Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Preview - X Marks the Spot
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It's not often that a presentation kicks off with a brooding monologue delivered by Finchy (Ralph Ineson) from The Office. In fact, that pretty much never happens. Yet, it's exactly how Ubisoft chooses to open its big reveal of the inevitable fourth mainline Assassin's Creed game, the sixth in the series overall, or the seventh if you're counting the PS Vita spin-off. This, ladies and gents, is Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, an Assassin's Creed game that wants to draw upon all the strengths of the previous titles in the franchise, hence the introduction from Finchy, reflecting upon “the things we've seen, the people we've been” and so on.

We've certainly seen a lot during the course of all those games over the years, and superficially, Assassin's Creed IV looks a lot like Assassin's Creed III. You even play as Connor's grandpappy, Edward Kenway, a man who dresses in remarkably similar robes to his grandson and it takes place only 50 or so years prior to the events of the previous game. However, once we're taken through the ins and outs of Black Flag, we start to understand why Ubisoft has decided to slap a Roman numeral IV onto the end of this one. It looks like it could be raising the bar once again for the Assassin's Creed franchise. Don't roll your eyes like that! Listen... Or read, rather.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag sees you taking up the dual cutlasses of Edward in a world of pirates and high seas, fortune and adventure. There be no pirate cliches here though, me lad. Forget parrots, sea monsters and the like. “We're treating this era with the same historical reverence,” says Lead Content Manager, Carsten Myhill. “We will tell the true story of the golden age of piracy... It's not a Hollywood or Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island treatment... Truth in a way is much stranger than the more bombastic fiction.”

It's 1715 and you're a brash, handsome, cocky, ruthless, hard-drinking, hard-fighting son of a bitch. Edward Kenway sounds like he might be a bit of a twat, but apparently, he's also charming and charismatic (he's British, so of course he is), leading a crew of loyal men aboard his own ship, the Jackdaw. And having been trained by assassins, he's also good with a blade or anything that comes to hand for that matter. He's also exceedingly smart and resourceful, standing him in good stead among the larger than life characters he'll encounter during his journey around the islands and archipelagoes of the Caribbean.

Ubisoft is claiming that Assassin's Creed IV will be the “most varied” in the series yet, with fifty unique locations, centred around the three main cities of Havana in Cuba, with its European-style streets and rooftops, Kingston in Jamaica, which boasts valuable sugar cane and tobacco plantations to plunder, and the pirate haven of Nassau, where a strange kind of pirate democracy operates. You'll also visit fishing villages where you can repair and upgrade your ship, hidden coves where smugglers have stashed their loot, forts to infiltrate, Mayan ruins harbouring secrets and mysteries to be uncovered, coconut islands where you'll find marooned survivors to recruit as crew members, and inhospitable jungles bristling with flora and fauna.

You can even dive underwater, braving the sharks to look for treasure in sunken shipwrecks using a real-life diving bell that was used at the time. And with so much ocean to explore, naval warfare is back with a vengeance, except this time boarding ships is seamless, as you pull your ship closer to galleons using grappling hooks, giving you the chance to swing across, free-run your way over, or swim around the other side to get the jump on enemies. Upgrading the Jackdaw will be a constant concern, as you maintain both the galleon itself and your crew, as well as bolster its firepower and resilience. Without your ship, you're screwed and can't go anywhere.

And with storms to navigate, whales to harpoon, and oodles of exploration, you'll be spending a lot of time sailing the Jackdaw as Edward looks to cement his rep as a piratical badass, using his spyglass to seek valuable resources and loot on the horizon, while rubbing shoulders with the likes of the fearsome Blackbeard, the vicious Calico Jack, the feisty Irish lass Anne Bonny and gentleman pirate Ben Hornigold. One mission will even see you marooned on an island with the psychotic Charles Vane, with only a bottle of rum and a pistol between you. That should prove interesting, to say the least.

Other missions will see you taking on 42 Portuguese ships, seeing the beginnings of piracy on the trade routes between Europe and America in the New World as the wreck of the Spanish Armada is plundered for its spilled payload of gold, and an explosive escape from Nassau, as the Royal Navy strives to defend the trade routes from pirate activity. All of these events are based on actual historical occurrences, and all seek to fulfil Ubi's goal to “redefine the perception of piracy.”

Meanwhile back in the present day, (SPOILER ALERT) Desmond remains out of the picture, leaving you to take over his place within the Animus. And when we say 'you' we mean you. Yes, you. You reading this. You. Present day really will be present day too, and you'll have a place at Abstergo Entertainment where you'll become a part of the conspiracy that's been escalating since the first Assassin's Creed game. In essence, that means no more Desmond-type character (how that will affect the whole ancestry angle, we don't know) and no more doom-laden prophecies pointing towards the end of the world in December 2012. You may have noticed that December passed by without the planet exploding in a big fiery ball.

During Ubisoft's presentation, there's also a brief mention of multiplayer and its extension of the single-player campaign's “pirate fantasy”, with new maps, new modes and a new cast of characters. And that's all Ubisoft has to say on multiplayer for now.

Promising a “seamless open-world” and “the most varied world to explore” according to Creative Director, Jean Guesdon (a six year Assassin's Creed veteran), Assassin's Creed IV has to potential to deliver on Ubisoft's goal to create a “fresh, new experience”. On paper, it looks to be business as usual for the franchise, but once again, the scale of the ambition at work here is hard to ignore. With development starting back in summer 2011 and almost every Ubi studio pooling its resources into Black Flag, it's looking ship shape and Bristol fashion.

Concluding with a gameplay trailer that Guesdon assures us hasn't been photoshopped or tampered with in any way, we have to admit that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is certainly looking like there's clearly life in the old dog yet. With the biggest AC world yet, vast oceans to sail, more advanced Naval Warfare, a new hero and pirates by the boatload, we're looking forward to plundering Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's treasures in fall 2013.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is out on October 29th in North America and November 1st in Europe.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #1 by gearsofnl
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:07:49 AM
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assassins creed 4 sucks face itr

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #2 by gearsofnl
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:12:14 AM
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I wish they makes a ac twilight

Forum Posts: 86
Comment #3 by mad4ra
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:16:54 AM
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I wish they would leave out the Multiplayer. Focus on the Campaign ffs

Forum Posts: 3018
Comment #4 by Dirty130
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:17:58 AM
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Looks great!

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #5 by JustAFriend
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:18:35 AM
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i wish they would stop being cash whores

Forum Posts: 449
Comment #6 by II KaotiK
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:19:21 AM
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Great preview, Rich, but I seriously cannot help but feel that Assassin's Creed has lost its way...


Forum Posts: 134
Comment #7 by OMGmyFACE
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:20:18 AM
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I wish everyone would stop whining and accept that we all got what we asked for: more naval battles and an interesting protag.

Forum Posts: 345
Comment #8 by mksystem74
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:22:08 AM
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I saw some real awesome stuff in the trailer and "premiere" video that went in to talking about the world and characters. Hope its as fun as it sounds.

Forum Posts: 439
Comment #9 by Craphex
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:26:54 AM
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I wonder, when they say it will be us instead of desmond in the present, will the whole present day part of it be in first person, like the memories things, obviously you cannot see yourself in the game, unless they add a design a character feature.

Forum Posts: 1181
Comment #10 by CyberPunch83
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:53:59 AM
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The pirate angle with its naval warfare isn't doing much for me. Never cared for it in Assassin's Creed III. Also, how can this be an AC game without Desmond? I figured this would be a prequel, given Edward being Connor's grandfather. Seems like Ubisoft has somewhat written themselves into a corner here.

Forum Posts: 11686
Comment #11 by BiggD
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:56:16 AM
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Am I the only one who thought the Naval battles were boring and stupid...?

Forum Posts: 1062
Comment #12 by Lebowski
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:56:47 AM
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YES! Assassins Creed keeps taking steps in the right direction. Can't wait to play this!

Forum Posts: 160
Comment #13 by Delirium1138
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:00:20 AM
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It already looks a lot more interesting then AC3. I do miss the old AC days though.

Forum Posts: 210
Comment #14 by Sanchezz4387
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:21:47 AM
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3 years between ac 2-3, 1 year between ac 3-4, pathetic

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #15 by Boro Iz Rich
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:23:56 AM
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Forum Posts: 144
Comment #16 by Comatose
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:31:10 AM
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So...If the person in the Animus is "US" then...we have all the exact same ancestor?! Damn. We are all inbreds in that case...Not so sure if I saw that coming...

Forum Posts: 494
Comment #17 by Timmsy
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:43:36 AM
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looks immense i love piracy it was my fave part of AC3, this will be immense!

although i still want fuedal japan! the nation of the art of the blade and no assassin game? its a joke!

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #18 by Juggalo151
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 07:40:06 AM
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this just in: Make way for Assassin's Creed Sonic vs. Abstergo Racing

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #19 by MustaPastori
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 07:40:52 AM
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Will they show AC V at E3 this summer?

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #20 by iBlaise
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:00:20 AM
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Why couldn't they just make a Pirate themed IP?

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #21 by Dragonlightning
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:07:52 AM
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And how are we stealthy assassins when most of the game is apparently at sea? Is the boat meant to sneak up on people?
It seems like they are moving away from the assassin idea and more towards random killing in a specific period of history. It makes me think they are running out of ideas and decent story.

On a positive note the game looks good graphically and people are getting pirates and naval battles with upgradable ships which is what people said they wanted.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #22 by Lieber
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:08:26 AM
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@16 I read you're hired by Abstergo to go in the Animus and visit Edward's memories thanks to new Animus technology that allows anyone to go in people's ancestors memories, as long as the DNA is stored somewhere (in this case, they probably have Desmond's DNA).

Forum Posts: 111
Comment #23 by AlmightyZing
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:21:46 AM
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@14, AC II came out in 09, Brotherhood came out in 10, Revelations in 11, AC III in 12. So yeah, 3 years between numbered titles, but they've still pumped one out every year.

Forum Posts: 120
Comment #24 by Lbrun12415
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:57:41 AM
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I want a Western next, or even Ninjas.

Forum Posts: 220
Comment #25 by DragonessAthena
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 09:18:29 AM
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@16 Abstergo uses the Animus to create entertainment products. AC4 is no doubt based off memories they pulled from Desmond since he was their prisoner at one point. AC: Liberation is one of Abstergo's video games, as is the AC3 multiplayer.

But that said, I don't want to play as an Abstergo employee. Kenway's life is briefly explained (and his death) in the AC: Forsaken novel, he's not a mysterious man.

Forum Posts: 1690
Comment #26 by Jack Frost
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 10:21:24 AM
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Doesn't it seem too soon for another Assassin's Creed?

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Forum Posts: 147
Comment #27 by hotdogenigma
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 10:40:40 AM
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If they want this game to draw on the strengths of the previous games they should drop MP and put back in actual assassinations. You know, just sayin.

@7 I wish you would not insinuate everyone loved the naval missions. I didn't enjoy them and hearing that this game will have a large portion concentrated on the ships is a downer for me.

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #28 by Hurricane Of 87
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 11:32:13 AM
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Not pumped for this. Got AC3 day one and enjoyed it alot, but after the first month it's just been collecting dust.
I got it with the intention of playing a lot of multiplayer but the smoke bombs are still OP (Name one weakpoint to them?). Team based matches were clusterfucks where stealth was abandoned and turned into smoke bombs and stuns galore. Wolfpack got boring quickly as the same enemies in the same order, mostly in the same places, etc.
Earning new costumes and trinkets for your character were too expensive or had moronic unlock conditions (5th prestige for a certain colour war paint? Reckon I'll pass) and you couldn't customize a lot of detail on any non-default costumes.

The combat was okay I guess? Having a lot of those slick double kills and throwing soldiers into walls looks cool but is literally done with one button press. All very 'hands off'. It looks nice but it doesn't satisfy. Same with navigating, just hold Up + RT and you're pretty much sorted. Found my self drifting off whilst running through the frontier for feathers, etc.
Thought Sleeping Dogs had the right idea by having you time an additional 'A' press otherwise you'd fudge the smoothness of your running. Definitely kept the mind active.

Forum Posts: 92
Comment #29 by PluralAces
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 11:32:22 AM
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For it to have a IV next to it and only take place 50 years prior is stupid...this could have easily just been a prequel to III. They need to stop developing overlapping games, tis like they are working on 2-3 AC's at once,. and they dont know what they are going to release first...

MP should have stopped after revelations when they swithced the meter to help bad kids play AC MP better...

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #30 by Hurricane Of 87
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 12:10:25 PM
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@29: Huh? I thought they changed the meter so people would stop getting Incognito bonus for jumping off roofs or getting a kill after walking around the corner and into their target. Having the build up the meter discouraged players running in like dickheads. Mostly.

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #31 by Foreseen 360
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 12:47:37 PM
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Dunno about this. The last decent AC was Brotherhood. I got AC3 on release day and haven't played it since. Felt very much a let down to the series, shame really!

Forum Posts: 435
Comment #32 by cbssi
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 02:33:11 PM
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A two-year development cycle? I understand Ubisoft has many different studios working on these titles, but surely... Even AC: Revelations was still in development back in summer of 2011. You're telling me they were able to develop 3 games simultaneously?

Gosh, imagine how awesome these games could be if they gave us a two-year breather in between each for the Montreal studio itself to focus on JUST the one title. It would give us time to breath and get the last AC game out of our system (I'm still weary from ACIII), while giving the game a lot more time to polish and expand.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #33 by ExtraWhippedCream
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 03:07:25 PM
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Don't hate, but I am more excited for piratey assassins than I ever was for colonial american ones.

Forum Posts: 22
Comment #34 by SakuraKiddo
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 03:22:33 PM
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I am a HUGE fan of AC series and I just can't wait to play this. AWESOME trailer, there is a lot of people that does not like AC anymore, but for me I could play a new game every 6 months. And I hope that still have more fans like me around the world.

Forum Posts: 3290
Comment #35 by Foxxy kyle
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 03:37:34 PM
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I wish they would spend more time on the series than 1 year per game. I mean AC3 just came out...

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #36 by LeeJ2512
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 04:20:35 PM
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I hate how they had to go BACK the way, I couldn't care less about Connor's grandad. I think there was much more potential for Connor, at the end of AC3, it was hinted he was going to tackle the slaves, which would have tied into Lincoln maybe when Connor got a bit older.

Also, notice the "Creed" is never mentioned? The Assassins are actually being written out of the game series it seems. You barely saw any real Assassin mentor people in AC3, yes I know the reasons why, but compared to the first game where they had temples and everything, seems kinda weird.

It just seems like Ubisoft have decided to make a Pirates of the Caribbean game, if they did have that name instead of AC4 I would have been happier.

Ezio got 3 friggin games, Connor gets killed off after one. Massive step back.

Forum Posts: 657
Comment #37 by BBowles
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:44:46 PM
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It's hinted at the end of AC3 how we can still access Desmond's bloodline without him around.

I'm actually very interested to see what this character does. After all, at some point his son turns into a Templar...maybe its because of this characters actions?

Forum Posts: 657
Comment #38 by BBowles
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 05:45:47 PM
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@36 Perhaps the fact that the Creed is "written out" or ignored is what led Connor's father to become a templar instead?

Forum Posts: 22
Comment #39 by SakuraKiddo
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 06:35:58 PM
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I agree with that (36). I wish that we could have more about Connor's story. That was really weird, maybe someday they do something with him again.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #40 by CANAD1AN STEVE
Monday, March 04, 2013 @ 08:36:41 PM
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Another one?! my god this game series needs to end... couldn't agree more with Foxxy Kyle Comment#35

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #41 by Mr J Muffin
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 02:35:13 AM
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No one here seems to realize that the games aren't having just one year spent on them. AC3 had been in development by a central studio since AC2's release. Brotherhood and Revelations were done by different sections of Ubisoft. This game has been in development for 2 years, with several different studios contributing, and the game being applied and playable thanks to anvilNext getting its kinks worked out. The releases may be annual, but this is not turning into a Call of Duty franchise. Not yet, anyway.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #42 by Mr J Muffin
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 02:37:12 AM
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I mean even if they release every year. If they bring something fresh and new to the table with every game, you can't call it a rehash or poor business practice. If their annual releases truly are new experiences, then they deserve the money they earn.

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #43 by Sorcier78
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 04:43:35 AM
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Sounds awesome, I like the Pirate Theme!

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #44 by tjevo9
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 10:09:16 AM
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Too soon. This franchise is going to die just as Guitar Hero did. Shame because I enjoyed the original up to Brotherhood. :(

Forum Posts: 435
Comment #45 by cbssi
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 02:26:44 PM
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@41: Call of Duty is actually pretty similar. Activision has 3+ developers working on Call of Duty, resulting in annual releases. Off the top of my head, Treyarch and Infinity Ward (the big two), Sledgehammer, Raven Software, Certain Affinity, n-Space...Am I missing any?

The point is, Call of Duty games also have development cycles of 2+ years by multiple studios, just like AC games. It's not so different.

The main difference is that each AC game has something of a distinct feel, whilst Call of Duty has remained pretty similar since Modern Warfare.

Forum Posts: 125
Comment #46 by Mr Snict
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 03:13:41 PM
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#2 What does that even mean?

And meh. It looks decent. Didnt buy the last one.

Forum Posts: 1304
Comment #47 by sicklyplague
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 09:44:39 PM
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If ubisoft actually makes a good story for this game i will buy it. AC3 had probably the worst story out of any AC game, they spent to much time on making the open world part stunning then having a compelling story or a decent Assassin.

Although when i see the collectors edition i will probably pre-order it because you know assassin statues are awesome.

Forum Posts: 332
Comment #48 by SweetBlackMagic
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 @ 05:27:04 PM
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@24...Ninjas would SO kick ass! I was hoping for a feudal Japan setting with AC3. A Western would be nice, but Ninjas would truly bring back the stealth and assassination angle!

That being said, I think the series peaked with Ezio...there was just so much to work with in Renaissance Italy in terms of buildings, locations, tombs, etc. It felt more "real" in that setting...the Revolutionary War just threw everything too "forward" (roughly 300 years) in the timeline. They left SO much potential on the table IMO.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #49 by halolover
Thursday, March 07, 2013 @ 01:34:12 AM
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all i can say is, "that's CAPTAIN Edward Kenway to you matey.."

Forum Posts: 233
Comment #50 by RickyD31
Thursday, March 07, 2013 @ 10:16:51 AM
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Forum Posts: 10
Comment #51 by dknight
Thursday, March 07, 2013 @ 04:26:53 PM
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I love the Assassin's Creed games, but I hope ubisoft don't milk the cash cow and stretch out the series too far, all good things must come to an end after all.
I really enjoyed 1 and 2, Brotherhood and Revelations although good at times bored the tits off me and I'm on the fence with 3.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #52 by RJMWalsh
Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 05:06:58 PM
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Yes i loved AC3 so can't wait for Black Flag

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #53 by The Cipriani
Saturday, March 09, 2013 @ 02:34:54 PM
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im so glad they have taken the strongest thing from AC3 and made almost a whole game out of it, AC3 was so horrible to play and the DLC was even worse but this game will hopefully be quite promicing. Hopefully no multiplayer though so the story will be better.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #54 by monsterautopsy
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 @ 03:38:33 PM
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I agree with leaving out the multiplayer and focusing on campaign! I do love my AC though!

Forum Posts: 66
Comment #55 by BeardedHoplite
Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 07:41:55 AM
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So its Sid Meyer's Pirates with more land action?

Forum Posts: 257
Comment #56 by CelticWarriorDB
Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 03:17:04 PM
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@3 Yes lets get rid of a mode that people actually enjoy all because you don't want to play it, despite the fact that you DON'T have to. Idiot.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #57 by Potarto72
Sunday, March 17, 2013 @ 07:01:12 PM
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Revelations and AC3 were boring and poorly executed, IMO. I'm a huge pirate fan, so I hope this one isn't as bad. And for god's sake, people. Quit making your final verdicts on the game 6 months before it comes out.

Forum Posts: 108
Comment #58 by xiiaMToMx
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 05:06:38 AM
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Like @23 said they have put out a new AC game every year since AC 2 and nobody has seemed to have a problem with it, i know the game is kind of straying away from what it used to be but the only reason i think that everyone thinks this game was rushed was because it was announced so quickly after AC 3, it will still have had a lot of work put in to it regardless

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #59 by MirkwoodRanger3
Friday, March 22, 2013 @ 11:59:55 PM
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to everyone complaining that games are comming out too fast, dont buy them. i have loved every AC game to date, except revalations which was kinda dry, but each other one has been a huge step in the series and this looks to be no exception. if you dont like how fast they are comming out maybe wait a year to buy it to make yourself happy, but ill gladly be waiting for midnight the night it comes out.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #60 by Assassin ZA
Saturday, March 23, 2013 @ 04:43:53 AM
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So gonna get it but it's really starting to bore me a bit. the assassin's creed series never comes to end

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #61 by DrivenPath
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 @ 09:43:58 AM
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This game is gonna be awesome though i wonder what happens to Desmond...

Forum Posts: 85
Comment #62 by normanji
Monday, May 06, 2013 @ 01:40:22 PM
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Take a fucking break from making these. And fuck the multiplayer.

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Game Info
Ubisoft Montreal


US October 29, 2013
Europe October 29, 2013

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