Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Exploring Havana and the Companion App

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag’s world is seamlessly open and massive in scope. There are three major cities to explore, miles of ocean and hundreds of secrets to uncover both on land and off. Each of the cities has a distinctive look and sound (yes, sound – the folk tunes and languages change depending on where you are), and they all boast their own markedly different personalities. Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, is the oldest key location in the game with a largely British population. The pirate stronghold and capital of the Bahamas, Nassau, is the second major city. Totally disparate from the other large locales, Nassau is a lively shanty town where disorder reigns and the citizens are drunk probably 90 percent of the time. Finally, we have Havana, which Ubisoft showed off behind closed doors at its booth during E3 this year.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Exploring Havana and the Companion App


Havana is a Spanish colony and the capital city of Cuba. During the Golden Age of Pirates the war between Britain and Spain was fierce, but many peaceful Spanish settlers called Havana home. When you explore the streets (and rooftops) you’ll hear only Spanish chatter from its citizens. The entire town is brightly colored and gave us a strong feeling of déjà vu: Walking through Havana brought back warm feelings of countless hours playing as Ezio in Venice, Italy.

We admire Havana a bit before approaching a familiar pigeon cage. Edward has an assassination contract to fulfill. In typical Assassin style we take to the rooftops to make our way toward our objective.

It’s at this point in our demo that we’re reminded we can no longer call on other Assassins for help; no more eager recruits leaping out of the bushes to do our bidding. Edward’s recruits are his crew and it doesn’t make sense for them to follow him everywhere. They stay with the ship and Edward is on his own for the assassination.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Exploring Havana and the Companion App

We track the target of the assassination to a small courtyard and use Eagle Vision to pick him out of the crowd. He’s got a few guards around him, so we decide to take the easier path: rather than hopping down onto the ground to take them on, Edward will just blow them all up. He waits for the group to approach an explosive barrel and fires at it with his pistol. The bodies go flying and the contract is complete.

During the mission, our progress through Havana was being tracked via a new addition to the series: the companion app.

Companion App Experience

“It almost allows a second person to be your quartermaster,” Lead Writer Darby McDevitt says about the companion app experience. Think about all that data available in an Assassin’s Creed game when you hit pause and wade through the various maps and menus; now imagine having access to all of that, while you’re playing. “You have your database, your world map that’s updating in real time, your fleet metagame, your status in the game and all the treasure maps you’ve acquired. It really acts as a second screen.” With the companion app players will be able to link their games and watch in real time on the second screen as they move Edward through the world. During our demo we were able to watch him running through Havana on the main screen and glance at the iPad to see it track his progress. Should you hand your iPad off to someone else, they can look around the world map and mark locations that look interesting for you to investigate.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Exploring Havana and the Companion App

The companion app is also the home of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag’s fleet metagame. After boarding and claiming a ship, you are given a choice: salvage parts from the ship to fix the Jackdaw or send the ship to be part of your fleet within this metagame. Should you choose the latter, Edward will appoint a member of his crew captain of this new ship and you will be able to go into the app and send the ship out on excursions to loot other ships. Any money earned while your fleet is doing its thing in the metagame will be yours to spend in the main game. The companion app will work with both next-gen platforms and current-gen.

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

Anne Lewis began her career as an editor at PlayStation: The Official Magazine, where she worked under former UbiBlog editor Gary Steinman. Now she's a lone wolf, prowling around her corner of the office and slowly descending into madness. Alas. When Anne isn’t writing about games, she's alphabetizing her comic book collection or shooting at stuff with a bow. Follow her on Twitter: @BDRAnneLewis

crazeyez 5pts

Love this game on my PS4 and seriously addicted but the app is not compatible with my asus android tablet, only my samsung phone. I would really like to see the companion app on the Vita though. I got remote play working a treat but think that the companion app on my vita would be a perfect way to utilise the vita as a second screen device and not just a remote play item. :-)

marcello puerta
marcello puerta 5pts

Hi, I love assassins creed 4 and I will love to get the conpanion app the problem is ut says is not compatible with my samsung galaxy S3!? I mean is one of the newest phones and it can more than handle the app, so why you put all your effort in apple crap and forgot about the galaxy phones?

juan 5pts

When and will I be able to download the app for my galaxy s4?

Dan Gomes
Dan Gomes 5pts

When can we expect the companion app to be available on phones? I'm sure my Galaxy S3 is more than capable of handling it. Why release an app with such limited compatibility?

Josh 5pts

It won't connect to my PS3, any help?

Stephane 5pts

I don't know for Android, but for iOS it's only available for iPad.

If you seen the trailer of "The Watch" was for all devices.

Now i feel like a half a pirate.

*Not Like* (klick)

Jason 5pts

Will the PS Vita have this companion app as well? I know that the PS Vita will work as a second screen for the PS4 and I was wondering if the companion app would be usable on the Vita. Also, will it be usable as a controller at the same time?

Matt 5pts

Will the Companion App be available on the Ps vita as well?

Jexx 5pts

In Boston and New York I hear town criers, I hear newspaper boys, I see people walking around outside of four-people groups and even looking for their groceries. The graphics were the best in AC3 (don't understand that complaint at all), although I agree on bugs and guards.

Just saying, New York and Boston were some of my favorite cities.

Dome500 5pts

One question, will we be able to manage our fleet from the PC? Because I have no iOS device and it would be a shame if there wouldn't be an option to manage the fleet from my normal PC screen.

Trenton 5pts

Will your fleet also be manageable in-game? or only in this app?

Alfred 5pts

As for this companion app, I'll have to see it in action. Sounds extremely optional at the moment.

Sebaalord 5pts

I like the idea of the Companion App, it is more or less like the Wii U just that you have one divice more as it is not included in the controller. But on the other hand you can play where ever you wish. That is quite cool! Thx Ubi for making the experience even cross platform better.

Looking forward to get my hands on. See you on the vast sea :)

Rajon,Nicholson 5pts

This game look cool, I have opportunity to play that game.

holly 5pts

Will the app work on Iphone or is only for Ipad?.

Manuel H.
Manuel H. 5pts

At least something I like from this game: big cities as in the first four games! I missed them in AC3. Boston and NY were dissappointing. I will enjoy walking through Havana :D

Sam 5pts

Firstly I reckon this game looks amazing and am very excited to play it, secondly I would like to know how to retrieve the app and what devices it will arrive on, and lastly will it work if the person with the "second screen" is in a different house or location??

Louis 5pts

I second this. This would be really good because I dont have a mobile device, However I have a ps3 and a vita and If I could use my vita for this it would give me something to do with it.

Alfred 5pts

Indeed! You'll be able to go below deck of Jackdaw to manage everything from your fleet to your crew.

Alfred 5pts

Yes, Edward will be able to direct his fleet in his quarters of the Jackdaw.

Seba 5pts

"iOS devices and Android" - hope that helps

Alfred 5pts

They have some redeeming qualities, I don't think they were as bad as some people made them out to be. But certain aspects that made it imperfect compared to previous cities in other AC games is that the people felt less alive. In the Ezio trilogy you'll see/hear minstrels, dancers, entertainers, announcers, store owners. And they were all worthy of your time, even funny too, but the NPCs of AC3 didn't feel as lively (was it intentional because of the time period?). And of course, no ambient music harmed the experience. Graphics seemed to suffer because of the weather system and extra on-screen foliage. And some players felt it was harder to traverse the city's rooftops and escape guards (although I didn't feel the same for the last two points). And of a lot of these issues were compounded by the bugs and omniscient guards (they can detect you through buildings!).

Anne Lewis | Communications Associate
Anne Lewis | Communications Associate 5pts

Hey Sam! The app will arrive first on iOS devices and Android devices will follow. It will work anywhere there is an internet connection. I hope that helps!

fatboy1271 5pts

Ugh... So tired of Windows Phone 8 never being announced as part of a "big three." I had an iPhone and my wife has an Android: for me WP8 makes both look silly.

Manuel H.
Manuel H. 5pts

Cool! It's good news. How long will it take to arrive on Android? Will it be available when PC version goes on sale? thanks :)

Manuel H.
Manuel H. 5pts

Thaks, I will pay close attention to the news :)