Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Q&A – A Treasure Chest of Info | Gamerillaz

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Q&A – A Treasure Chest of Info

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Q&A – A Treasure Chest of Info
 

O-Arr me hearty’s. We were lucky enough to make a few Ubisoft Devs walk the plank and give up the goods on the coming AC4 Black Flag game. Some great info below and it is well worth digging into for those whom are AC fans. What of ‘Desmond’? Sea v’s Land gameplay? Missions, Fighting, Climbing and Swimming – all is revealed below. Enjoy, ya bunch of scurvy ridden, parrot bangers! AC4BF hits all gen and all platforms this October (29th).

What are the creative challenges of designing and implementing a completely open, unified and totally seamless world? How much of the Caribbean can we explore?
I think the only way to make this work, and our true challenge, is merging land and sea. By achieving this, we create a place with tons of opportunities. It is one game that fuses classic AC gameplay (combat, free-running) with a completely new and fresh pirate fantasy. Basically, we are creating our open-world to constantly bring fresh, always interesting and fun content to you. You never know what might happen at sea, no matter where you’re headed and if you’ve been there before. We want to keep surprising players.

Let’s take an example of an open-world event. You might be enjoying traditional AC city gameplay, free running across the rooftops of Havana, and suddenly you fall upon a citizen being harassed by Spanish troops. You can save him using all of your Assassin skills, either using stealth or by charging in, two cutlasses in hand. After saving him, he asks you to help save his family from slavers, who are hiding on a plantation near Kingston. You run to the Jackdaw and set sail towards the plantation. On the way there, you might see a couple of merchant ships you want to loot, as they contain goods too valuable to pass up. Or you might see the rare White Whale on the horizon. You might spot a new island that you’ve never seen before, with its own secrets and content…

What kind of ships you will meet on the ocean?
The player will encounter and fight a wide variety of ship models: from the merchant ship to the feared Man of war, there will be plenty of captains awaiting you and your crew. You will have to find the most appropriate tactic to prevail against enemy ships, taking into account their speed, their behavior and the current weather. Everything happens systemically in the ocean which makes every encounter a challenge for the player. Not to mention the pirate hunters when your wanted level becomes critical.

How much can you realistically change things like the combat without getting too far away from the core AC experience players know and expect?
Because Assassins Creed’s melee combat has always tried to remain somewhat grounded and realistic, we have always dealt with the issue of “scaling” the hero’s enemies; it’s just not possible to increase a human’s destructive power exponentially. The Agile Guards and the Brute guards remain human sized, no matter what you do. But with naval ships, the difference between a 6 gun schooner and a 100 gun Man-O-War is massive, and will provide players with incredible challenges. For the first time in an AC game, there will be enemies you simply cannot defeat at the beginning of the game. Ground combat will be more difficult and challenging for players. We want to support stealth gameplay as much as possible.  For example, the gunners (like snipers) will be very hard to take down and very aggressive if they detect you.

How have you managed to narratively balance the life of an assassin with that of a pirate?
At first glance they don’t seem to be easily linked. That’s exactly what interests us the most narratively about Edward. He is, at heart, a pirate. And he’s not a “good” pirate like you see in children’s tales; he is a criminal with a taste for glory. Couple that with the fact that he is trained by the Assassins, and you can see that there is a lot to explore here. How does a criminal, who is looking out for himself, fit with the Creed? The clash between these two ideologies within Edward is one of the most exciting things about him, and it is at the heart of our story.

Can you go into a little more detail on what players should expect from raiding forts? It sounds like being able to raid castles from both land and sea will be an amazing gameplay experience.
The forts serve a new gameplay purpose this time around, as they are naval forts. They act not only as strongholds for your enemies, but also as watchtowers for narrow sea passages. If you want to get to a specific new island off the coast of Cuba, for example, you might have no choice but to defeat a fort that is guarding the passage. This adds a further element of strategy and progression to the game.
Additionally, once the forts have been taken over, they act as protectors and will attack enemy ship if you are nearby.

It was mentioned during the presentation that the ‘open ended assassination set-ups’ will be returning from Assassins Creed 1. How will these play into Black Flag?
These assassination missions will take place in a wide variety of environments, but each of these set-ups will be largely self-contained (similar to the Far Cry 3 outposts). Our assassination missions are at the heart of AC since AC1, and we feel that AC1 had the best set-ups—these set-ups supported all kinds of different play styles. We are simply leveraging our franchise history to make the best assassination scenarios possible for the player. They will tackle challenges the way they want. Stealth will always be a viable option for players, regardless the location or the type of mission.

After the shocking conclusion to Desmond’s story in AC III – what can we expect from the Science-Fiction/present day elements? It was said in the presentation that we play as ourselves… should we expect first-person gameplay, or perhaps even character customization?
As we have said in the past, the Desmond story is over, but the plotline of the present day keeps going.  Now, the player is the hero, and he or she is a new employee at Abstergo Entertainment. His/her first mandate is researching a famous pirate named Edward Kenway.
We took the opportunity presented to us by Desmond’s absence to bring the player one step closer to the Assassin. Instead of playing an avatar (Desmond) who, in turn, became the Assassin in the past, now you are actually logging into your own Animus station at Abstergo Entertainment and researching Edward Kenway. This brings the player closer to the fantasy!

What can players expect from the Companion app?
The companion app is your second screen (we support Android and iOs). Players will be able to use it to improve their exploration of the West Indies. Among other uses, it allows players to localize their ship in real time, share discoveries with their friends (E.g.: the coordinates of rare animal) and manage Kenway’s fleet.

Describe some of the visual features, special effects, higher fidelity that are possible on PS4/Xbox compared to existing platforms — what will players notice first, visually?
Visually, the player will absolutely see the difference: from environments to characters, everything will be much more realistic. And that’s the direction we have pushed for ACIVBF: visual enhancements are selected and pushed only if they improve the immersion in the game.
A couple of examples are the plant physics (whenever you must hide from your enemies), the water droplets (on the trees in the jungles) or the volumetric fog (brings more intensity in the naval fights).

Have you had to upgrade the Anvil Engine much for Black Flag?
Absolutely.  Anvil Next is an extremely powerful and versatile engine. The new setting and the structure of our open world come with their own set of requirements. For example, in AC3 the naval and land gameplays were completely separated—almost like two different games put together. For ACIV, we had to modify the engine to join these two gameplays together—to enable the AC land gameplay to live at the same time as the naval gameplay. The player can sail anywhere, and leave the wheel to jump in the water to go explore an island or to board a ship by using free-running.On top of this, we are also modifying the engine to get the most out of the increased power we have got from the next gen platforms.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (ACIVBF) is a project developed by world-wide studios. How do you manage to ensure a global consistency of the game with so many studios working on it?
Ubisoft Montreal is the lead studio for ACIVBF since summer 2011. But it’s a real co-production with other studios (Ubisoft Singapore, Ubisoft Sofia, Ubisoft Quebec for the Single Player, Ubisoft Annecy and Bucharest for the Multiplayer part as well as Ubisoft Kiev).
We are extremely efficient with this kind of process now. Multiple studios have been involved in parallel on AC games starting since AC2.
This time, we’ve put in place a dedicated team to ensure the best possible communication with tools and processes to make sure that every team knows what they have to deliver to make the best possible game.

Ultimately, what is your objective with ACIVBF?  And what’s the “take away” you want players to have when they finish the game?
Ultimately our objective with ACIVBF is to provide a very good, polished and fun game that players will enjoy as much as we enjoy creating it. We would be thrilled to receive testimonies telling us that the way we’re depicting this period in history helped some of our audience to realize what the Golden Age of Piracy was really like.

Stealth was once a key element in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but that has become less and less prevalent in recent games. How much stealth is there in ACIVBF?
We are putting a lot of effort to improve that pillar of the franchise. Being a pirate was also about taking places by surprise, and this would require stealth abilities. So yes, stealth will be back in ACIVBF. Infiltrations, tails and exploration of islands are all part of it.
The team aims to come back to the assassination missions the fans liked so much in AC1 and AC2.
We feel that with our tools and the design philosophy behind the missions, we will be able to make the players create their own memorable moments.

What is ACI (Initiates)? What is its purpose?
ACI is the definitive destination for Assassin’s Creed fans, it is a multiplatform service which enriches the Assassin’s Creed experience and unifies its fans and content.

What is the story of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag? Where does it take place?
ACIVBF tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man that left the navy to embrace piracy during the final decade of the Golden Age of Piracy in the West Indies (now known as the Caribbean). Edward will be thrown in the middle of the ancient war between Templars and Assassins. He will be trained by them and finally become the first Kenway member of the Assassin Order. He’s the father of Haytham, Connor is therefore Edward’s grandson.

What is the percentage split between land and sea missions?
Mission wise, land missions will represent approximately 60% of the game and naval ones 40%. But if you take the global experience that players will leave with ACIVBF we’re more talking about 50-50.
The Seamless, systemic open-world system (Horizon System) packed full of sea and underwater activities will represent a big part of the game.

Will the Jackdaw be the only vessel players get to command, or can larger enemy ships be commandeered after boarding?
The Jackdaw is Edward’s ship, and will be the only one he can upgrade and customize. It’s like the second character in the game and you have to take care of it whenever it takes damage. During special missions from the main narrative path, Edward will command other types of ships but the vast majority of the time, players will sail on the Jackdaw.

What are the different weapons Edward will be using on his missions?
Edward’s main arsenals are the dual swords and multi-pistols. The multi-pistols are a tool that can be combined with any other weapon to have insane kill counts. Besides this Edward also gets a blowpipe with multiple effect darts, the double hidden blades (AC classic) and is able to use all the weapons enemies carry (Rifles, single sword, knives and Heavy Axe). The Rope Dart will also make a return. But another element of Edward is The Jackdaw, his Ship. This will also receive new weapons as the game progresses. These include the Round shot (base weapons), Heat shot (shotgun like weapon), Mines, Mortar, Swivel guns, Chain shot and Ram!

There were a lot of unexplained features in AC3. What are you doing to improve the tutorial in Black Flag?
The team has worked very hard at revisiting the visual feedbacks sent to players (via the UI) as well as the tutorials to train players into using new features. So far, the many playtests have proven to be very successful on that specific matter. We want players to feel in control and to weight their options in any circumstances.

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