Ubisoft’s upcoming title, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, is perhaps the most ambitious one in their acclaimed franchise. New screenshots and artwork have emerged from AC4, and they speak volumes about the game’s direction and aspirations.
Each of the AC titles are set in historic eras, such as the Renaissance, and most recently in AC3, America’s colonial period. Ubisoft has used these settings quite liberally, making them more than just decorative set pieces, and instead, ensuring that the richness of these worlds shine through like lead characters of their own.
A Pirate Game like No Other
From what we’ve seen with AC4, it’s almost as if Ubisoft is making a full-blown pirate game, skinned on top of an Assassin’s Creed game. AC3, released in 2012, featured the Native American Assassin, Connor Kenway, and immersed players into the world of the wild frontier. Players were given a glimpse into the lifestyles of Native Americans and the American Colonists through the use of powerful storytelling and engaging side-missions.
With AC4, however, Ubi looks like it is dumping players into the deep end. The historic setting this time around seems to permeate and dominate the gameplay far more than ever before. From the depth of the ship battles, to the re-imagining of pirate legends, AC4 just might be one of the most definitive pirate games ever developed.
To be sure, Ubi has divulged very little about AC4’s storyline, which will undoubtedly continue to expand the mysterious lore of the battle between the Assassin’s and Abstergo. But given that AC4 features open world gameplay, it almost seems like gamers could spend dozens of hours simply being a deadly pirate, decimating enemy ships and forts, seeking out buried treasure, and hunting whales.
Ubisoft has made it clear that they want to remain as historically accurate as possible (so long as it provides interesting gameplay), so players can expect more than just superficial swashbuckling – engaging with storied pirate culture and legendary pirates in genuine fashion is a priority for Ubisoft.
Expanded Multiplayer Modes
One of the new multiplayer modes in AC4 pits players cooperatively against enemy AI, who are hidden and invulnerable until a player activates a switch, which makes the enemies temporarily exposed. This mode is affectionately described as a new take on Pac-Man, which is actually hilariously accurate.
Another new multiplayer mode has players cooperatively defending multiple treasure chests. In this mode, players must guard the treasure chests and kill enemy AI who attempt to raid the chests. There is always one more chest than there are players, so managing the chests can become rather hectic, especially since the AI are capable of using decoys, stuns, and other tricks.
Finally, in AC4, Ubisoft is introducing customized multiplayer game modes with Game Lab. Various parameters such as scoring, interface, and even attack abilities can be modified to create unique multiplayer modes. These customized multiplayer game types can be uploaded and shared to other AC4 players, and may even be promoted by Ubisoft.
With these new details about the killer single-player campaign and new and expanded multiplayer modes, Ubisoft continues to build up anticipation for AC4.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag launches on current generation systems on October 29, 2013 and on next generation systems on a date to be determined. Pre-order AC4: Black Flag at Amazon.