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Ubisoft recently announced that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is in the works and will be coming this year. We’ve been bombarded with a lot of information in just one press release and we’re here to break everything down for you so you can get an idea of what’s coming and what to look forward too for Assassin’s Creed IV.

The Plot

Now, we’ve all seen the cinematic trailer by now, if not you should definitely check it out. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is based in new location in the West Indies. You’ll be visiting the West Indies set at the dawn of the 18th century. You will play as a pirate trained by Assassin’s named Edward Kenway (????-1735) who is a young British man that finds himself embroiled in the ancient battle between the Assassin’s and Templar’s. He is the grandfather of Connor. You will encounter some of the most feared pirates of the time period including the infamous Blackbeard (who is seen narrating the trailer) and Charles Vane.

Edward Teach who is better known as Blackbeard (1680 – 22 November 1718) is one of the fiercest pirates to roam the seas in the 18th century. He primarily toured through the West Indies and the eastern side of the American colonies. After capturing a French merchant vessel he renamed her, Queen Ann’s Revenge, and with her 40 guns began to terrorize the waters. Will we learn some of Blackbeard’s history? The trailer only shows Blackbeard sitting in a pub as he explains who our main character is to a group of on lookers of what he seems to be holding some grub. It is possible we will encounter Blackbeard at some point during the campaign, though it is too early to tell if he will be a target or not.

The other pirate that isn’t touched on or seen in the trailer is Charles Vane (c.1680 – March 29, 1721). With his flagship named the Ranger, he mostly preyed on British and French shipping with a pirate career that only lasted 3 years (1716-1719). He was very active in the southern east coast of the United States as well as the Caribbean. Very little is known about Charles Vane and it will be interesting to see what we learn about this pirate.

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The Gameplay

It appears Ubisoft have been working on this game for nearly two years with support from development teams in Ubisoft Montreal and from Ubisoft studios in Annecy, Bucharest, Kiev, Quebec, Singapore and Sofia. What can we expect to see from this large combination of studios working on the project? Assassin’s Creed III wasn’t exactly a prize game in the series when compared with AC 2 for example and had many flaws which I expect Ubisoft to address when it comes to IV. Let’s analyze what we notice in the trailer that relates to gameplay as well new combat experiences.

We see Edward holstering 4 single-shot flint lock pistols (a common weapon of the time period) as well as two swords. For a brief sequence Edward and his crew raid a ship and board it as well for close counter combat, and it appears if timed right a combo move to use two of the pistols (Instant kill?) as soon as you board. You also see Edward using environmental props for strong tactical melee combat. Briefly through an AI controlled crew member, we notice the hook makes a return! There could be a use for it in Assassin’s Creed IV, but that is yet to be revealed officially. The hook blade was originally used back in Revelations. For our brotherhood AI we also notice them performing various environmental and prop kills as well, could AI crews be given fighting capabilities to help when raiding ships?

An underwater scene is portrayed as Edward swims towards a sunken ship. This could either mean we have side objectives to search for sunken treasure or these are new Assassin hideouts. The classic Assassin perch that we’ve come to be familiar with is seen as we are on top of Port Royal.

Towards the end of the trailer we notice Edward taking out a clearly marked Templar in the middle of the street and immediately continue to walk with a woman through the street. This could be a new version of the stealth gameplay to go completely unnoticed during a mission.

Also of note is that Ubisoft promises the game will be much like a Skyrim, an open world adventure with more than 50 navigable locations and with combat that uses the ancient Assassin trained techniques with the weapon armaments of the era. The multiplayer experience wasn’t shown in the trailer but it appears will continue what we are already familiar with in the current games.

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Overall Thoughts

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be an exciting new game to add to the long running series and stays true to Ubisoft’s promise of a new AC game every year. As long as Ubisoft can keep up the quality of story in the game and improve the gameplay issues from Assassin’s Creed III then we might have ourselves a wonderful title to satisfy our AC needs. The game will launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 29th as well as all next-gen consoles. Look for more details on the game as we inch closer and closer to E3 in June. What are your thoughts on this new title? Sound off in the comments below!

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