Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is unfurled
Get it? “Unfurled” — like a flag. Because it’s subtitled Black Flag! Get it?
In a move that should have surprised almost no-one, Ubisoft have now officially confirmed that the next entry in the Assassin’s Creed series is scheduled for release in October of this year on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, WiiU, and “next gen systems.’
The game is called Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and the box art was leaked onto the interwebs sometime last week. Ubisoft said nothing at first, before caving shortly afterwards and confirming that yes, it was true and not a fake. They also released a trailer:
I’m of the opinion that the leak was nothing of the sort, given that almost every other AC game has been leaked in a similar manner, shortly before official previews go online. And wouldn’t you just know it, the big sites are buzzing with details about the game today.
You’ll play Captain Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway, and grandfather of Connor, the main character of Assassin’s Creed 3. Captain Kenway is dead by the time the 3rd game starts, which means that we’ll be going back in time with number 4. As always with AC games, the main storyline isn’t really happening, it’s being played out by someone in the modern-day, accessing his or her memories via an Animus device. The Animus is one of the series’ many maguffins, and is a device which allows the user to access their genetic memories and experience the lives of their ancestors. In an interesting twist, this time round the modern-day character will be working for the Abstergo Corporation, a front for the Templar Order, the series’ villains.
Captain Kenway is, by all accounts, a more charismatic and energetic person than AC3′s stoic and reserved Connor. Just so long as they get decent voice acting this time round, he could be a bloody gardener for all I care.
The preview buzz claims that pretty much everything you see in the trailer, which is most definitely not gameplay footage, will be in-game. The naval combat which was by far the most enjoyable part of AC3 will feature much more prominently this time round, which is handy, otherwise Eddie would be the world’s worst pirate. Ubisoft are claiming that the game will feature seamless transitions between gameplay areas – you’ll be able to board an enemy vessel from any direction, dive into the water at any time, swim to a nearby island, climb on the shore and go exploring.
It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, particularly the differences between the current and next-gen machines.
The three main cities in the game – Kingston, Havana, and Nassau – will apparently each offer a different style and feel, to try and combat complaints that the cities in AC3 felt far too similar.
Details about the combat, stealth, and movement mechanics are thin on the ground. In Kotaku’s preview, Stephen Totilo does an admirable job of calling Ubisoft out on the series’ wonky stealth and movement mechanics, which you would have thought they’d have fixed by now. It’s not like they’ve not had enough practice, after all. I don’t foresee a big departure from previous entries though.
I’m torn on this one, I really am. AC2 and AC: Brotherhood were two of the most enjoyable games I’ve played this generation. AC: Revelations was a massive disappointment and AC3 continued in the same vein. I remember saying that after AC3, I had not desire to play another AC game again, so I’m not going to get too worked up over Black Flag.
The game is scheduled for release in October, so we’ve got plenty of time to see more over the next few months. I’d imagine we’ll see a lot more at E3 and PAX Prime as well.