A well-earned reputation is all that separates history’s greatest pirates from other ragtag raiders of the day. Infamy might win you a ship here, control of a port there – not to mention the everlasting fear of the locals – but sooner of later a bigger fish will try to fry you. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag knows all about the pratfalls of piracy – the dizzying heights and the thunderous lows, as a privateer’s rep continually ebbs and flows – and has taken steps to maximize your time in the limelight here.
Revealed during a recent Ubisoft gameplay event, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag now looks set to include an optional mission-rating mechanic, a 5-starred system intended to provide feedback for the series’ as-yet unspecified future entries.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Associate Producer Sylvain Trottier outlined the feature as a simple, anonymous feedback tool, already being put to good use during the game’s internal playtest sessions.
“It’s fully optional, it’s a way for our players to tell us directly whether they liked or not the mission. It’s a survey if you prefer. It will help us know which missions are the favorites and which one people like less. […] It’s the first time as far as I know that we are doing this. It’s a test, we don’t know how much data we will collect from there and don’t know if people will use it or not but we think it was worth trying it to get the direct feedback from our players.”
Interestingly, early impressions of the system seem to indicate that criticisms are limited to a hard star rating, with no room for any written additions. While being able to rate an insufferable “tail the suspect”-type mission a lowly 2 stars might have its uses, the lack of any further feedback options could prove limiting. If fans were to turn on Ubisoft, for whatever reason, then these ratings could be artificially lowered by a group of disgruntled gamers, ala Metacritic’s user score system. Likewise, an otherwise good mission could be weighed down by one or two moments of frustration, leading to low scores, and little clue at Ubisoft HQ as to their cause.
Will Black Flag‘s optional mission rating system catch on across the industry? Will the move lead to less or more gameplay variety? Have your say in the comments below, and be sure to check out the game’s pre-launch loot right here.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag arrives on October 29th 2013 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U platforms. Xbox One and PS4 versions are schedules to debut alongside their respective consoles.
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