We’re still waiting for an official announcement concerning Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, expected to be delivered by Ubisoft later today. First word on the maritime sequel to Assassin’s Creed 3 came in the form of a promotional poster, depicting a ‘pirate Assassin’ aboard an 18th-century ship.

But now more images and convincing details have arrived, confirming that Assassin’s Creed 4 will indeed be set in the Caribbean Sea circa 1715.

The new images comes courtesy of Kotaku, and is once again drawn from the promotional poster leaked previously. According to whoever has their hands on the Black Flag poster, the reverse side of it doesn’t just feature an indication of the setting, but a full-blown map of the Caribbean Sea, a confirmed time period, and multiple locations marked for specific significance to the Assassin Order.

Have a look for yourself, and see if anything in particular jumps out:


Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag Caribbean Map

The map features Cuba, Southern Florida, Jamaica and other Caribbean Islands, with the exact date of the game’s events implied to be either during or beginning in 1715. That year falls within the era known as the ‘Golden Age of Piracy,’ so the earlier images of a sword and pistol-wielding Assassin fits quite well. Exactly what story or struggle the developers have cooked up will have to wait.

The shift towards a heavy emphasis on sea travel makes particular sense, as the naval elements of Assassin’s Creed 3 were some of the most surprisingly polished and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the impression given was that such an impressive game engine was somewhat under-served by a campaign that assigned only side-mission responsibility to seafaring. Now, the truth is becoming clearer.

There’s a good chance that Ubisoft has been working toward Black Flag for some time, meaning the full potential of the naval gameplay has yet to be seen. We’re all for a larger adventure on the high seas, and hopefully that’s exactly what the studio will soon unveil.

Along with the Caribbean map comes an image uncovered by Examiner, depicting what could possibly be the next Assassin protagonist. Not much else is clear from the screenshot, but have a look:

Assassins Creed 4 Screenshot

We wouldn’t recommend putting too much weight into what is (or isn’t) visible in this screenshot, since AC3 pulled a few twists when it came to playable characters and time periods. Since the 1715 setting could follow AC3 hero Connor Kenway’s Assassin grandfather, it’s entirely possible that the reporting of Edward Kenway as new protagonist is true. But it’s still all unofficial

How forthcoming Ubisoft plans to be in the immediate future remains to be seen, but if Black Flag is set mainly at sea, it will be interesting if the massive co-op gameplay ultimately scrapped from AC3 will be integrated here. Or perhaps in the next subtitled Assassin’s Creed 4 game?

We’ll keep you updated as official details arrive, but for now, how do you feel about a pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed title? Is it the change that you’ve been hoping would come to the basic gameplay, or will you reserve judgement until more information is released on the new main character and story?

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is expected to release in 2013 for all major platforms.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Kotaku, Examiner