Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is officially a thing, and if leaked images, videos and the game’s official box art are to be believed, gamers can expect to set sail on the open seas as an assassin/pirate
Ubisoft is gearing up to reveal the game’s first official trailer early tomorrow morning (4am AEDT), which will no doubt be full of juicy details concerning the game - even if you can watch the trailer which has been leaked early. So, in anticipation thereof - here are five things I want to see in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
1. Expand on naval battles
Assassin’s Creed III, surprisingly, appears to have drawn quite a divided reaction. Whereas some loved the setting, story and new gameplay elements, just as many hated it for some of, if not all, those reasons. Personally, I enjoyed the game, particularly the naval battles
While it originally sounded like an odd concept in an Assassin’s Creed game, turns out naval battles were so very, very awesome. And, since all evidence points to Black Flag starring a assassin/pirate we can only assume naval battles are going to play a far more pivotal role this time around.
So, other than having them return in the same capacity than what we’re now used to, the team at Ubisoft would be wise to play with the formula a little. I want to be able to freely roam the potential West Indies setting, sailing around the game world and dropping anchor at various islands in order to plunder for treasure.
2. Keep optional side content focused and to a minimum
While it’s usually nice to have plenty to do in video games, especially games that can be considered ‘open-world’, there’s a fine line between having just enough and being entirely overwhelmed. Assassin’s Creed III falls head-first into the latter, giving players far too many optional extras in order to pad out their playtime.
So going forward, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag needs to keep the number of optional side missions, collectibles and in short, things to do, to a minimum. Moreover, any optional content players can sink time into needs to provide substantial reward for their time and effort. Far Cry 3 is a fine example of this, where the player is rewarded with added skills, inventory slots and more by spending time off the beaten path.
Side missions, collectibles and everything else in between needs to feel like they are worthy of the players time, not just some type of chore to a one hundred percent completion.
3. Drop the whole ‘modern day/Desmond’ angle
At risk of starting some sort of flaming campaign against me by Assassin’s Creed fans, I admit to outright hating the sections where the story shifts back to Desmond. Similarly, I hate the sections in Assassin’s Creed III where you navigate the character through his own levels.
Not only does it take away from the far more rich, immersive experience of reliving fascinating moments from throughout human history, it also destroys the pace of the games narrative - never minding the story has, up until now, revolved around Desmond
Ubisoft is teasing Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag as being set in a new era, with a new assassin, and I can only hope, a new direction. I’d like to see a similar approach to that taken in Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for PlayStation Vita where the game itself is presented like a consumer product that allows you to experience the life of a particular assassin.
By taking that approach, players can experience a much more cohesive, uninterrupted gameplay experience without getting pulled out periodically to catch up on what sort of trouble Desmond and the group are getting into. And personally speaking, I play the Assassin’s Creed games for the interesting historical settings, not to see Desmond climb up an elevator shaft, or whatever.
4. Keep the story simple
Even though I highly enjoyed the story in Assassin’s Creed III thanks to its American Revolutionary War backdrop, the whole ‘First Civilization’ business was just a bit too convoluted for my liking - perhaps the reason I became disinterested in the series prior to last year’s entry.
To draw another comparison to Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, I want Black Flag to weave a story where players follow a particular assassin’s life over the course of a decade or so, without any fast forwarding to a future/modern day scenario.
Of course, some type of conflict is needed to keep things interesting, so the Assassin - Templar conflict should be placed front and centre. This centuries old struggle between the two factions is so interesting that there’s really no need to interject any sort of parallel storyline that has something to do with the future/modern day. I’m sure the franchise’s writers can come up with an interesting plot that can be solely centered around the Assassins and Templars - such as the latter extending their reach deep into the caribbean.
5. Surprise Us
Without moving too much into spoiler territory, Assassin’s Creed III pulled a fast one on gamers, essentially turning everything the first few hours went to lengths to build directly on its head. For all intents and purposes that single moment is by far one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever seen in a game.
That said, I want Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to surprise me. Perhaps not in the same manner, but either through story or gameplay. Often the best games we play have one or two little secrets surrounding its gameplay, and the mechanics you find within, that make it all that more enjoyable.
Given the scope and ambitious nature of Assassin’s Creed III, I’m sure the development team can come up with something to make Black Flag something special.
What changes do you want to see in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
By Jayden Williams