hours previously or the change in MO, it appears that Malfatto’s hand was not as steady as he would have hoped as upon injecting Fiora with his needle, the sting from the injection woke the woman up, startling Malfatto
His shock only grew when he saw just how quickly Fiora jumped into action, drawing up her bladed fan from beside her bed and slashing in his direction before the sedative could take effect.
While failing under the influence of the sedative, she did catch Malfatto in his side with her fan blade, causing him to bleed profusely from the wound. This wound frightened the killer, and he fled into the night, leaving Fiora with her life.
Assassins Creed: Project Legacy
All this information regarding Malfatto and Fiora can be found through the mostly unheard-of Project Legacy Facebook game released in September of 2010. Yes, you read that right, Ubisoft released an AC Facebook game. Didn’t I say that they really knew how to milk and IP?
Anyway, during this game, we find Fiora’s accounts regarding the good doctor and how her ordeal and brush with death at the hands of Malfatto and the whims of Cesare pushed her to betray Cesare.
Fiora writes from her own accounts about how this incident forced her to turn on her employer, wishing he would suffer the same fate that she nearly had, to be stalked and murdered while he slept.
Therefore, she decided to pass on the information she had about Cesare’s operations to the Assassins, using their rooftop pigeon coups as a mode of communication.
Through these coups, she wrote down all the names of Cesare’s agents that she was aware of, hoping that the Assassins would begin picking them off one by one before eventually coming for her former employer. She also offered, in these letters, her service to the Assassins should they need any help in killing Cesare.
As you might be aware, the main character of this game is actually Ezio, although following Fiora through that ordeal would have made for some amazing gameplay, if not terribly in keeping with the overall vibe of AC at this time.
So, with this in mind, the writers decided to end the tale of Malfatto here until Ezio entered the fray. During his rise to power in AC Brotherhood and the events of AC 2, Ezio is well known to the courtesan community, with his mother and sister helping to run a brothel during their time in Rome.
He would also frequently help out courtesans all over the city should they have any issues. It is, therefore, slightly surprised that the issue of Malfatto got as bad as it did before Ezio heard about the killings, having to actually stumble upon a scene himself before he even heard the Malfatto name.
Therefore, to begin this side quest involving Ezio and Malfatto, the player must wander around the city of Rome and, specifically, the area near the Tiber river, where Malfatto now stalks.
After some time has passed, you should be able to stumble upon the scene in question. Rounding a corner, Ezio will see a courtesan covered in blood slumped up against a wall with another courtesan, assumedly one of her friends and coworkers, weeping over the corpse.
This immediately places the player in a cut scene wherein Ezio asks who did this horrible thing. The living courtesan responds with Malfatto’s name and points the way for Ezio to go and kill him, hoping to exact vengeance for her dead friend.
After this, the typical AC-style side quest menu will appear wherein the player can either accept or decline the mission. The ‘Serial Offender’ mission tells the player that “Malfatto hunts girls near the Tiber.”
It then continues to tell Ezio to “Locate and kill him.” This screen also informs the player that to earn full synchronization for this mission, the player must kill Malfatto using their Assassin Recruits.
After you accept this mission, the Abstergo database records will tell the player that malfatto was famous for “ravaging the poor districts of Rome and praying on those unfortunate enough to be caught unaware.”
After reading this, the player must travel along the route suggested by the courtesan, following the trail left for the player by other courtesans.
Ezio and the player must follow this route, passing through many markers and courtesans before catching sight of your target. Malfatto will be dressed from head to toe in dark clothing, similar in style to the plague doctors that populate the city.
However, his mask will be slightly different. This clothing can make him slightly hard to stalk at night; however, the game’s mini-map will place a red target indicator over his, making the player’s job slightly easier.
Anyway, once the player catches up to Malfatto, they can kill him in any way they please; however, full synchronization with Ezio can only occur by using your Assassin Recruits. Sadly, though, when you do finally kill Malfatto, Ezio doesn’t deviate from his usual “requiescat de pace.” I would have much-preferred something with a little more venom behind it.
Although he deviates slightly by pulling away Malfatto’s mask in the death scene instead of closing his eyes, this deviation is rare in AC Brotherhood. This death thus resolves the Serial Offender mission and brings to a close the story of Malfatto.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Should I Go Back and Play Assassins Creed: Brotherhood?
Answer: While the graphics may be slightly outdated by modern standards, the Ezio Collection remaster does a great job of modernizing some of the more blatant graphical issues in this game.
Outside of this, the gameplay and the storyline are excellent. The fighting mechanics are also very smooth and enjoyable, much better than the newer AC games.
Question: Who is the Main Antagonist of Assassins Creed: Brotherhood?
Answer: The AC Brotherhood storyline sees Ezio fight off against the Borgia and the Templar Order. This time, your main adversary is Cesare Borgia, the Captain General of the Papal armies and an all-around terrible human being.
Question: Which Assassins Creed is Ezio in?
Answer: To summarize, Ezio is the main protagonist of three Assassins Creed games. AC 2, AC Brotherhood, and AC Revelations. These three games make up the Assassins Creed: Ezio Collection. However, mention of Ezio can be found across most of the AC canon post AC 2.
So, there you have it, a complete and detailed guide to one of the most infamous and hated serial killers to be found in renaissance Rome and how he finally came to his death at the end of Ezio’s hidden blade.
In my opinion, it is a real shame that most AC players don’t know more about Malfatto; after all, his character is interesting and those who interact or intertwine their lives with him, such as Fiora, are amazing characters in their own right. Hopefully, one day, I’ll actually get to cover some of these amazing people for you.
However, with all this being said, I truly hope you enjoyed this article and learned something useful or interesting about AC Brotherhood and the AC canon. Regardless, I hope to see you again soon and wish you luck. Happy hunting!
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