I recently got a look at the trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, due out this October apparently – just a year after AC3 which, as others have said, was pretty disappointing on a number of levels. Well, AC4 is going to feature pirates, apparently, in your typical East Indies setting and with AC3 hero Connor’s grandfather as the playable assassin. As long as he’s more like Haytham than Connor, I will try not to hold that against him.
What I’d like to see in AC4:
Pirates – yeah, that could work! They’re all about freedom, living out at sea on neutral ground (water) where the world’s major authorities have no power over them, and that meshes pretty well with Assassin ideals. Of course, pirates are not known for sparing innocents or having other people’s interests at heart, but that just gives Edward Kenway the potential to be a mysterious pirate with a code of honour he holds to passionately. respected and feared on land and sea though nobody knows his reasons.
I like that Edward’s costume seems to be back to basics – very Altair. I’d love to see the mechanics do the same. While naval combat was a totally unnecessary gimmick in AC3, it would at least make sense in a pirate game. Make it less about the gadgets, more about you being one super-person who can cut through crowds and obstacles to get to your target, and get out again. If Kenway must have a ship and a crew (rather than hopping between ships from port, which he could do, but it sounds like he’ll be a captain), let the crew fight off the hordes of mooks when we board someone. Our assassin should be in, push through, kill the one guy we came for, and order the retreat. Oh, and for all the gods’ sakes, keep the ship upgrades to a minimum! No more of this estate bollocks.
If there’s one thing I want to see in future Assassin’s Creed games, it’s this: the Assassin’s Creed. Recent characters seem to have merrily ignored it, making Connor and older Ezio basically indistinguishable from Templars in the way they operate. The game goes to pains to show that our enemies are nasty folk, while our allies are obviously good guys, but that’s what the Templars think too. The creed gave the assassins their license to kill – kill, but only within these strict rules, only the minimum necessary surgical strikes to prevent greater evils. When we just pick a side and slaughter everyone in the wrong coloured coat, I don’t feel and more justified than Warren Vidic.
What I expect to see in AC4:
Sail a ship in complex weather with random encounters where you’ll slaughter entire crews! Upgrade and improve your ship with secret assassin modifications until it’s a century before its time! GADGETS! – your hidden blade can now do six new things in the same handy package, plus we’ve assembled new variations on the theme of ‘stab him’ from around the world! ENEMIES! – the entire East India Trading Company are Templars! All of them! Kill everyone associated with them, and screw history (moral ambiguity is for chumps and our original writers)! FAMOUS PEOPLE! Everyone we could possibly justify being in this region will cross your path at some point! Oh, and FORESHADOWING! You know how you loved Connor? No? Well, we’re going to drop a whole heap of hints and extra stuff about his future anyway!
…at least we might get Haytham Kenway’s side-switching fleshed out a bit. Maybe.