- "We're in the guts of the Animus, the original test program. No memories here, just basic physics, weather simulations. Hello world!"
- ―Clay Kaczmarek's AI consciousness in the Black Room, 2012.[src]
The Black Room, also known as the Animus Island, was a safe mode created inside the Animus virtual machine; it was the original test program, which consisted of only basic physics and weather simulation, rather than reliving memory data. Not intended for direct human interface, the Black Room formed the backbone of the Animus' higher tier of programming.
A little before his death at the Abstergo Industries laboratory in Rome, Clay Kaczmarek managed to insert an AI recreation of his consciousness into the Animus' programming, which existed in the Black Room, even after the death of his physical body.
In 2012, William Miles placed his son Desmond inside the Animus, following the events inside the Temple of Juno beneath the Colosseum, which caused Desmond to enter a coma. However, the Animus was unable to support Desmond's crippled mental state, and the decision was made to place him inside the Black Room to stabilize him.
Awakening in the Black Room, Desmond met Clay's construct, who explained the situation to him, and revealed that Desmond had to relive the remaining memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad to the point at which their lives converged, in order to allow the Animus to successfully separate the genetic memories of Desmond's ancestors from his own and allow him to awake from his coma. Desmond also explored some of his own past memories, from the moment of his escape from the Farm, up to his capture by Abstergo and experimentation upon as a subject for the Animus Project.
As Desmond explored the memories of Ezio and Altaïr, he was sporadically returned to the island; Clay explained that the Animus was partitioned to keep Desmond's mind from collapsing, and that leaving his assigned partition could cause the Animus to delete Desmond similar to a virus. In an effort to prevent this, Clay attempted to occupy the system and allow Desmond to finish reliving the memories, which would then allow him to access the Synch Nexus and wake up.
However, even with Clay's assistance, the Animus eventually scheduled the Black Room for deletion, due to multiple space violations by Desmond. Fortunately, Desmond was saved by Clay, who passed on his own memories to Desmond and sent him back into Ezio's rendered memories, before being deleted along with the Black Room.
- The Black Room involved puzzle-oriented gameplay as a means of representing Desmond piecing together his subconscious mind. According to Alexandre Breault, this gameplay was inspired by the works of René Magritte and Roger Penrose.
- Because of this, the Black Room is nicknamed "Penrose Island" in the internal files of the game.
- For gameplay purposes, the Black Room is reconstructed following the completion of the game.
- When Clay is explaining that the Black Room is the original test program of the Animus, he says "Hello World!". This is a reference to the computer program "Hello, World!" which is a very simple program considered the basic to illustrate the syntax of programming language.