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I once sailed for a king. I obeyed men of privilege and wealth. Now, I bend my knee to no man. My only oath is to my crew and together we will take back what is rightfully ours. With blood and steel, we shall stand up to the powerful. Captains will curse our flag, and kings will fear it. As long as empires generate wealth and riches, we will be there to bleed them dry.

—Edward Kenway, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's "Under The Black Flag" Trailer.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin's Creed IV - Black Flag cover
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ashraf Ismail
Jean Guesdon
Writer(s) Darby McDevitt
Composer(s) Brian Tyler
License AnvilNext
Series Assassin's Creed (series)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Wii U
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a 2013 historical action-adventure game, and the sixth major installment in the Assassin's Creed series. A sequel to 2012's Assassin's Creed III, the game will see the player take on the role of an Abstergo Entertainment research analyst as they explore the story of Edward Kenway – father to Haytham Kenway, grandfather to Ratonhnhaké:ton and an ancestor of Desmond Miles.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is set primarily on and around the islands in the Caribbean Sea during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 18th century, with the three major cities consisting of Havana, Nassau and Kingston.

It was released worldwide for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 29, 2013.[1][2][3] The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were also in development, and both versions have been announced as a launch title for both consoles. The Wii U version was delayed in Europe until November 22, 2013. A Microsoft Windows version was announced for release on October 29, 2013, but has since been delayed "a few weeks," and will now be released on November 19, 2013 in North America and November 22, 2013 in Europe.[4]

Gameplay

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag Gameplay Walkthrough - Part 1 Introduction Prologue (Xbox PS3 PC)27:21

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag Gameplay Walkthrough - Part 1 Introduction Prologue (Xbox PS3 PC)

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag Gameplay Walkthrough - Part 1 Introduction Prologue (Xbox PS3 PC)

The game features three major cities Havana, Kingston, and Nassau, Bahamas, which reside under Spanish, British and pirate influence, respectively. The game also features 50 other 'unique' locations to explore, with a 60/40 balance between land and naval exploration. It has more open world sensation, with missions similar to those found in Assassin's Creed, as well as fewer restrictions for the player. The world opens up sooner in the game, as opposed to Assassin's Creed III, which had very scripted missions and did not give players freedom to explore until the game was well into its first act. The player encounters jungles, forts, ruins and small villages and the world is being built to allow players much more freedom, such as allowing players to engage, board, and capture passing ships and swimming to nearby beaches in a seamless fashion. In addition, the hunting system has been retained from Assassin's Creed III, allowing the player to hunt on land, and harpoon in the water.

The game features Captain Jackdaw as the player, while in the ship. The Jackdaw is upgradeable throughout the game, as well as having easy access to the ship when needed. In addition, a new underwater component is being added. The player also have access to a spyglass, allowing the examination of distant ships, along with their cargo and strength. It can also help determine if an island still has animals to hunt, treasures to find or high points to reach for synchronization. An updated form of the recruit system introduced in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood also returns, allowing Edward to recruit crew members. While Kenway's crew remains loyal to him, and can be promoted to captain acquired ships, they cannot assist you in combat or perform long-range assassinations, as in previous games. Ubisoft removed this aspect of the brotherhood system, believing it allowed players to bypass tense and challenging scenarios too easily.

In the present day, at the Abstergo Entertainment — a subsidiary of Abstergo Industries — offices in Montreal, Quebec, players engage in modern day pirating through the exploring of Abstergo's offices, eavesdropping and hacking, all without combat. As well, various "hacking" games, similar to previous cluster and glyph puzzles, is present, that will uncover secrets about Abstergo.

Multiplayer has been confirmed to return, with new settings and game modes, though it is only land-based.

Plot

Samples taken from Desmond Miles' body in the moments after his death have enabled Abstergo Industries to continue to explore his genetic memories using the Animus' newfound cloud computing abilities. The unnamed player character is hired by Abstergo Entertainment to sift through the memories of Edward Kenway, an eighteenth-century pirate and the grandfather of Ratonhnhaké:ton. Ostensibly, this is to gather material for an Animus-powered interactive feature film, but in reality, Abstergo and the Templars are searching for the Observatory, a Precursor structure that allows the user to see through the eyes of a subject whose blood has been procured. As Kenway, the player must unravel a conspiracy between high-ranking Templars within the British, Spanish and French empires who, under the guise of cleaning up piracy in the Caribbean, have used their positions to locate the Sage - later identified as Bartholomew Roberts - who is the only man that can lead them to the Observatory, which they intend to use to spy on and blackmail world leaders. Kenway becomes an unwitting player in their plot when he kills a rogue Assassin and assumes his identity. His recklessness endangers the entire Assassins' Order, prompting him to pursue the Sage and the conspirators from the Yucatán Peninsula to Príncipe and the African coast.

Meanwhile, a band of notorious pirates - including Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch, Benjamin Hornigold and Charles Vane, among others - dream of a state where man is free to live beyond the reach of kings and rulers. Kenway is instrumental in realising this dream and a free "Pirate Republic" is established in the colony of Nassau. However, poor governance, a lack of an economy and an outbreak of disease bring the colony dangerously close to collapse. As the founders become deeply divided over every issue, Kenway tries to find a solution, but is too late to stop the Templars from taking advantage of the situation to consolidate their control over the Caribbean.

Eventually, Kenway and Roberts uncover the location of the Observatory and retrieve the artifact powering it, but Kenway is betrayed at the last moment. After a brief stint in prison for the crimes of piracy, Edward escapes with the aid of Ah Tabai, the Assassin Mentor, and elects to join their Order. Chasing down Roberts, Kenway retrieves the artifact and returns it to the Observatory, sealing it away for good. He is left facing an uncertain future with his newfound convictions until he receives a letter informing him of the passing of his wife and the imminent arrival of his hitherto unknown daughter, Jennifer Scott.

In the present day, the player is contacted by John, Abstrego Entertainment's information technology manager. John convinces the player that his employer knows more than they are telling him, and encourages them to investigate in more detail. He arranges for the player to access the Animus' core, at which point Juno materialises into an incorporeal form. She reveals that although it was necessary to open her temple to avert disaster, the world was not ready for her, and she is unable to affect it or possess the player character as her agents intended. John is unmasked as the reincarnated form of the Sage and attempts to murder the player to cover up the failed attempt at resurrecting Juno, but is killed by Abstergo's security before he can do so. As Roberts, the Sage admits to Kenway that he owes no allegiance to the Assassins or the Templars and instead uses whoever he thinks represents his best chance of achieving his ends. With the Sage dead, the player is contacted by the Assassins as they continue their infiltration of Abstergo, but neither side is able to explain the Sage's presence or identify his followers.

Development

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag producer Martin Schelling and Mission Director Ashraf Ismail both stated that they began the project in the summer of 2011, with a pirate game as their focus.[5] Ismail also stressed that they aimed towards a more historically accurate take on the era, including staying away from the stereotypical image associated with pirates, such as parrots, Krakens and plank-walking.[6] The pair also explained that because the game was so radically different from its predecessor and that the scope and open-world gameplay was so different from the previous game, they opted for the project to be a numbered sequel as opposed to a spin-off that followed in the footsteps of the last numbered game, Assassin's Creed III.[5]

Ubisoft's Montreal-based team, in conjunction with 7 other studios from Singapore, Sofia, Annecy, Kiev, Quebec City, Bucharest and Montpellier – accompanied by a band of developers of Far Cry 3 – are working on the completion of the game, with each studio focusing on different elements.[6]

Writer Darby McDevitt began writing the game soon after completing Assassin's Creed: Revelations, after being suggested to do a game expanding the "Kenway family saga", instead of Connor's life story as they did with Ezio Auditore da Firenze. He considered beginning the story with Edward as a boy during the William Kidd and Henry Morgan era of piracy, but decided he felt skeptical as to whether Assassin's Creed II convincingly portrayed a similar span of time, and so opted to simply focus on the Blackbeard era towards the end of the Golden Age of Piracy.[7]

McDevitt stated the game's primary history resources were A General History of the Pyrates (1724) and The Republic of Pirates (2008). As a homage to the former book, the game's subtitles will render each noun with capital letters. Republic author Colin Woodard was invited to consult on the game.[8]

Lorne Balfe, who was the sole composer for Assassin's Creed III and secondary composer for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, personally confirmed via Twitter that he would not be returning to score the soundtrack for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.[9] The score will instead be composed by Brian Tyler, the composer of Far Cry 3.[10]

References

  1. Gera, Emily (October 15, 2013). "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag European release date moved forward for Xbox 360 and PS3". Polygon. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  2. Hamilton, Kirk (October 1, 2013). "Assassin's Creed IV Gets A PC Release Date". Kotaku. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  3. Holzworth, Chris (October 29, 2013). "RUMOR: Assassin’s Creed IV Aveline DLC to Remain a PlayStation Exclusive". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  4. Dyer, Mitch (September 30, 2013). "Assassin's Creed 4 PC Release Date Revealed, Wii U Version Delayed". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 GamesRadar: Harpooning whales with Blackbeard - Assassin's Creed IV interview
  6. 6.0 6.1 IGN: The Dawn of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  7. NowGamer: Assassin's Creed 4: Lead Writer On Why It's 'The Best Pirate Game Ever'
  8. Mantling the Challenges of Writing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag at Gamespot
  9. Twitter - Lorne Balfe
  10. Twitter - Loomer979

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