Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a 2013 historical action-adventure open world video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the sixth major instalment in the Assassin's Creed series, a sequel to 2012's Assassin's Creed III modern story and a prequel to its historical storyline.
It was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, worldwide, on October 29, 2013. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are also in development, and the game has been announced as a launch title for both consoles. The Wii U version of the game was delayed until November 22, 2013 in Europe. A Microsoft Windows version was announced for release on October 29, 2013, but was delayed "a few weeks", and instead released on November 19, 2013 in North America and November 22, 2013 in Europe.
The game will feature three main cities; Havana, Kingston, and Nassau, Bahamas, which reside under [Spanish, British and pirate influence, respectively. The game will also feature 50 other 'unique' locations to explore, with a 60/40 balance between land and naval exploration. Assassin's Creed IV will have a more open world feel, with missions similar to those found in Assassin's Creed, as well as fewer restrictions for the player. The world opens up sooner in the game, as opposed to Assassin's Creed III, which had very scripted missions and did not give players freedom to explore until the game was well into its first act. The player will encounter jungles, forts, ruins and small villages and the world is being built to allow players much more freedom, such as allowing players to engage, board, and capture passing ships and swimming to nearby beaches in a seamless fashion. In addition, the hunting system has been retained from Assassin's Creed III, allowing the player to hunt on land, and harpoon in the water.
A new aspect in the game is the ship the player will captain, Jackdaw. The Jackdaw will be upgradeable throughout the game, as well as having easy access to the ship when needed. In addition, a new underwater component is being added. The player will also have access to a spyglass, allowing the examination of distant ships, along with their cargo and strength. It can also help determine if an island still has animals to hunt, treasures to find or high points to reach for synchronization. An updated form of the recruit system introduced in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood will also return, allowing Edward to recruit crew members. While Kenway's crew will remain loyal to him, and can be promoted to captain acquired ships, they cannot assist you in combat or perform long-range assassinations, as in previous games. Ubisoft removed this aspect of the brotherhood system, believing it allowed players to bypass tense and challenging scenarios too easily.
In the present day, at the Abstergo Entertainment — a subsidiary of Abstergo Industries — offices in Montreal, Quebec, players will engage in modern day pirating through the exploring of Abstergo's offices, eavesdropping and hacking, all without combat. As well, various "hacking" games, similar to previous cluster and glyph puzzles, will be present, that will uncover secrets about Abstergo.
Multiplayer has been confirmed to return, with new settings and game modes, though it will only be land-based.
As is the case in previous games in the Assassin's Creed series, the story is divided into two intertwined halves, with one in the present day, one in a historical setting, and the events of each influencing the other. Although the present-day story had previously established that an Animus was required to view one's ancestors memories, the ending of Assassin's Creed III implies that Desmond's genetic memories have now been uploaded on to 'the cloud' A notorious pirate and privateer operating during the Golden Age of Piracy, Kenway's story is set in the Caribbean, and mixes open-ended ship-based exploration with combat and land-based adventures on a number of Caribbean islands, as well as parts of southern Florida.
On the October 8, 2013, Ubisoft announced that a Season Pass will be available for purchase at the launch of the game on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, and will include the Freedom Cry single-player missions, Kraken Ship pack featuring elements to personalize the Jackdaw, as well as additional single-player and multi-player elements.
The Freedom Cry story mission will see the player take on the role of Adéwalé who, born a slave, became second-in-command onboard Captain Edward Keyway's ship, the Jackdaw, and joined him as a member of the Assassin Order. According to marketing emails, sent to U Play members on the 9th of October 2013, the story mode is expected to add more than 3 hours of gameplay. The campaign takes place fifteen years after the events of Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag where Adewale "has become a trained assassin and finds himself shipwrecked in Saint-Domingue with no weapon or crew, starting a new adventure of his own". The marketing email states players will be able to "acquire a ship and gather [their] own crew to free the slaves and avenge them".