Assassin’s Creed games have turned into an annual affair for Ubisoft and thus it should come as no surprise that the franchise is getting its next iteration announced for the current year, a mere four months after the release of the last game in the series; Assassin’s Creed III.
What may come as a surprise for long time fans of the series is that Ubisoft’s next foray into the Assassin’s Creed brand is Assassin’s Creed IV.
While in the past, Ubisoft has stayed in a particular time period after their numerical iterations, like Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles and Bloodlines after the original game as well as Brotherhood and Revelations after Assassin’s Creed II, this time the publisher has taken a direct jump to numerical sequel from III to IV.
Revealed last week as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag; the game is played from the point of view of a new protagonist and is now set in the swashbuckling era of the 18th Century pirating world.
A New Character; a New Approach
As previously mentioned, past games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise have been prone to provide its fans with sequels in between the main, numerical iterations of the game, and with these sequels came a focus on a specific person and a time period.
With the first game and its two handheld sequels, the franchise focused on Altair and the era of the third crusade. The second game as well as its sequels Brotherhood and Revelations, focused on the Renaissance era as well as the exploits of Ezio. This time, however, Ubisoft seems to have changed their strategy.
With the third game’s focus on American Revolution and a new character named Connor, the general consensus seemed to expect the following few games to focus on that era as well as be a Connor Trilogy, mirroring the Ezio trilogy that preceded it. However; Assassin’s Creed 4 will feature a brand new character by the name of Edward Kenway.
Unlike the previous iterations, Assassin’s Creed IV seems to move backwards in time to tell the story of grandfather of the protagonist of the previous game; the Assassin, Connor and father to the Templar, Hytham Kenway. According to Ubisoft officials, the game is part of, what they are calling; the Kenway family saga.
The Present (Assassin’s Creed III Spoilers):
The other side of every Assassin’s creed game is the dynamic between the past and present. With the Previous slew of Assassin’s Creed game told the story of Desmond Miles, a reluctant modern Assassin. However, with the demise of Desmond in the last moments of Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft has chosen to take a new approach to the modern element in the Assassin’s Creed IV.
Rather than following the same formula and entrusting the player in the hands of another Modern Assassin, Assassin’s Creed IV dares to do something new. The present day gameplay of Black Flag revolves around the players playing as themselves, as an employee of Abstergo entertainment.
As long time fans of the game know, Abstergo industries is the front for the modern Templars and therefore this predicament opens the game to a whole slew of possibilities.
While the core of the gameplay has always been focused on the ways of the Assassins, the Assassin’s Creed games have also been about exploring exotic locations, visiting by gone eras and rich character narratives. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag seems to be no different.
Just like Connor was a Mohawk first and an assassin second in Assassin’s Creed III, Edward Kenway will be a pirate first and an assassin second in Assassin’s Creed IV. It is a good thing, then, that the game is set in the early 18th Century, during fledgling Colonial era and the hay days of the pirates.
The crux of the story and gameplay seems to revolve around pirates and their pirating ways. Players get to lead the life of a pirate while partaking in historical events and exploring several real life town and areas like Havana, Nassau and Kingston as well as explore the seas as they helm the wheel of their very own vessel.
Like any game from the series, the personality of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag seems to be more focused towards portraying historically accurate pirating, rather than the swashbuckling, campy tom foolery depicted in mainstream media.
So if you are thinking Pirates of the Caribbean, think again. While the game will feature pirating staples like Shipping and looting, the developers have stressed that players should expect a gritty and realistic take on pirating akin to Sons of Anarchy and various HBO series rather than cheeky one likers and goofy walking the plank routines.