Ubisoft Talks ‘Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag’ Setting, Gameplay & More

Published 1 year ago by

Word’s been out on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for some time now. But after the announcement trailer was leaked, and screenshots showing the tropical locales prepared for players made their way online, Ubisoft certainly hasn’t disappointed with their official details.

Edward Kenway will indeed be the new hero, and to show his lethality, a new weapons trailer has been released to show the tools of Kenway’s trade up close and personal. With the new footage comes a large crop of information, so settle in and get reading.

As has been the case with previous titles, Black Flag is being developed by lead studio Ubisoft Montreal, with help from their teams in Annecy, Bucharest, Kiev, Quebec, Singapore and Sofia. Given that the game is confirmed to be releasing on current platforms October 29, then later on the PlayStation 4 and presumably Xbox’s successor, there’s enough programming work to go around.

The fact that Edward Kenway – make that ‘Captain’ Edward Kenway – will be the protagonist hasn’t been in question, but is now officially confirmed (Ubisoft is still holding back from explaining the link between Edward and the leads of Assassin’s Creed 3, but they’re fairly clear). Interestingly though, the brief description of Kenway helps put some our questions to rest.

Assassins Creed 4 Island Screenshot Edward

Aside from the above trailer describing Kenway as “a pirate trained by Assassins,” the official press release hints that Edward’s role with the Assassin Order comes long after he has made himself a man to be feared:

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man with a thirst for danger and adventure, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major Empires comes to an end. Edward is a fierce pirate and seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars.

Just how well players will be able to get to know Edward before he joins the Assassin ranks remains to be seen, but the plot does give the game’s writers a bit more flexibility. especially since this charismatic, cocky and selfish pirate will have to marry twice, father two children and move to London without any of it seeming forced. Who knows, maybe his mission against the Templars will have something to do with his first wife, Caroline.

Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag Edward Kenway

What we do know, thanks to Ubisoft and some new details from CVG, is that Black Flag will send players into the Caribbean Sea circa 1715, though not thanks to the genetic memory of modern-day Assassin Desmond Miles.

We had wondered how the developers would explain Desmond’s presence or absence, and it seems that the memories of Edward Kenway will not be accessed by one of his descendants, but a modern-day “research analyst” at Abstergo Industries. That might sound like a cop-out, but it was the premise of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, and the Templar-led Abstergo did invent the Animus technology. We’re not convinced it won’t open up plot-holes, just saying it doesn’t have to.Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag Concept Art

Luckily, players will likely have too much to do as Edward Kenway to worry about how it’s possible. With over 50 locations able to be traveled to, either by swimming, on foot, or manning the helm of Edward’s ship, The Jackdaw (an opportunistic bird in the crow family that eats what it can get, and becomes absolutely silent when detecting a threat). Given the amount of upgrades and side-missions made available in AC3, expect to spend some serious time on the ship, both traveling and upgrading.

For those who felt that the naval combat in AC3 was a bit straightforward and shallow, big improvements are coming for the next title. With physics reported to play a larger part, enemy ships that can actually attack and ram directly into the Jackdaw, and seamlessly transitioning from ship-to-ship combat into boarding and swordfighting, hopes are high. Especially since the existing naval gameplay was one of AC3‘s high points.

Assassins Creed 4 Whale Wildlife Screenshot

Beyond combat, players will also be able to customize and manage the ship’s crew (to what extent or goal we don’t yet know), and even channel their inner Captain Ahab in pursuit of whales, as was hinted at in previous screenshots. For these and other purposes, the player can also climb to the ship’s crow’s nest to examine ships on the horizon, along with their fortifications and possible cargo. From there, the choice to either attack a ship, or swim aboard and execute the captain silently is up to the player.

Just in case sailing from Havana to Kingston and everywhere in between isn’t your idea of Assassin action, there will still be plenty of targets to eliminate. The likes of actual historical figures Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach, Benjamin Hornigold, ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham and his lover Anne Bonny and more. In other words, pirate fans are in luck. How Edward will measure up against these legends will be entertaining to see.


Nobody doubted that Black Flag would be a worthwhile experience, but after some felt that Ubisoft had somewhat broken their promise of an entirely new hero and setting, these details might help convince them that a new course is certainly being charted. Assuming that the developer delivers on all of these potentially powerful mechanics, of course.

What are you most interested to see of Black Flag next? A better idea of the open-world environments and interactions, or some gameplay footage to know how Edward’s pirate skills will distinguish him from past Assassins?

Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag will be released on October 29, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. A PS4 release is confirmed, with an Xbox successor version also expected.

And in case anyone missed the stunning Black Flag announcement trailer, check it out below:

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Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: CVG

TAGS: Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed 4, PC, PS3, Ubisoft, Wii U, Xbox 360

9 Comments

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  1. There have been a lot of cool details about this game thus far, and I am remaining cautiously optimistic that they will work out. The one thing that I am having a hard time getting on board with though is the fact that “we are the new protagonist.” Apparently we will be employed by abstergo entertainment to run through the memories. Now I don’t know how they are going to work that out exactly, they aren’t saying we will be a templar, but I don’t have any idea how we, the random protagonist, are going to stop Juno now that she has been released. Are the templars and assassins going to align, just this once, with the purpose of defeating Juno?

    I know they wanted to get rid of Desmond so they could wrap up his story line, but the story line is still there, just with a dead protagonist… I’m sure they will find a way to pull it off, but I can’t see it yet. A lot of people may not have liked the modern day parts, saying that it just takes you out of the action of the game, but I enjoy that there is actually a logical story to tie everything together. It is a great way to explain why you can just go back to a checkpoint when you mess up (synchronization/desynchronization), it tells why you can play all these seemingly unrelated, random characters, and it gives purpose to each of those characters. Each one played an integral part, up until this point, in saving the world, and I’m sure they will use Edward’s memories to find something to stop Juno as well.

    But I still don’t understand why Desmond needed to be whacked while leaving the rest of the story line still fully intact. I would have preferred to play Desmond’s father or some cousin or sibling, but instead they are giving us this strange concept that “we” are the protagonist. I really hope that they don’t make the modern day parts first person since “we are the protagonist”…..

  2. So, no information on co-op yet, guys? *Fingers crossed*

    • I know, same here!

      • Ubi said something about “co op would be too much for the engine to handle” or something. :/

  3. Screw co-op, leave Assassin’s Creed as the deep single player IMMERSIVE experience it’s been so far. There was a reason it was rejected back in the days of AC1 (*not* 3 as the site wrongly repeats).

    Although I’m none too impressed with Ubi’s “Whole new protagonist and time period” claim- this comes across as DLC for AC3 that was expanded- Black Flag certainly looks interesting so far. Whilst I don’t find the location remotely interesting, the characters are intriguing.

  4. Wanna know how to suck the enthusiasm for Assassin’s Creed for someone?

    Let them play AC3; worked for me.

    • I really enjoyed Assassin’s Creed III, so I would say (personally) that the game has me pumped up more than ever for Black Flag :)

  5. What about that apparent blowpipe in that screenshot? the blowpipe was one of my favorite Liberation tools. I also hope that it ties in the events of Liberation, or at least avagates mentor in some way. and any word on a vita title yet?

  6. I think the assassin’s creed IV would be a good game

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