Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag FAQ – Release Date, Next-Gen, Setting
Excited about Assassin’s Creed 4 but still have tons of questions about the game? Ubisoft’s next AC game is set to be a good one, so here’s everything you need to know.
Published on Mar 4, 2013
After rumours and speculations, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is official. But what do we know about Ubisoft’s latest game, and – more importantly – what do you want to know?
We’ve collated all of the current information on the game into one easy to digest FAQ and – hopefully – every question you might have about the game has been answered here. If not, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.
What is Assassin’s Creed 4’s release date?
The official release of AC4 was revealed during the announcement trailer, and will release in the US on October 29 2013. In Europe Assassin's Creed 4 will hit the shelves on November 1 2013.
This ties into the release dates of all the previous Assassin's Creed games, which have released along a uniform series of dates.
Assassin’s Creed release date: November 16 2007
Assassin’s Creed 2 release date: November 17 2009
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood release date: November 19 2010
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations release date: November 15 2011
Assassin’s Creed 3 release date: October 31 2012
As you can see, the only game to break the pattern is Assassin’s Creed 3, which launched a couple of weeks earlier.
What platforms is Assassin’s Creed 4 being released on?
Assassin’s Creed 4 has been confirmed for PS4, PS3, PC, Xbox 360 and Wii U.
It’s next-gen, but Assassin’s Creed 4 isn’t coming to Xbox 720?
As it stands, Microsoft has yet to announce its next-gen Xbox, which is currently being called Xbox 720 due to the lack of a real name.
However, Ubisoft is well known for being early adopters of future technology, and the difference between Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles will be minimal – meaning it’s highly likely Assassin’s Creed 4 will launch on Xbox 720 (or whatever it will be called).
In fact, the official announcement trailer for AC4 reveals that the game will be launching on "next-generation consoles and PC", the ambiguity of which suggesting that it's not only targetting the PS4.
Once Microsoft confirms its next-gen Xbox is happening, expect to see Ubisoft announce Assassin’s Creed 4 for that console too.
Who is developing Assassin’s Creed 4?
AC4 is being developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal’s, Ubisoft flagship (and sizeable) developer.
However, Ubisoft has also confirmed that as many as 8 studios have been working on the game since 2011.
What is Assassin’s Creed 4’s setting and time period?
Assassin’s Creed 4 is set in 1715, prior to the events of Assassin’s Creed 3. The focus is on piracy, tying into Assassin’s Creed 3’s naval missions.
As such Assassin’s Creed 4 will be set in the Caribbean and, indeed, naval combat will be a large focus of the game. The three main areas of the game are Kingston, Nassau and Florida.
Ubisoft has claimed that there will be over 50 locations to visit and explore.
In 1713 the Treaty Of Utrecht was signed, and left tons of military personnel out of work. This led to the Golden Age of Piracy, which is a period of excessive piracy – apparently pirates along the Caribbean trade route attacked seven out of ten ships.
This will be the focus of Assassin’s Creed 4’s setting and timeline.
Who is the main character of Assassin’s Creed 4? Will Haytham Kenway or Connor be returning?
Assassin’s Creed 4 is set prior to the events of Assassin’s Creed 3 so no, neither Haytham Kenway nor Connor will be returning this time around.
You will, however, play as Edward Kenway, a pirate and eventual father of Haytham Kenway.
Edward Kenway is trained by assassins but lives his life as a pirate. His ultimate goal is fame – or at least infamy – and does not strive for the same goals as the assassins.
Throughout the course of the game he’ll discover the truth surrounding the Assassin’s Creed, however, and likely become a character with a bit more virtue.
Each game in the Assassin’s Creed series has introduced a unique weapon, and Assassin’s Creed 4 will be no different – Edward Kenway will wield dual swords and dual pistols.
Will this be the Pirates Of The Caribbean game I’ve always wanted?
Afraid not. Assassin’s Creed 4 aims to be a little more realistic and – in Ubisoft’s words – aims to dispel a lot of the Hollywood notions of a pirate’s life.
That means no krakens or ghost ships or cursed gold.
It will tie into very real events, and Ubisoft has already name-dropped a handful of historical events that Edward Kenway will find himself involved in. These are:
- Assault on 42 Portuguese ships, where a single pirate ship managed to sink 42 enemy ships.
- The Wreak of the Spanish armada, where pirates attacked and sank the Spanish fleet.
- The marooning of Charles Vane, the culminating result of a decline of the infamous pirate’s success.
- The explosive escape of Nassau. Nassau was a pirate haven for years up until 1718, which is when this particular event will likely take place.
What kind of historical characters will be in Assassin’s Creed 4?
It’s always a huge part of the franchise and Assassin’s Creed 4 will be no different: you’ll meet a wide range of characters from the historical period.
Some of the characters Ubisoft has already detailed include:
- Blackbeard (Edward Teach) – famous pirate and ally of Edward Kenway.
- Benjamin Hornigold – an English pirate.
- Anne Bonny – a famous Irish female pirate.
- Calico Jack (Jack Rackham) – English pirate, likely one of the game’s villains (and probably a Templar).
- Charles Vane – infamous English pirate, another likely Templar villain.
Will Desmond be in Assassin’s Creed 4?
Nope. Poor old Desmond is now out of the picture, which you would know if you played Assassin’s Creed 3. We won’t spoil it here.
As a result of this, you will actually play as ‘yourself’ in the present day. There is no Mayan threat to worry about, and instead you will be accessing the Animus yourself to search through memory banks.
How exactly this will unfold isn’t yet clear, and whether we’ll be able to explore the world of 2013 – even as limited environments that Desmond previously had access to – is as yet unknown.
How big is the world of Assassin’s Creed 4?
As we’ve already mentioned, AC4 is set in the Caribbean and will feature Kingston, Nassau and Florida as the big main areas that you’ll visit.
That said, however, Ubisoft has confirmed that this will be a persistently open world: no loading screens, just the open sea and over 50 unique locations to explore.
There will be a lot of variety in the locations too, with cities, coves, jungles, plantations and fishing villages to explore. You’ll even be able to attack coastal forts from your ship without ever having to load a separate area.
The difference in locations will carry over onto the aesthetics too: Kingston is more similar to AC3’s architecture, Havana is a Spanish-infused city like Florence in AC2 and Nassau is the republic of pirates.
Even the terrain will vary, from dense jungles to coconut islands.
You’ll even be able to swim underwater (not just temporarily dive), with collectables in hidden treasure to be found at the bottom of the sea.
Exploration is the biggest selling point of Assassin’s Creed 4 with a true open world and plenty to see and do.
Is combat improved upon from Assassin’s Creed 3?
Yes. Ubisoft has taken the criticisms of AC3 and improved on them for Assassin’s Creed 3.
Ubisoft has described the combat as “challenging”; it will feature dual-wielding sword combat as well as multiple pistols – Edward Kenway has even been seen with four guns strapped to his holster.
Naval battles have been overhauled too. They’re not longer scripted events like they were in Assassin’s Creed 3, now you can see a ship in the distance and decide how you want to tackle it.
You could swim towards the ship, attack it stealthily and take control that way, run alongside a ship, grapple onto it and board the ship in melee combat or simply use cannons in a more traditional naval battle.
Will there be multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed 4?
Yes. Ubisoft has confirmed that multiplayer will be coming back, but very little was said about specifics.
It will be the same multiplayer game type that people know and love, but with new characters and classes.
Outside of that nothing was really mentioned. Let’s hope multiplayer naval battles will happen.
What about this exclusive PS3 content for Assassin’s Creed 4?
The released packshots for Assassin’s Creed 4 confirm that – much like Assassin’s Creed 3 and Revelations before it – AC4 will have exclusive content on the PS3.
This will be 60 minutes of exclusive gameplay, and though it’s not clear what this content will be if AC3 is anything to go off it’ll likely be a separate set of missions.
But what does this mean for the PS4? Since we haven’t yet seen the packshot for the PS4 – and Ubisoft hasn’t discussed the exclusive content itself – it’s not clear as to whether this deal will also carry over to Sony’s next-gen console.
It’s safe to assume it will, but for now there is no evidence to confirm this.