One of the less popular aspects of Assassin’s Creed has been the modern sections following the tale of Desmond and the remaining assassins. While a useful storytelling device for following the histories of his ancestors and exploring eras past, it remains a point which some reviewers have regarded as ultimately being the lesser part of a greater game. Despite this opinion, it seems that Ubisoft is sticking to its guns and will keep such sections of the series.
In an interview by Clickonline.com, the series’ lead writer Darby McDevitt stated the following when questioned about dropping this element of the series: "I think it’s a part of the DNA of the series. I think it unifies all the games and helps make them part of one big universe. We still could have assassins and Templar’s in the past but I think this present day part is nice because it allows us to connect what’s happening in history with things that happen in modern times."
Yes, that opening line was most likely an intentional pun.
A major change this time is to have the modern stories feel more engaging with players having to perform electronic hacking and investigation of events. Something which is definitely more engaging and memorable than wondering slowly around a room and occasionally yammering to the same trio of NPCs. As well as having a more distinct element offered only by the modern day setting, McDevitt stated more efforts had been made to create parallels between the roles. Both characters involved are pirates, with the hacker stealing and selling information to the assassins.
While some will no doubt meet this news with groans of frustration, it shows that Ubisoft is at least aware of the problems and frustrations with its audience. While not willing to simply abandon previously used elements, they are doing more to make them feel exciting and involved rather than busywork. That said, the promotional material for the game is still extremely focused upon murdering people on the high seas and nothing has yet been truly revealed about the modern day sections. Possibly due to the potential of driving away customers?
The good news is that the investigative sections will not be essential to playing the title. As such those more interested in piracy will be able to just keep going, but performing them will offer “two hours of additional audio and video and documents” which will otherwise go unseen.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Curse of the Black Flag is to hit shelves in Europe October 29th.
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