Ubisoft has just revealed a new trailer for the upcoming Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, finally offering players a solid look at the gameplay found in the franchise's latest sequel.
That lede is a pretty solid encapsulation of what you'll find in the vignette embedded at right, but it should be noted that this thing brings with it both good and bad news for anyone who didn't immediately wet themselves with excitement on reading the above headline.
The good news? Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag seems to heavily feature naval combat. This is to be expected given the game's focus on the age of piracy - the "eyepatch-and-parrot" kind, not the "download-a-new-Metallica-album" kind - but should still be very intriguing to anyone who played Assassin's Creed III. Though that title was set in and around the American Revolution, it also featured sections in which the protagonist would take to the sea aboard period-accurate sailing ships. These moments were arguably the most well-designed, intense gameplay sections in the entire game, and it seems Ubisoft heard the pleas of fans who demanded more of this sort of thing.
The bad news though, is that Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag seems to heavily feature naval combat. Wait, didn't I just point to that as a positive? Yes, and I'm quite excited by this news, however, it's nothing new. It appears to be lifted wholesale from the naval combat found in Assassin's Creed III, and if that's any indication of the level of novelty we can expect from Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, we're concerned that the entire game might suffer from Ubisoft's efforts to turn Assassin's Creed into an annual franchise.
Now obviously, a trailer like this doesn't offer enough information on which to judge the final game, but with Assassin's Creed Black Flag following so closely behind its predecessor, there's ample reason to suspect that the game will be largely rehashed from prior titles in the franchise. Or, if Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag escapes this ignominious fate, that 2014's Assassin's Creed V may suffer from being more of the same. Fingers crossed that Ubisoft has a bunch of neat new stuff to show players, but with this short a development window, there's only so many new ideas the publisher and its development arms could feasibly cram into this game while offering each a substantial, necessary level of polish. Even the most stalwart Assassin's Creed III supporters wouldn't argue that the game was lacking in weird technical issues, and it's totally valid to fear that the rapid rate at which Ubisoft wants to churn out these sequels might exacerbate this problem.
Only time will tell though. Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag makes its retail debut in October, so Ubisoft has about seven months to ensure that the title isn't a buggy mess. Fingers crossed, hm?