Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
One of the huge titles that was shown off at PAX East was unsurprisingly Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. There was an exclusive trailer shown at Ubisoft’s booth, and although I don’t have any new pictures or videos to show (yet), and while some of what was shown is already known, I do have quite a bit to share about what else to expect in the latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Black Flag takes place before Assassin’s Creed III, during the late 18th century, when the Golden Age of Piracy takes place. You play as Edward Kenway, (Haytham’s father and Connor’s grandfather from III), a pirate who was trained by assassins, and he commands a crew of loyal pirates through his ferocity and general badassery. Ever since Brotherhood, Ubisoft introduced the mechanic of training Assassins and sending them on missions. It’s bumped up a notch in Black Flag, where you actually get to know your pirates while navigating the unruly seas.
Ubisoft listened to fans about how engaging and entertaining the naval missions in III, so in Black Flag Kenway owns a ship called the Jackdaw, which is a nimble ship but can be upgraded to be a full blown powerhouse that can take on even the best of the British’s navy. Of course, before you can get an awesome ship, you have to recruit scoundrels to your crew — one example of doing this was by getting into a fight in a tavern. Win, and you have a crew mate who will follow you loyally through thick and thin. Lose, and well . . . I’m assuming it’s game over. You have to make sure you continuously recruit though; it’s doubtful that they’ll all survive through to the game’s end due to the numerous naval battles and storms Kenway and crew will have to brave.
It seems like Ubisoft really wants you to feel like a pirate in Black Flag, urging you to plunder, pillage, and loot ships and villages. Including in this is diving for treasure — Kenway will have to risk life and limb against ocean dwellers (sharks!) to get valuable booty. Although when you dive to the depths of the ocean, the sharks are the hunters, but above, Kenway is the hunter. Ubisoft is raising the bar on the hunting aspect of the game — whales and other sea life are now thrown into the equation.When you’re not hunting, there’s plantations, fishing villages, and Mayan ruins to explore and discover. Like Todd Howard of Bethesda, Ubisoft promises “if you can see it, you can visit it” — hopefully this time it won’t be a false claim by the gaming industry.
Although Kenway is the main character in Black Flag, it appears that Blackbeard will be playing a huge part in the story — Ubisoft promises to show the “man behind the legend.” This begs the question: are they going to portray Blackbeard as a Templar? While this may get people excited, because after all, Blackbeard was a cool pirate, Kenway is made out to be pretty damn cool as well. And no, those four pistols aren’t just for show — pirates were known for carrying more than two guns at all times due to the long reloading times — some pirates even had two guns tied together by silk to sling over their shoulders to add more weaponry to their arsenal. Another new addition is Kenway’s dual-wielding cutlasses. In the trailer Kenway ducked and dodged and wove his way through enemies to deal death with the pirate’s classic weapon. In addition are the expected dual hidden blades, which Ubisoft claim will play a bigger role than just a cool piece of weaponry.
Black Flag wants to go back to the basics of Assassin’s Creed, and that means that assassinations are going to actually be assassinations, and not just a “kill the target inside a giant fight.”
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag looks like it’s actually going to be about assassinating, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Black Flag washes up onto shores on October 29th in North America, and November 1st for Europe.