Assassin's Creed 4 dev: pirates no longer 'for kids'

You and I know pirates to be cheery drunkards, perhaps made of plasticine, who plunder cursed booty and battle sea monsters. Yet, Ubisoft Montreal claims, this is all fiction. The developer has said it is "giving pirates the HBO, reality treatment" in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, suggesting that perhaps piracy wasn't all hook hands and perching parrots.

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You and I know pirates to be cheery drunkards, perhaps made of plasticine, who plunder cursed booty and battle sea monsters. Yet, Ubisoft Montreal claims, this is all fiction. The developer has said it is "giving pirates the HBO, reality treatment" in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, suggesting that perhaps piracy wasn't all hook hands and perching parrots.

These aren't your grandfather's pirates, oh no. They won't sing duets with Peter Pan or whatever Ubisoft imagines we imagine, no. They're gritty. They're visceral. They'll blow you away.

"We're staying away from cliches. Things like walking the plank, parrots on the shoulder and hooks for hands," lead content manager Carsten Myhill told CVG. "We are giving pirates the HBO, reality treatment. And that allows us to redefine piracy in entertainment. No longer is it for kids."

Myhill added that Ubi has "a fantastic opportunity for pirates in video games." While Assassin's Creed 3 introduced naval sections, its transitions between land, sea, and deck combat were scripted. Black Flag supposedly will let you jump between them as you please, for the full pirate experience.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U in October of this year. Editions for PC, PlayStation 4, and doubtless Microsoft's new console too will follow. Ubisoft Montreal is the lead developer but another seven Ubi studios are chipping in.

From The Chatty

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    March 11, 2013 10:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Assassin's Creed 4 dev: pirates no longer 'for kids'.

    You and I know pirates to be cheery drunkards, perhaps made of plasticine, who plunder cursed booty and battle sea monsters. Yet, Ubisoft Montreal claims, this is all fiction. The developer has said it is "giving pirates the HBO, reality treatment" in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, suggesting that perhaps piracy wasn't all hook hands and perching parrots.

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      March 11, 2013 10:02 AM

      interesting that they're comparing a childrens video game to HBO...

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      March 11, 2013 10:09 AM

      UBIsoft crack me up. First they say "We're going to give Assassin's Creed a rest for a few years.' Before announcing the third one only a few months later and now a fourth game? I kept playing up until Revelations, but reviews for the third really put me off. I don't think I'll bother with this either, looks like it has great visuals though I must say.

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        March 11, 2013 10:11 AM

        I do not understand why the reviews were so harsh. The gameplay of AssTrees was highly enjoyable and the ship-to-ship combat is some of the most fun I've had in AC since AssBros's mechanic of recruitment and training.

        I'm excited for AssPirates.

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          March 11, 2013 10:13 AM

          i saw my friend playing it and he was chasing piece of paper around. seemed p stupid imo.

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            March 11, 2013 10:14 AM

            Don't.. do that then.
            I didn't bother doing any of the almanac pieces. Just like I didn't collect any of the feathers in AssBros.

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              March 11, 2013 11:32 AM

              AssBro/AssRev had all the silly side quest shit but most of it was actually FUN (with a few exceptions like the feathers but even that was a lot more tolerable with the advent of bought maps and the menu system telling you how many you were missing in each area).. pretty much all the side quests in AssTrees were horrible and the core game missions paled in comparison most of the time too.

              Combined with the lack of awesome building interiors/exteriors to scale (the break-in to the prison in AssRev being pretty fantastic, nothing came close in AssTrees) and the horrible 100% completion goals.. it's a damned shame because they streamlined a lot of things (personalizing your assassins etc) but for everything good thing they added, they seemed to ruin something else. A lot of AssTree's was more annoying than fun.

              IMO the sole redeeming feature of AssTrees was the ship-to-ship combat, that alone deserved a game of it's own.

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            March 11, 2013 11:44 AM

            LOL. I never thought of it that way.

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          March 11, 2013 10:39 AM

          The replaced a bunch of mechanics that were fun and functioned well with a bunch of mechanics that aren't and don't. The sailing portions were the best part of the game, which is a damned travesty.

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            March 11, 2013 10:41 AM

            Which mechanics are we talking about?

            The combat is just as involved as ever. I think the only thing that was different is instead of buying up land/stores, you overtook them via minimissions which reminded me of the flawed AC1 method of tracking down information before doing a hit.

            Also, the climbing was again improved.

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              March 11, 2013 10:57 AM

              - Instead of climbing things to reveal the map, you have to waste a bunch of time running around painstakingly revealing a tiny portion at a time.
              - Unlocking and buying better armor was completely eliminated, and you could buy the second best weapons in the game as soon as Connor reached a store. The few other (mostly irrelevant) upgrades had to be crafted. Very little sense of progression here.
              - Crafting was a pain. Trading was a pain. Money was essentially irrelevant except for ship upgrades. The economy was just stupid all around. The previous system where you were buying stores was relatively simple, but it worked and even provided tangible benefits beyond more cash.
              - The assassin calling and recruiting of groups of followers were combined into a single system that doesn't work as well as either of the previous two.
              - Stealth, which was often required by missions, didn't work well and wasn't enjoyable.
              - Many story missions were made much more contrived and scripted instead of more freeform approaches allowed in previous games.

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                March 11, 2013 11:07 AM

                I can agree with you about the first point.
                I do not agree about armor unlocking (or repair!) being useful. It was just a pointless money sink for the most part and completely ignored by the wider game.
                I never bothered to craft or trade, I generally ignore the money-generation mechanics in AC games since I prefer.. well, killing people. And spending time managing stuff is just side-content.

                The assassin calling and recruiting of groups of followers were combined into a single system that doesn't work as well as either of the previous two.
                I had more of a problem with recruit training being significantly slower than before. I basically never bothered to level my recruits like in the past.

                Stealth, which was often required by missions, didn't work well and wasn't enjoyable.
                This is incorrect. It worked perfectly fine. In addition the guards were much better at both searching (they'd get a search hot-spot) and would escalate their defenses after you were detected. Hiding and LOS detection worked the same as in previous games. I did almost all of my missions completely stealthed and had a great time.

                Many story missions were made much more contrived and scripted instead of more freeform approaches allowed in previous games.
                I disagree here. I enjoyed the story missions. You can say that some of them were more cut than in previous games (for example, the one where you work with your father had a lot of sequence cuts), but I found there were just as many excellent traversal and event ones like the boston tea party. It made up for the horrible approach missions (like Lenardo's tank mission in Ass Bros) where 40-60 minute long mission could be critically failed in the last 4 minutes. The Tank mission's 100% was even... more obnoxious and would require a complete replay of the entire mission. I'm glad they took those approach missions and made them side content (Fort takeovers).

                You forgot to mention annoying chase sequences. Those were obnoxious.

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                  March 11, 2013 11:39 AM

                  The load scenes drove me nuts too.. cutscene, load scene, cutscene, load scene.. it was a lot worse in AssTree's than the others.

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                March 11, 2013 12:12 PM

                Maybe you were playing a different game than I was but I distinctly remember climbing church steeples and large trees to reveal the map.

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                  March 11, 2013 12:15 PM

                  It didn't reveal all of the map. There were portions where you were force to climb trees/buildings that didn't have viewpoints in order to reveal the rest of the map.

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                  March 11, 2013 12:39 PM

                  You did, but there were large areas of the game that could only be uncovered by systematically and tediously running around. It wasn't like previous games where hitting all the viewpoints uncovered the whole map.

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                    March 11, 2013 2:26 PM

                    Arcanum is correct here. And it caused an annoying problem in the game where even if you hit all the viewpoints, it wouldn't reveal all of the points you need to capture to earn your recruits.

                    In my case I missed a single alley in North Boston and spent a full hour searching for the single tiny covered area so that I could get that recruit.

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                      March 11, 2013 3:33 PM

                      not to mention the frontier. HUGE areas remained covered despite hitting all the view points.

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            March 11, 2013 12:13 PM

            The sailing stuff would have been the best part in any assassin's creed game. They simply did it so ridiculously well that it overshadowed everything else.

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          March 11, 2013 6:45 PM

          I'm right there with you, Loiosh. Playing through AssTrees right now and having a ton of fun. Lots to do. Cool locations. Neat story. I'm looking forward to AssPirates quite a bit.

          That said, I didn't play any of the ACII spinoffs, so I may not have the same fatigue as someone who has.

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        March 11, 2013 6:24 PM

        if you dont want to play them, take a break. i love yearly AC titles.

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      March 11, 2013 10:10 AM

      NEVER!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLMJpHihykI

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      March 11, 2013 10:13 AM

      Gonna be fun watching them try to walk both sides of this with AssPirates.

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      March 11, 2013 10:13 AM

      "You and I know pirates to be cheery drunkards, perhaps made of plasticine"

      it must be a british thing because that movie didnt do well across the pond. one of aardman animation's weaker movies even though I enjoyed it and like pretty much everythign they do

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        March 11, 2013 10:15 AM

        Hint: They're talking about the Disney Pirates ride.

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          March 11, 2013 10:19 AM

          but it's not made of plasticine. Alice is also from the land of kippers

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          March 11, 2013 12:13 PM

          Hint: No she's not

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            March 11, 2013 2:24 PM

            Herman Toothrot is either a great crazy old prospector name or the name of a crazy old hermit ex-pirate living on a desert island. Either way, you should be saying "HOO HOO HEE HEE, STAY AWAY FROM MY GOLD!" more often.

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      March 11, 2013 10:14 AM

      As a historical aside, I love how some of the most famous pirates in history barely killed anyone or raided many ships.

      It almost seems like if you were successfully able to raid / sink at least 2-3 ships you were given a name and the entire English speaking world has heard of it.

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        March 11, 2013 10:46 AM

        Actually killing people, not to mention sinking ships, was probably bad for business for pirates. Most merchants probably gave up as soon as they realized they couldn't escape. In that case, I'm guessing real pirates took what valuable cargo the could and let the ship go. It's an expensive nuisance and not really desirable, but it's not on the same level as killing people and sinking ships. Once you start doing that, the navy is going to start taking a real interest in you.

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      March 11, 2013 10:17 AM

      In official Shacknews canon, this post is considered a remix of a 2012 post: http://www.shacknews.com/article/73588/ravens-cry-trailer-shows-genuine-piracy

      Loremaster approved and everything.

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      March 11, 2013 10:22 AM

      I think it's weird they're talking about AC4 already. Doesn't it feel like they should still be pushing AC3?

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        March 11, 2013 10:34 AM

        yesterday I saw an ad on uplay to pre-order AC4. something about this way of quick turnaround makes me have zero interest in the series. maybe the blatant fact that they can't really be worried about quality?

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          March 11, 2013 10:47 AM

          They're pushing pre-orders at Gamestop through TV ads.

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          March 11, 2013 6:49 PM

          Alternating annual titles between different studios means that quality may not be an issue. We'll see.

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      March 11, 2013 11:03 AM

      sweet can't wait the the rape mini game.

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      March 11, 2013 11:13 AM

      I wonder if this was originally intended to be DLC for AC3, as it seems a lot of people really enjoyed the ship-to-ship combat? I still need to play this more... I think I'm only on hour 2 of the tutorial (lol).

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      March 11, 2013 11:20 AM

      I seriously think they're mixing up the realism that HBO is known for with just grittiness. If this is a realistic take on golden-age piracy than that would be fascinating. If this is just gritty pirates for the sake of gritty pirates than screw that.

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      March 11, 2013 12:18 PM

      I've loved every AC game since AC2. Can't wait for AC4.

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      March 11, 2013 3:30 PM

      Hold B to wash swashbuckling outfit in a tub of urine

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      March 11, 2013 3:49 PM

      Plasticine?

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      March 16, 2013 12:03 PM

      I don't see why...

      Planks are fun. And well... Hooks could make for some BRUTAL kills =]