*Authors Note* Assassins’ Creed IV: Black Flag is (kinda) a direct sequel to last years Assassin’s Creed III, but features a new setting, new protagonist and new gameplay.
Assassin’s Creed fans are living the high life of late with a new entry to the franchise coming each year since 2009’s Assassin’s Creed II, hopefully they get something of a reprieve after this entry but currently here we are with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – gearing up for release on October 31st on both current-gen and next-gen consoles. We’ve seen the franchise try a lot of things, but with this new pirate setting, new protagonist (Connor’s grandfather Edward), and larger emphasis on naval combat we can expect a number of changes in this latest iteration. What do we want to see though? Read on and see
1/ Make the Game Less Linear
To the average fan this might sound crazy, it’s open world right? Yep, it sure is, but in recent entries control over our actions has been ripped from our hands, we’ve been forced down the path that the developers have pre-defined, and if you stray even remotely from this path you are likely to fail your mission. Gamers like choice, they like the freedom to do things their own way, we all do, so give us that control back, Ubisoft, you can still deliver a strong, engaging narrative, but it doesn’t need to come at the expense of our freedom to play our own way.
2/ Allow us to Assassinate our own way
Since the release of Assassin’s Creed II, control over how we engage in an assassination has been slowly but surely removed from our grasps. Remember back in the days of Assassin’s Creed where you had total control over how you wanted to assassinate your target? You could prowl over the rooftops and drop down on him/her, you could poison a nearby guard, and he would do the work for you, or you could opt to run in all guns blazing and get the massacre done. What frustrated many fans in Assassin’s Creed III was the fact that we had no control, we had to kill the way we instructed to, and sometimes we didn’t even get to do it ourselves! Return the power to the players and allow us to kill our own way.
3/ Be a Real Pirate
I know the Assassin’s were a force of good in the world against the Templars, but let’s be honest, Edward is also a Pirate, and what did Pirates do? They looted and pillaged. We know that there is going to be a heavy emphasis on naval combat in this entry, but as well as being able to total ships, why can’t we commandeer them? Beat down a vessel and then board it, and take it over, maybe you prefer this ship to your previous one and wish to make it your primary vessel, the choice is yours.
4/ Build a fleet
Following on from our previous point, if you can commandeer ships, why not build a fleet from them? With every extra vessel you “acquire” your fleet expands, allowing you to send those ships out on a variety of missions, similar to the Brotherhood missions of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Perhaps you can also choose to join that ship on the mission, creating standalone sub-missions that give Ubisoft a chance to try a few new ideas with the gameplay.
5/ Refine the Multiplayer
Sure, it isn’t what draws most gamers into buying the game, but tweaks and refinements need to be made to the multiplayer to prevent it from becoming stale. There are never and over-abundance of players playing the multiplayer, and this is largely due to the limited variety of modes made available. Wanted is great, but there is not much else that really inspires. Take some time to rethink some multiplayer ideas and deliver and experience with greater variety. Perhaps make naval combat a component, perhaps even integrate it into Wanted allowing players to dive underwater, swim below a ship to their target, crawl up the side and pick them off. There are a large number of new possibilities thanks to what the naval emphasis in Black Flag creates, so let’s see those additions reflected through the multiplayer. Also, fine tune the match-making please, it can take too long!
So there you go, only a few points, but things that should hopefully liven up a formula that some are beginning to find tiring, Assassin’s Creed is a sensational franchise, but to ensure the franchise remains among the leaders of modern day gaming, Ubisoft will need to continually work to diversify and differentiate the experience to make it constantly engaging and never too repetitive.
What do you think, and what do you want to see from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? Sound off in the comments below