Posted March 4, 2013 by Peter in Announcements

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag revealed – and this isn’t rumours or leaks! [Updated]

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag revealed - and this isn't rumours or leaks!
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag revealed - and this isn't rumours or leaks!

After several days of leaks, the news that Assassin’s Creed 4 is coming soon isn’t entirely entirely new. However, last Wednesday Ubisoft revealed the game to the press, and as the embargo on information expires, we can clarify some of the details rumoured…

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is indeed piracy based, set in the Caribbean during the start of the 1700s (1715, if one leak is accurate). With parallels drawn to what was described as the “intense naval action” in Assassin’s Creed 3 (AC3), the series was considered as the “perfect franchise” for a piracy themed game, and just as previous games have used real eras, events and personalities, the early 18th century was felt to be not only stranger, but “more bombastic than fiction”.

The hero

You play as Edward Kenway, the father of Hatham from AC3; a British former-privateer who has turned to piracy, and an associate of real pirates including Ben Hornigold, Anne Bonney, Calico Jack Rackham, Charles Vane and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach.

While Kenway is a fairly reckless character, being cocky as well as confident, he stumbles into the ongoing conflict between the Assassins and Templars and becomes a part of something “bigger”. In the videos, he was seen dual-wielding cutlasses or pistols, as well as making a kill with the series’ signature wrist blade, and performing an eagle dive into the sea (haystacks presumably being less common out on the ocean).

The world

The area covered in the game is due to have 50 locations, with the player free to head where they want to go. Main towns are named as being Havana – “the most European; Florence under a Caribbean sun”, Kingston and Nassau, which at the time was in reality a pirate haven and described at the event as “a lawless Republic” and “the first democracy in the New World.”

The other locations are planned to include:

    • fishing villages for side missions and ship repairs;
      plantations which can be stealthily raided;
      hidden coves where smugglers can be found – and stolen from;
      jungles – a natural environment to be free-running in, but also one that is claustrophobic and a direct contrast to the open oceans;
      forts to be attacked from ship as well as on foot;
      Mayan ruins which will “probably hide secrets”;
      small islands where marooned crew may possibly be found; and
      “underwater” – special emphasis placed on this being a completely new environment for the series. While Kenway can dive to loot wrecks, this was also shown to have dangers, with videos including him being attacked by a shark in the process.
  • All locations are promised to be in one world. While it was conceded there would probably be some loading, the intention was promised as making the game feel like one map, and the player is encouraged to explore to find new areas.

    Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag revealed - and this isn't rumours or leaks!

    Ubisoft revealed the cover art to the PS3, Wii U, 360 and PC last week; all use variations of the same artwork, but only the PS3 has extra information, promising “60 minutes of exclusive gameplay”

    You’re not going alone…

    You are in command of a ship, the Jackdaw, described as a “second character” in the presentation. As the game progresses and you earn more, the Jackdaw can be upgraded – presumably not least allowing more cannons for you to compete with larger enemy ships. The ship also needs a crew to operate it; during storms and long battles crew will be lost and must be replaced.

    And the battles… unlike AC3, where the naval boardings were more scripted, and generally split into two sections (one on your ship, a cut scene transition, and then another section on the enemy ship), boarding in AC4 is promised to be “seamless”. When the ships get close up, the crew will grapple the vessels together (essentially creating, on the fly, a new area in the middle of the ocean), leaving you to approach as you see fit. A few of the suggestions made at the presentation included swinging by rope across into the fight, free-running from one ship’s rigging to the other’s, or even swimming around to the far side to sneak on-board. However, the point made earlier was emphasised – the longer this takes, the more of your crew you are likely to lose.

    Anything else?

    One other part of the game was mentioned – the framing story. Desmond’s story, running through AC1 to AC3, is now over – the 2012 of the game and 2012 of reality meeting and creating a “new present”. In a metagame plot point that will hopefully make more sense come the time, you play “yourself”, researching Kenway.

    With development apparently started in the summer of 2011 – before even AC2: Revelations was released – the release of Assassin’s Creed 4 was listed as being “fall 2013″ (a leak last week suggested this would specifically be October 29th), most interestingly to be available for PlayStation 4 as well as PS3, the 360, Wii U and PC.

    [Updates: The PlayStation 4 will also have the extra 60 minutes of content available, the same as the PlayStation 3 version; this content will be downloaded from the PlayStation Network.

    The release date in the UK will be November 1st.

    There will also be a collector’s edition; however, details of this will only be released at the end of March.]


    Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.