Black Flag: It’s not just a SoCal punk band anymore.
If you’re like me, a parent and a gamer, who seems to have excessive amounts of parenting time but not a lot of time for gaming, you may be scratching your head over the recent unofficial-turn-official annoucement of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. “But I haven’t even played Assassin’s Creed III yet!” I’ve said to myself.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, then… SURPRISE! Assassin’s Creed IV is coming out and instead of playing an Assassin from the Crusades, the Renaissance, or the American Revolution, you’re be playing Edward Kenway a pirate/assassin.
Admittedly, we as gamers have been waiting for a really good pirate game for a long time. (While I personally loved the Monkey Island franchise good old Guybrush is not the type of pirate I’m talking about here.)
Us here at Brutal Gamer had a discussion about ACIV: Black Flag and here are some of our personal opinions:
Jason M – Editor-in-Chief of Brutal Gamer
I’m very much a fan of forerunner civilizations, ancient alien theories, and thoughts of that ilk. I had to get that out of the way first because it’s directly related to the reason why I loved Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed so much. Mixing ancient history with crazy sci-fi stuff like the Apple of Eden and the like was just golden as far as I was concerned.
Something happened though- between Brotherhood and Revelations, I completely lost interest in Ezio and the Assassin’s Creed series on the whole. The strange thing is that I thought Brotherhood was a terrific game and the cliffhanger ending had me wanting to play Revelations as soon as I could… but then when the game actually saw release, I couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm to play it.
Then the long awaited third (numbered) entry in the series was announced and Ubisoft promised a fresh start for Assassin’s Creed. After seeing the game at previews and checking it out at the San Diego Comic Con, I was -again- pumped to play. And yet the same exact this happened for the second time in a row.
Yep, AC3 saw release and I couldn’t have cared less. And more or less, that also sums up how I feel about the upcoming AC4- and that feeling is meh.
By now I have a theory though (I guess I should at this point). My thinking is that, at least to me, the idea of slogging through another ‘open world’ with basically the same set of characters and grinding away on nonsensical side-missions that don’t really pay off (grabbing feathers) just holds no interest for me. Honestly, it never really did, I just enjoyed the gameplay and the story so much in the first few games that it didn’t bother me too much.
Oh, and pirates… as cool as something like that does sound, I really don’t like how any of the other elements are evolving towards the sixth (console) outing in the AC universe. Doing away with the modern link (via the Desmond plotline) and making the person in the Animus a generic ‘you’ has got me scratching my head. Without an actual character to follow in the modern age, is it even really Assassin’s Creed?
So I’ll be looking to AC4 with a questioning eye. It’ll have to do a lot to get my interest back up for the hidden blade squad and I don’t know that it can. Honestly, I have no problem with yearly releases if they’re all fresh and exciting- unfortunately those are two things that Assassin’s Creed hasn’t been for me in quite some time.
Chris S – Contributing Writer
I’m really in two minds about the quick turnaround of Assassins Creed titles. As gamers, we all know that the best titles, be them Ken Levine’s Bioshock, Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Series or Killer 7 by Suda 51, all takes years to develop. It takes a vast amount of time to design, code, build, and then play test these creations from the ground up. Therefore when games become yearly prospects with titles such as Assassin’s Creed and Call Of Duty, do the games not then suffer as the developers are slavishly adhering to a time frame? Also, letting the release become no more than an annual cash cow for the publishers takes away any artistry and it becomes a cynical money making exercise.
Conversely, however, I am a massive fan of the AC series and I don’t feel as if I have been let down yet. Yes, I did feel that AC3 was one of the weakest additions due to the main protagonist Connor being EXTREMELY dull (so boring that I had to put it in caps!). Furthermore, the ending of current day character Desmond’s story did feel a little rushed seeing as we’ve followed him for five games previously. Saying that, I still enjoyed it and AC is still my favourite game series to date. Also, I do like the fact that I know I can look forward to a new AC game every Christmas period, and I’m looking forward to this one.
Do I think it’s a worrying trend among publishers? Yes. Will I buy this game, and am I looking forward to it? Yes and yes. As I stated before, I’m conflicted, but then, I’m a hard guy to fathom!
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is scheduled for release just days before this Halloween.