Attendees of PAX East 2013 havd the opportunity to check out the newest trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The eight and a half minute long video showed off tons of locations, ship to ship battle sequences and most importantly – whale hunting.
As Edward Kenway, a pirate trained by assassins, you are in control of both your ship, the Jackdaw, and your crew. The Jackdaw is your “Starship Enterprise” where you can command your crew to do your bidding. If you see a beautiful island through your spyglass then you can search it for hidden Mayan treasure. Or you can show off your pirate skills and attack enemy ships. The team behind Black Flag wants to have players explore all of the islands that populate the world through either main story missions or optional side-quests.
The navel combat is reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed 3’s but the developers promise that the final product will be more fleshed out and polished. You have the option of strafing you targets and firing upon them with your cannons or you can give the signal to your crew to board. Boarding has your AI crew secure grappling lines to the opposing boat and pull it towards the Jackdaw so you can jump across. Edward was shown swinging from the tops of the ship’s rigging and even diving under the water to get to the defending ship. Since he is an assassin he likes to keep his options open.
If hunting rival vessels in the sea isn’t doing the trick Ubisoft confirmed that there is a hunting mechanic that allows you hunt and kill the animals found throughout the Caribbean. We were shown Edward leading the Jackdaw after a very large and angry whale but the scene cut away before anything too concrete was shown. The benefits to hunting, other than ridding the ocean of whales, are tangible rewards that you can use to better your ship or your equipment. It sounded a lot like the hunting system in Far Cry 3, which is awesome news.
Edward is also an incredible swimmer so he is not limited to searching for hidden treasure on land. In one series of shots he was shown jumping from a high ledge, eagle scream included, and diving deep under the water. He then swam through some sunken wreckage to a glowing treasure chest. While this is all going on there were about half a dozen sharks swimming all around him. One scene showed Edward getting eaten by a shark and in another he stabbed one and rode it like in a rodeo. I am so in.