Ubisoft may be treading some new ground (water?) with their pirate adventure Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but the core gameplay that made the series a success isn’t going anywhere. The newly released first look at gameplay highlights the Caribbean setting and historic landmarks, while also giving a better idea of what dangers lie both above ground and underwater for new hero Edward Kenway.

Jungle exploration, the assassination of British forces (those guys can’t catch a break) and high seas sailing are all featured in the new trailer. If that doesn’t float your boat, then we’ve got two words: twin cutlasses.

The early word from the developers of Assassin’s Creed 4 has emphasized just how much Edward Kenway will be winning the hearts and minds of fans, following more in the tradition of Ezio Auditore than Assassin’s Creed 3‘s Connor. Although a more in-depth look at Kenway has yet to be released (but is certainly coming in the inevitable story trailer) the gameplay proves he’s as deadly as any of his predecessors. And not just towards human beings.

Assassins Creed 4 Gameplay Trailer


Ubisoft may have got into some hot water with activists over their announced ‘whaling’ feature, but the gameplay footage proves that sea life won’t only exist in the game for Edward Kenway to hunt. Ubisoft’s approach to piracy may not be as ‘grounded’ or ‘realistic’ as claimed, with the footage showing that sharks will pose a serious risk to players diving for underwater treasure, even if the exact structure of the game’s exploration or underwater combat has yet to be detailed.

Whatever the case, the developers seem intent on at least addressing every aspect of life during the Golden Age of Pirates. Previous reporting on the game’s features and story have hinted that players will have the choice of either following the story or enjoying the largest open world in the series so far, and the gameplay tease does provide an idea of how all that time will be spent.

The campaign of Assassin’s Creed 3 left plenty of side-missions for players to tackle at their leisure, so it’s safe to assume the same will be true in Black Flag. Whether taking to the seas aboard Kenway’s ship, ‘The Jackdaw’ in pursuit of man or marine life, the ship mechanics won’t quite be the same ones familiar from AC3. With more aggressive opponents and a larger emphasis on boarding enemy ships, AC4 may help bring a bit more of the core Assassin’s Creed experience into a promising additional game mode.

Assassins Creed 4 Gameplay Reveal

Much of that will have to do with Kenway’s prowess in combat; if his twin cutlasses and numerous pistols are any indication, players shouldn’t have to worry. It will still be interesting to see if Ubisoft can do anything different with their combat engine to offer a newer spin, but either way, fans won’t likely be disappointed.

What do you think of the gameplay footage? Are you eager to find our more of the story behind Edward and Blackbeard? Or is the action and Caribbean setting what’s got your excitement building? Sound off in the comments.

Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag will be released October 29, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360. Next-gen releases are also expected.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.