Assassin’s Creed III made a huge splash last November and throughout the holiday season. AC3 had one of the biggest open worlds in gaming history, giving players the freedom to explore and the opportunity to make their adventure all their own. Now we’re on to 2013; another year, another Assassin’s Creed title. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag now takes gamers back two generations to the age of piracy. Ubisoft takes the incredibly fun naval warfare mechanic of the AC3 and expands it even further to create the basis for their next adventure. The studio is being very ambitious, hoping to create the worlds”first true naval open-world game.” Personally I fell in love with the naval gameplay of the previous game so I think it’s a brilliant idea to take that success and run with it for the next installment.
The game has been in development since September of 2011, so it’s had it’s fair share of development time. With that being said, here’s hoping that AC4 releases with slightly less bugs than its predecessor did. Adhering to the yearly release schedule, Black Flag is being released this holiday season on October 29th, 2013. AC4 puts you in the shoes of Edward Kenway, grandfather of Connor from AC3. This makes him the father of Haytham Kenway, Connor’s brutal Templar father. A novel is also being released in order to fill in the gaps between the events of the 4th game and the 3rd game. Regardless of why his son turned to the dark side, Edward is no doubt one of the deadliest assassins yet. He is gifted with the ability to dual wield weapons, this time including dual longswords. As a pirate you can be sure you’ll see a lot of pistols (Edward carries four) but don’t expect them to play bigger part than previous installments.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has prided itself on its rich, yet complicated story. Although Desmond’s cycle is over, this does not mean the ushering in of a new present day assassin. In this game the player will play themselves. Well, kind of. AC4 makes you, the player, an ordinary Abstergo employee. Working for Abstergo is certainly familiar, being the setting for the multiplayer component of all the previous games. We’re not sure where this new approach will take us but it will be interesting to see how Ubisoft inserts all of the crazy present day Assassin/Templar mythology. Multiplayer is confirmed as returning to Black Flag, but there isn’t any word on how naval warfare will play into it. No doubt the team will somehow incorporate it, given how big of a push they’re making for expanding the mechanic into an entire game.
The ship in which you will be commanding, the Jackdaw, is probably the most important new aspect to the game. Just like in AC3 money can be spent on various upgrades for your ship. This time around, however, it is much more important to invest wisely in your open sea escapades. The economy of the game will be geared towards strengthening your ship and in turn unlocking new areas of the map to explore. With greater risk comes greater rewards, so it is important to not only be fierce, but wise. Ubisoft wants to take your ship and make it an extension of the player, becoming its own character as you progress through the game. Taking some queues from Skyrim, if there is a destination you see in the distance (perhaps through your spyglass) you will most likely be able to sail there, seamlessly and free of load screens.
Ubisoft’s newly released premiere trailer gives us a taste of what kind of cinematic action we can expect from the Black Flag. Edward will be able to swim like no other assassin, diving deep for lost secrets and treasure. He’ll also be capable of boarding enemy ships in a variety of new ways, using tactics mastered by the assassins themselves. Familiar historical characters are guaranteed to make an appearance, with the trailer being narrated by Blackbeard himself. Ubisoft has stated that they wish to steer clear of the overused cliches of the pirate fantasy world. Instead, they hope to do for pirates what Rockstar did for cowboys with Red Dead Redemption. Check out the world premiere trailer below!