It seems like it was only a matter of time until Ubisoft took their Assassin’s Creed franchise to the seas; after all, what embodies the series’ brand of high-flying, swashbuckling gameplay more than the life of a buccaneer? But with Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, the developer is taking the core gameplay into an open world unlike any other in the series.
New hero Edward Kenway’s mission may seem destined to cross that of the Assassin Order, but the latest trailer shows – through the inked skin of Kenway himself – that his rebellious spirit and love of freedom will distinguish himself from his predecessors.
Those who’ve been keeping up to date with the numerous Black Flag cinematic trailers know just how strongly Edward Kenway feels about authority figures, having cast off British laws to seek out freedom (and wealth) during the Golden age of Pirates. In this newest trailer, Kenway is shown to quite literally wear that rebellion as a badge of honor, promising to chart a new course for the series in terms of leading men.
The star of the previous game, Connor Kenway (Edward’s grandson) was the subject of much criticism from both fans and critics. Ezio Auditore was going to be a hard act to follow for any play-controlled character, but Connor’s lack of personality, humor, and general naivetÃ© was one of the game’s most glaring issues.
Ubisoft seems to recognize the shortcomings of Assassin’s Creed 3, planning to receive feedback from fans on mission design in-game, while crafting a hero that bears little in common with Connor. Since players found that protagonist a bit dry, the developers have shaped Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag around a character who is the polar opposite; jaded, cynical, and as this trailer shows, keen on enjoying all the pleasures piracy has to offer.
The publisher still expects Black Flag to sell fewer copies than AC3, but that doesn’t seem to have lessened their resolve of raising the bar for the franchise as a whole. With a strong cast of actors, an open world larger than any experienced in the series thus far, and apparently just as much content to discover on your own than is contained in the main campaign, Ubisoft seems to be courting even disappointed fans back to their brand.
Only time will tell if the series has reached its peak, or if Black Flag packs enough pirate fun to win over skeptics. Either way, it would seem Edward’s character will bear a majority of the load. What do you think of his odds? Is a cynical, morally grey character just what’s needed, or do you remain on the fence? Sound off in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will be released on October 29, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, and on next-gen consoles.
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