One gameplay conceit that made Assassin’s Creed stand out when it first arrived on the scene was the ‘meta’ fiction used to set up the gameplay and narrative; modern protagonist Desmond Miles was simply reliving the memories of his ancestors through a complex simulation, used to explain away generic elements like a health bar, game menus and even loading screens.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag takes this dual narrative one step further, transporting the player to a modern game studio called Abstergo Entertainment (there are almost too many jokes that we can make about evil game companies). As an employee, players are able to snoop around their colleagues’ desks and company e-mail – video game characters like to procrastinate just as much as we do.
One such e-mail, shown opposite, contains a list of possible ancestral memories from “Sample 17” (sound familiar?), some of which have already been visited during previous games, and others long-discussed by fans. Whether the e-mails are a transparent glimpse into Ubisoft’s process or a playful tease, let’s take a look at where the Assassin’s Creed series might take us to next.