The modern-day storyline of Assassin's Creed 4 has you playing as an employee of Abstergo Entertainment. It's content that Ubisoft has described as "optional." However, if you do want to rummage in the present, what will you discover?
Game director Ashraf Ismail explained that "in total, if you were to do everything in the present day--find everything, hack every computer, access every room--it's a solid three to five hours." However, all players will be required to play in the modern day for about 20-25 minutes, Ismail admitted, proving that Ubisoft doesn't quite understand what the word "optional" means.
One of the reasons why Ubisoft has been so adamant in downplaying the modern day story is that many people don't like it. However, Ismail says that the company will never abandon it. "We pretty much tried to boil it down to its most core essence because we know there are people out there who really don't like the present day, and that's okay. You don't have to like it, but it's part of the brand," he said on the UbiBlog.
The modern-day story will be important for long-time fans of the series--especially if you're curious about Desmond's fate after Assassin's Creed 3. In fact, the entire meta story will still make progress in Black Flag. "It has to be in there. The First Civilization, Juno... all that is part of the brand and yes, there's progression in it," Ismail said. "It's not just a nod that we make to it."
Assassin's Creed 4 will be available on various dates, depending on which platform you get.