Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Announced

By Jonathan Barnes, 5 years ago
In what may go down as the weakest defense since the screen-door submarine, Ubisoft officially announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag this morning.

If Blackbeard's recommendation isn't enough to get you interested in our new assassin, Edward Kenway, perhaps some of the details, screenshots, and artwork provided by Ubisoft can convince you to join the crew.

The game has been in development for almost two years and is being lead by Ubisoft Montreal with some additional support from Ubisoft studios in Annecy, Bucharest, Kiev, Quebec, Singapore, and Sofia.

The game also introduces the newest assassin, Edward Kenway, a young British man that left the navy to embrace piracy during the final decade of the Golden Age of Piracy in the West Indies (now known as the Caribbean).

Given that familial ties run through the Assassin's Creed franchise like hidden blades through targets, it is important to note that Edward is the father of Haytham, making him Connor's grandfather.


The son of an English father and Welsh mother, Edward fits the stereotype for most of our previous assassins: he's brash, charismatic, clever, reckless, "generally kind", but naturally selfish.

After his family moved to Bristol (in southwest England), Edward married an older woman named Caroline Scott. As you can expect, Edward didn't "settle down", instead his grandiose ideas about sailing as a privateer in the West Indies and amassing a fortune ended the marriage.

Although Caroline left, Edward did make good on his promise and in 1712, he boarded a ship and set sail for Jamaica to work on the crew of legendary privateer, Benjamin Hornigold. His crew service only lasted for about six months, though as 1713's Treaty of Utrecht effectively ended the conflict between the major empires, eliminating the need for British Privateers.

..and thus began his life of piracy.

According to Ubisoft, the backstory is just that... backstory. When gamers actually get their hands on Edward, he is already an experienced privateer-turned-pirate, skilled sailor, and seasoned fighter. However, events occurring early in Black Flag lead Edward right into the heart of the Assassin/Templar conspiracy.

One of the first things many gamers might notice about Edward is that he's packing more heat than any assassin to date. During combat, Edward uses dual swords and multi-pistols as his main arsenal. Proper chaining of these weapons allows him to kill very quickly and efficiently a big group of enemies. These skills will come in handy when boarding ships full of enemy combatants. In addition to swords and pistols, Edward also gets a blowpipe with multiple effect darts, the double hidden blades, and is able to use all the weapons enemies carry (Rifles, single sword, knives and Heavy Axe). The Rope Dart will also make a return.

Edward's ship, "The Jackdaw", also carries its own set of armaments that can be unlocked and upgraded. These include the round shot (base weapons), heat shot (shotgun-like weapon), mines, mortar, swivel guns, chain shot and ram.


Ubisoft is being a bit cagey about the size of the game saying, "...we don’t really craft a game comparing its size to previous ones." What they are committing to is a significantly different Assassin's Creed experience with a global world is bigger than any other game but a structure that is totally different, allowing you to visit more than 50 different locations.

One of the big differences that Ubisoft is aiming for is to truly capture the essence of a "true pirate game" that unifies both naval and ground gameplay.

As one might expect, players will be able attack, board, and plunder ships while also engaging in ground-based action that includes attacking plantations, exploring shipwrecks, raiding smuggling caves, discovering Mayan ruins, and exploring the three main cities of Havana, Nassau, and Kingston.

For those concerned about the split between naval action (introduced in Assassin's Creed III) and the more-traditional Assassin's Creed gameplay, Ubisoft has commented that about 60% of the story-missions will be ground based and about 40% will be set at sea.



Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will also debut a new AI system named "Horizon". The Horizon System will allow dynamic sea interactions that will always present two or three pirate “opportunities” available to you. These opportunities could be your standard "pillage and plunder" missions, whale hunting, or rescuing other pirates (amongst other options). These opportunities happen systemically and evolve based on your progress, meaning that every player’s experience will be different. Furthermore, these missions are outside the main story line and can be played as much (or as little) as you like.

Ubisoft is also doing a bit of tinkering to AC3's naval combat formula. While the combat system in Connor's adventure was mostly about timing your shot, combat on the Jackdaw will utilize a trajectory-based aiming system where the player is challenged on reading the distance and speed of the enemy to get that perfect hit. As previously mentioned, the Jackdaw will feature many different weapons that have unique strengths and weaknesses. Finally, enemy ships will feature six unique AI behaviors that will challenge and put pressure on the player to master the system.

Art 1

As you might expect, Edward isn't the only pirate in the Caribbean and Blackbeard isn't just featured in that fancy reveal trailer. Blackbeard, Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane, Calico Jack Rackham, and Bartholomew Roberts will all be included in the game, and gamers will get the opportunity to fight alongside (and in some cases against) all of them.


The last (and possibly biggest) bit of news that Ubisoft is dropping on gamers is that Desmond won't be the main protagonist of ACIV, but he will be referred to in the game.


Finally, we have few more pretty pictures to feast your eyes upon.

ACIV Screenshot 4

ACIV Screenshot 3

ACIV Screenshot 2

ACIV Screenshot 1

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will be released on the Xbox 360 as well as "next-gen" systems on October 29th in North America and elsewhere on November 1st, 2013.

Thanks to all of the community members who submitted this news. Out of respect for Ubisoft's embargo, we opted not to run any leaked information until this morning/afternoon.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.