Interview: Assassin’s Creed Black Flag Team
This video has been doing the rounds since Ubisoft released it and it’s certainly doing it’s job! While the video goes into detail about new technologies including the mouth watering multi-layered engine dedicated to simulate real seas, it’s main purpose is to whet the appetite… job well done Ubisoft! Our interest is peaked and with that the gang here at the Arcade had to know more!
We were lucky enough to be able to sit down with some of the development team working on Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and find out all we can about the forthcoming swashbuckling adventure…
How tough was the decision to cut the naval-online battles? Could they resurface in future titles?
[Ashraf Ismail,, Game Director]
Incredibly tough. We had a playable prototype with 4 player pvp. It was thrilling and one of the most unique multiplayer activities you’d have ever played. But the job required to finish the feature set, debug it, tune it, polish it and make sure it was a solid online experience was impossible for us to do in time. So after a month of effort we decided to cut it. It was heart-breaking but it was the right decision.
The foundation is there. If people love ACIV Black Flag and love the naval element then maybe there is a chance we could see naval multiplayer in the future… who knows!
Things are in very murky territory plot wise since 3, with Liberation and the setting for Black Flag taking things down a very meta route; is it difficult handing over so much interpretation to the player as opposed to creating a character like Desmond that you, as a writer, are in control of?
[Darby McDevitt, Scriptwriter]
It’s true there is a bit of meta-playfulness with the introduction of Abstergo Entertainment and the idea that Liberation is a product of a fictional studio. We push this concept even further in AC4. But I wouldn’t say that it makes our jobs any more difficult. From a narrative standpoint I had no problems adapting to the lack of an “anchor” character like Desmond. In fact it made it easier to craft a small, self contained story in the present day, since the player is the one experiencing the story directly. This means we have an actual proper story arc in the present day, and not one fifth of a story. Of course we will always leave room at the end to expand upon. But I am confident that people will feel the balance between a satisfying story and an ever expanding universe by the time AC4’s credits are rolling.
The Kenways are clearly an important family in AC lore, we know for instance that something important involving Edwards daughter happened during the events of AC3 (or at the very least, Haythams sister) but we don’t know what, how in depth will Black Flag go into their family tree/history?
[Darby McDevitt, Scriptwriter]
AC4 was designed to link up with most of the details of the Novel AC: Forsaken quite nicely, but we won’t take players right up to the beginning of that book. AC4 begins around 1715 and ends approximately a decade later … if you know the backstories and you do the math, you’ll have a good idea of what you MIGHT see.
This is the first new numerical entry in the series to also have a subtitle, is there any significance to that?
[Carsten Myhill, Lead Content Manager]
Not necessarily. The number comes from the sheer number of innovations we have in this title… it’s not a re-skin of AC3, but an entirely new game structure with new gameplay elements like boarding & naval open-world.. it deserved its own number!
And the subtitle really comes from a desire to make sure everyone knows this is a pirate game as much as an Assassin’s Creed game!
Is there any siginificance to the fact that Edward Kenway (from the promotional art that’s been revealed at least) is the first protagonist not to wear the Assassins Emblem on his person in some way?
[Raphael Lacoste, Art Director]
First, Edward is a former privateer joining piracy with a lot of his friends in 1715, he is a reckless and selfish guy motivated by wealth as many pirates of the early 18th century. Along the story , through the game, he will learn how to become an assassin, and how to embrace a greater cause ; but his first appearance is more the following the “Pirate iconography”.
Still, he wears the traditional assassin’s Dress and hood, which we turned more into the look of a Cloak in this version. But if you pay attention to the design, you will find out , we leave the surprise to players 😉