Let’s be completely honest here. Some of you adored the economic system nestled within Assassin’s Creed III. Some of you did not. And, alas, a great many of you barely touched it. That’s because, aside from a few fleeting moments, AC3’s robust system of agriculture, manufacturing and trading wasn’t all that necessary to the game. The good news? That all changes in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.

The Jackdaw- Edward Kenway's Starship Enterprise

It’s not just a vehicle you’re using – it’s your babyWhy so? Because of Edward Kenway’s ship, the Jackdaw. The newest Assassin to join the Creed starts off as a pirate, and continues to embrace his nautical side throughout the game, to such an extent that many members of the dev team at Ubisoft Montreal have referred to the ship as the “second main character” in the game.

“Because of the naval element of the game, as you travel from location to location, you have to use the Jackdaw,” says Game Director Ashraf Ismail. “So it was really important for us that you feel like you’re in the U.S.S. Enterprise. It’s not just a vehicle you’re using – it’s your baby.” Indeed, with the Jackdaw being so essential to the gameplay, the team put a ton of effort into how you can customize the ship, including navigational upgrades, new weapons and the crew themselves. “These are all elements that made sense to us in a pirate setting,” Ismail says, “but also for players to feel a deeper connection to the character that they are playing.”

The Jackdaw- Edward Kenway's Starship Enterprise

Nautical Economics

 
Which, of course, brings us back to Black Flag’s revamped economic system. “We wanted the progression of the Jackdaw, the upgrading of it, to have a lot of value for the players and to be the core element that drives you to explore new lands,” says Ismail. This means both a deeper and a simpler system. “We make it really clear to the players what you need to upgrade and, effectively, where you can get it,” Ismail says. “We made it very transparent with fairly easy rules.” That puts the fun squarely on the activities required to achieve your goals, rather than puzzling out the arcane aspects of an inscrutable economic system. That said, Ismail promises there’ll be plenty to please those fans who crave a deeper economy system, referring to Sid Meier’s Pirates as an example of the kind of depth on hand. “But again, we made things very transparent and easy to understand about the economy because it is the core driver for the upgrades.”

With a massive open world, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag has some big sails to fill when it comes to the game’s economy, but Ismail is confident the game will deliver. “As you’re heading to the next mission marker, we are going to put stuff around the world that’s going to make you constantly wonder what’s around the corner,” Ismail says. (“There are no corners in the ocean,” Ismail then corrects himself with a laugh.)

That means every new event on the horizon, or every new icon popping onto the mini-map, or every new ship off in the distance should serve as a “distraction” in the best sense of the word – tugging at players to navigate away from the story’s critical path and get lost in the larger world. “We really do want players to get lost, to become immersed, to be able to collect resources to upgrade the Jackdaw, to access deeper islands and fight tougher ships,” Ismail says.

The Jackdaw- Edward Kenway's Starship Enterprise

We’ll have more details on the economy soon enough, but rest assured: it will better, clearer, and more essential. Because if the Jackdaw will be Edward Kenway’s Enterprise, the captain will need everything he can muster in order to fully explore the newest frontier on offer in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag

Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag

Release date — October 29, 2013
Developer — Ubisoft Montreal
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man with a thirst for danger and adventure, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major Empires comes to an end. Edward is a fierce pirate and seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars. Set at the dawn of the 18th Century, the game features some of the most infamous pirates in history, such as Blackbeard and Charles Vane, and takes players on a journey throughout the West Indies during a turbulent and violent period of time later to become known as the Golden Age of Pirates.

ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood, Sexual Themes, Violence, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
the author

Gary Steinman has won numerous editorial awards, but you probably don’t care about that. He also ran multiple industry leading publications and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine, GamesRadar.com, PC Gamer and Newtype USA – but that’s all in the past. The real truth about Gary? He loves cats, he takes too many selfies on Facebook (according to one co-worker, at least), and he occasionally crochets. And now he’s helping share stories about Ubisoft’s amazing games and their incredible creators in his role overseeing the UbiBlog and other select Ubisoft social channels. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySteinman

23 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Alfred on June 6, 2013
    Sounds like the only thing that changed from the AC3 eco system is that BF's will be more simple/accessible. It's really disappointing that a large focus of their time and resources are on all these "side" content that that game can largely do without. I just hope it doesn't detract from what the game is - an Assassin game - but that's a fool's hope.
    • jacob on July 5, 2013
      i love Assassins Creed,and i really love the fact that its expanding the game,with exploration and gameplay ,every game will be different because of the era and assassin themselves, but i really love how you can travel and explore the world and not just focus on the 'main mission' but really get lost and distracted , and using new weapons with the new era ,i can't wait for Black flag to be released, it looks like the best assassins creed yet!
    • Raechel on September 7, 2013
      It's the exact opposite for me. I prefer when a game has lots of side content and objectives to explore. Not only does it let me slow down my pace as I go through the game, but it keeps me interested to know that if I don't want to go to the next mission right that second, I can still find lots to do that will amuse me. This game really hit the bulls eye for me in what I look for in a game. I'm so excited for the release!
    • BAMM on September 26, 2013
      Your idea of a good game is kind of a dying genre. AC:IV is being built as a sandbox and that means it has dual objectives. 1. to tell a story and immerse the player into the story, and 2. to create an entire new world and encourage the player to step into that world for a while. I personally greatly appreciate this type of endeavor because not only do you know the developers are dedicated but it becomes a truly memorable and interactive experience rather than just playing a role.
  2. Manuel on June 7, 2013
    *sigh* I remember when AC was a game based on urban parkour through beautiful cities like Jerusalem, Firenze, Venice, Constantinople, etc... Now UBI is replacing all of that with ships. Come on! ¿Why don't you create a new IP based on pirates and ships? you are losing the AC esence. However, I'll give a chance to AC4, because AC is my favorite franchise. But I feel this is not the same as before... Don't dissappoint us, please.PS: The next game could be in the French Revolution. Would be nice get back to the big cities like Paris :)
    • Tom on June 17, 2013
      I totally agree that it should be in the French Revolution. I just read A Tale of Two Cities in school a few weeks ago, and it was great. The French Revolution was a bloody and insane era, and I think it would be very difficult to distinguish between Assassins and Templars. There were no good guys during that time period; only radicals and murderers. I think that it would be a rare time where a few Assassins take it too far, and then it all collapses. Robespierre could be one of the Assassins, and he becomes power hungry from contact with a Piece of Eden. You could play as an Assassin who allies with some Templars to end the Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte could be an ally with the main character, or an enemy, until he inherits Robespierre's Piece of Eden and goes insane as well.
    • Emanuel on August 13, 2013
      You're just stupid and can't realize that the naval is an added feature it still has cities so if you just want to free run then just stay in the cities
  3. Eric on June 8, 2013
    I love the idea and for me it is not that big of a problem that there is AC in the name. Name it as you want, but AC is a big established brand with its value so it has prob. it business value. Anyway I am looking so forward to explore the open world of the see and I personally think that the change of the setting away from the cities out into the open lawless environment brings a fresh feeling to AC. After all the AC parts taking place in cities, it has become a bit repetitive even if a good story can box it out again. Keep on doing what you are doing and suprise us. The ship looks great btw.
  4. Kevin Diaz on June 8, 2013
    This is interesting to know. Can't wait to be a pirate as well. I wonder if this is the end of Kenway series though. In the short film 'Embers' there was a Chinese assassin. Just like you did with Aveline, why not make another assassin but on console and PC. All console/PC version is related to Desmond.
    • Andre on July 26, 2013
      Ubisoft has stated they are doing a Kenway trilogy, so Edward isn't the last Kenway. They may either depict Haytham's missing years (detailed in Forsaken) or they may follow Haytham's sister's child (if she had one) or Connor's child (if he had one).
  5. Klabautermann on June 8, 2013
    Well, it seems that AC want to meets Anno, oh wait, that was only a thought. No idea what they really want, except of the money, customers are cashcows, if no money comes out, call the butcher ^^
  6. Alex on June 21, 2013
    I for one think it's great that AC takes the franchise into an open world and open spaces rather than just repeating the city settings. That, and the scene really, really needs a good contemporary pirate-setting game.
  7. Assassine2404 on July 13, 2013
    Can you go inside the Jackdaw?
    • brandon on July 25, 2013
      yes you are given access to underpart i forgot what its called but anyway i herd that there you able to customize edward and the ship
  8. taha on July 25, 2013
    hi, a want to thank every body how are working on ac : black falg ac series are getting better and better and we all know that black flag is going to be great just want to thank u guys for your efferts for making such a wonderful game love u taha
  9. brandon on July 25, 2013
    Um I had a question when your out at sea can you let one of your crew mates take the wheel while you explore the deck or the crows nest etc. and another thing when you finish the game will you be able to go back into the game and finish things you still haven't finished for example you never finished a side mission or a assassin contract etc .
    • Andre on July 26, 2013
      I would imagine you can. All of the previous AC games have allowed you to, and with the effort they're putting in this vast open world it would be stupid not to allow players to return and explore after they finish.
  10. Short Ethan on August 1, 2013
    To be honest, i found the naval missions in AC3 kind of irritating. They just got in the way of my wanting to be an assassin. When I was forced to sail the Aquila, i just wanted to get it over with so i could get back to stabbing red-coats in the neck. And after hearing Ashraf say that the jackdaw was "your baby" and the second main character of the game, my heart sunk a little. I'm really impressed with AC4 in every way, Naval combat included, but i was kind of hoping that I would have a choice to use the jackdaw. But after seeing the newest game play video, I'm more open to the idea, but i still miss the good old days when you were an assassin running on rooftops, part of this large, organized, secret brotherhood. But at least it's something different and the game seems to be fresh!
  11. Prada on August 10, 2013
    Assassin's Creed has been my favorite game franchise to date and I was gutted after playing AC3. After playing as Ezio and Altair, Connor was hugely disappointing as an Assassin(for me at least). His lack of charisma, monotonous voice and just an overall lack in depth of character rellay stopped me from enjoying the game. AC3 promised a lot and failed to live up to the hype. seriously hoping AC4 redeems the series. Looks brilliant on the face of it and the demos were awesome. Hope it isnt a repeat of what happened with AC3.P.S : the next AC should be featured in Asia. An Indian or a Japanese Assassin would provide a new perspective on the series and escape that European familiarity.
  12. Mason on August 22, 2013
    I have to admit, after being disappointed with ACIII, I cannot wait to take the wheel of the Jackdaw in Black Flag. I think this game will be a huge point of retribution for the series, and the setting is ripe for exploration (in both a physical sense and in terms of story telling). But I have one pedantic point to make: the Jackdaw is a twin-masted brig, perhaps a Snow-brig, but it's supposed to be 60 meters long with room for 56 guns?? Even 4th rate ships of the line (three masts, 44-60 guns) weren't that big!! Come on EA, would it have been that hard to add a mizzen mast and make it a 50 gun frigate?
  13. Zeegull on December 26, 2013
    Ship Customization? There is no ship customization. All the upgrades are forced and linear. Linear in that there aren't any choices in the upgrades. You need more and stronger cannons you get money and materials and buy the next level of upgrade. That's the extent of it. You can't change anything about the actual cannons like what color or type they are or how they look. Same with the hull. The Jackdaw looks the part at the beginning, it's a complete basket case. As you upgrade the hull it seems to start to look better. However even at the highest level of hull strength upgraded the ship still looks like crap. There are boarded up cannon ports and even boarded up captions quarters windows! What is that all about? You are forced to add a ram to your ship which dramatically changes the bow of the ship. I can't stand the look of it and the ram was never properly made part of the ship model in terms of game world physics. For instance the bow of the ship reacts with the water physically, cutting through the waves, the water is animated reacting and splashing. Upgrading the bow with a ram adds a giant ram spike to the bow which at first looks cool and menacing but once you get underway you see that the ram does not react at all with the water and just pops and fazes in and out of the water with no disturbance or splash. The original hull still does but with the ram sticking out it just looks glitchy. It annoys me to no end and once you get the ram you can't take it off. You're stuck on the jackdaw the whole game and the only "customization" options are sails, ships wheel, and figurehead. None of those have any bearing on how well the ship performs. I can under stand that about the figurehead but sails and ships wheel should have some bearing on how the ship handles. You are able to pilot one other ship ( a frigate) for a very short duration during a mission but that's it. For the rest of the game you're expected to suspend disbelief as your BRIG takes on multiple frigates, man o wars, and even a galleon. I totally assumed that after upgrading the Jackdaw you would be able to take at least a couple of different class ships to captain. As you progress, you face larger, tougher ships, why couldn't we at least be able to take our own Frigate like Black Beard did? The naval aspect of the game is great but there are some glaring limitations that prove very disappointing.
  14. Robert Rice on January 1, 2014
    Ubisoft needs to get with Revell or some other model company and produce the Jackdaw ship. I so want this ship in model format. So many ship models out there and nothing even close to this without spending thousands to customize.
  15. ebay dr dre beats pro on July 7, 2014
    babyliss Report Methods Receive The Posts In a flash ebay dr dre beats pro http://www.hekmarket.com/beats-by-dr-dre-turbine-c-15.html

Have something to say?