Assassin’s Creed IV has recently been unveiled and there has already been a lot of hype and speculation about the upcoming title. We already know some details, like that the game will be a prequel, of sorts, to Assassin’s Creed III. There was a bit of a gap between Ezio and Haythem, so the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be Haythem’s father, Edward Kenway. The game will take place in the 18th century in the Caribbean Islands, mainly focusing on the cities of Havana, Nassau and Kingston and of course, this game is pirate-themed.
The protagonist in the last game, Conor — or Ratohnake:ton — was a boy that we got to follow into his adulthood where he sought vengeance upon the Templars of colonial Boston while the Revolutionary War was brewing. Of course, the Templars featured his father, Edward Kenway, who turned out to be one of his main adversaries. Part of the problem, though, was that Conor as a character refused to grow or really endear himself to fans. While there absolutely is somethign to be said for the stoic badass, part of what has made the Assassin’s Creed series so special has been a relatable main character.
Ezio was a bit of a playboy and unlikable at first, but over the span of his games we saw him grow into a respectable assassin with skills and charm to boot. It was hard to move on from a character that we all loved to one that never seemed to gain any momentum throughout the span of a game. Apparently the folks at Ubisoft heard what people were saying and opted to move forward with someone else.
Edward represents hope for the series, as we got to see a flat character changed out for a new one who has a really interesting setting that the team should be able to go wild with. Part of what could have held them back in Assassin’s Creed III was that it was set during a time period that many Americans know extremely well and fictionalizing it without bastardizing it was a hefty task. When it comes to pirate in the Caribbean, there is some history but more tall tales to be told, leaving room for them to really exercise their creative muscles with the story, characters and settings.
That freedom is part of what made those first few games so special. There was a lot of history within those games, a lot of historical events and so on, but there was enough room for them to fictionalize without going too far. The team at Ubisoft once again has that freedom to move around and do what they want with historical fiction without worrying about upsetting too many people by straying too far. Plus, let’s be honest there, pirates have always been incredible characters throughout fiction and history, with lots of room for attitude and interesting character traits.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag could be a huge return to form for the series by bringing in a new, interesting character in a new, interesting locale and fans are definitely interested in it. It could be a series that has gotten stale’s salvation.