Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Spotlight

Key events

19th November 2013

Why launch games underwhelm

The Assassin's Creed series, ranked

As Ezio one, two, three.

Assassin's Creed is a series all about history - well, that and stabbing people in the neck. So, for the release of Origins, we thought we'd celebrate by delving into the history of the series. It's a lot less messy than doing the stabbing in the neck thing ourselves.

Assassin's Creed: the story so far

Everything is permitted.

There will likely never be a better entry point to Assassin's Creed than Origins, released today. A prequel set a thousand years before the events of Assassin's Creed 1, Origins can be enjoyed as your first experience of the series.

Minigames are interesting things. They're purpose built to distract the player - to give them something different to do for ten minutes in order to break up the flow of the main game. In a sense, they're tacit admissions of the fact that sometimes games - especially long ones - can get a bit monotonous.

It looks like Naughty Dog used Assassin's Creed artwork for the new Uncharted 4 trailer

It looks like Naughty Dog used Assassin's Creed artwork for the new Uncharted 4 trailer

UPDATE: "We made a regrettable mistake." Trailer updated.

UPDATE 24/02/2015 8.44pm: Naughty Dog has admitted its used Assassin's Creed artwork in its new Uncharted 4 trailer, and explained it was all an honest mistake.

"In our eagerness to get the story trailer out we made a regrettable mistake and didn't thoroughly vet the art work used for an in game painting," the developer stated in a new blog post. "We've already updated the trailer. We hold all artistry in high regard and take full responsibility for having allowed this to happen.

"We want to sincerely apologise to everyone at Ubisoft, the Assassin's Creed team, the original artist, and our fans."

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Double Xbox Games with Gold titles announced for April

Double Xbox Games with Gold titles announced for April

Gears! Terraria! Black Flag! Child of Light! Pool! Army of Two.

Microsoft has confirmed the titles that will make up April's bumper helping of free games on Xbox 360 and Xbox One - if you're an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.

Two titles will be free for Xbox One owners from 1st-31st April: charming Ubisoft platformer Child of Light and shiny ball simulator Pool Nation FX.

Meanwhile, Xbox 360 owners will get shooter prequel Gears of War: Judgment and indie sandbox Terraria between 1st-15th April.

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Xbox One Assassin's Creed: Unity bundles announced

Xbox One Assassin's Creed: Unity bundles announced

With/without Kinect for £399/£349.

Microsoft has announced an official Assassin's Creed: Unity Xbox One bundle, available both with and without Kinect.

Due to go on sale in North America on Sunday, 2nd November, and Europe on 4th November, the bundle will include digital download codes for both Assassin's Creed: Unity and last year's AC4: Black Flag.

The Kinect-free bundle costs £349/$399.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag GOTY Edition announced

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag GOTY Edition announced

Contains all Season Pass content.

Ubisoft has just confirmed its annual Game of the Year Edition for Assassin's Creed - this year, it's the Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Jackdaw Edition.

Available exclusively through Amazon in the UK from 28th March and only for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Jackdaw Edition will contain the main game plus all Season Pass content.

Notably this includes Freedom Cry, the enjoyable story add-on starring first mate Adewale.

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BioShock Infinite isn't up for a Best Game BAFTA

Tearaway is, so is Assassin's Creed 4.

It's that time of year again: The British Academy Games Awards (BAFTA) nominees have been announced. The biggest surprise is that BioShock Infinite - its triumphant arrival being one of the gaming events of the year, if not the generation - is not nominated for Best Game. Fighting it out for that honour are Tearaway, Assassin's Creed 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, The Last of Us, Super Mario 3D World and Papers, Please.

Watch Dogs delayed again on Wii U

To focus on platforms with the "broadest possible benefit".

Ubisoft has confirmed that the Wii U version of Watch Dogs will not arrive when the game launches on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One at some point between 1st April and 30th June.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag - Freedom Cry review

Remember those "very special" episodes of a TV series where everything becomes serious for a show? Freedom Cry feels a little like one of those - a familiar franchise tackling a particularly difficult topic. That's not to say the approach is jarring - the change befits Freedom Cry's slavery storyline - it's just surprising to find such a markedly different tone in the coda of Black Flag's swashbuckling adventure. But while Freedom Cry differs from the main game's story and themes, it remains technically reliant on the Assassin's Creed 4 mothership for everything else, and this is where its gameplay flaws remain.

Freedom Cry begins several years after Assassin's Creed 4's finale and stars Adéwalé, the old first mate of Black Flag's hero Edward Kenway. (Kenway himself is back in London fathering a grumpy Templar son). Adé is now a fully-fledged Assassin with his own ship and mission, but events soon lead him into murkier waters - combating the slave trade of which he was once a victim.

While the main game spent the majority of its time on the shiny new ocean, Freedom Cry offers most of its missions on land - where the series already feels most familiar. At least there's a fresh town to explore, Port-au-Prince, and a new base of operations where many of your missions begin. It's here, amongst the wooden shacks and narrow muddy streets, that you'll spend much of your time. It's also here that the game best manages to present the omnipresent horror of slavery: in the auction pens of humans being bartered for gold, around the local stocks where the screaming runaways are whipped, and in the murderous gaze of the jailers. On the lookout for escapees, these enemies will chase and shoot you on sight due to the colour of your skin.

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Developers' Games of 2013

CD Projekt! Blow! Bithell! Molyneux! More!

We've had our say on 2013's best video games. And so have you. Now, it's the turn of the developers, the makers of the virtual experiences we so love. Read on for the games of 2013 according to the creators of the likes of Super Meat Boy, Assassin's Creed 4, XCOM, Oculus Rift and more, complete with Twitter bios.

As Ubisoft is going full-steam ahead on its annualised Assassin's Creed franchise, it's been polling fans to see where they'd like to see the series head - or perhaps, where they'd like to see an all new series spawn from Black Flag's high seas adventures.

Next-Gen Face-Off: Assassin's Creed 4

Digital FoundryNext-Gen Face-Off: Assassin's Creed 4

Last-gen AC4 meets Wii U, PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions in a mammoth six-format comparison.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may not promote itself as a "built from the ground up" next generation experience, but Ubisoft's in-house AnvilNext engine is designed to scale up and take advantage of the latest graphics technology, and plenty of visual upgrades and performance improvements are promised for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners. But just how big of a leap are we actually witnessing? And is the difference worth paying a premium for over the current generation editions of the game? Finally, with all six versions of Assassin's Creed 4 on the table, we can put these issues to the test with the definitive look at Ubisoft's epic open-world swashbuckler.

To recap, the 360 and PS3 versions of the game offered up essentialy an identical visual presentation, with matching art and a native 720p framebuffer, with the Xbox 360 version closer to reaching the desired 30fps update, in turn delivering smoother gameplay with better controller response. But it's safe to say that choosing between PS3 and 360 is something of a Hobson's choice. There is a real sense that the game is held back by the constraints of last-gen console hardware, with the potential for both Sony and Microsoft's new consoles to finally deliver a smooth experience where the action isn't compromised by a lack of system resources.

There's also the Wii U version to address too. Last year's offering didn't quite match up to the existing PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, but it was a solid effort on a technically ambitious game and one of the few multi-platform success stories of the launch period. One year later, is there any improvement? Is there any sign at all that the more modern Nintendo architecture can offer up an experience above and beyond the impressive, if performance-challenged last-gen versions? A vast raft of comparisons is set to follow, beginning with something of a first - a colossal hex-format comparison gallery, encompassing every version of the game.

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VideoWatch us play PS4 Assassin's Creed 4 from 5pm GMT

Next-gen Assassin's, plus a little bit of loot for you to pick up.

Some of the first-party offerings on the new generation of consoles (I think we're going to have to retire next-gen soon) might fall a little flat, but at least the third-party publishers have your back. I've already put forward a case for Need for Speed: Rivals being the best bet to pick up with your new console on day one, and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag puts up a pretty good argument too.

Xbox One outsells Xbox 360 two-to-one in UK launch

Xbox One outsells Xbox 360 two-to-one in UK launch

UPDATE: Sold around 150,000, report claims.

UPDATE: Xbox One sold around 150,000 in the UK during its launch, according to a report by MCV.

The Xbox 360 sold 70,000 units during its launch eight years ago.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Xbox One outsold the Xbox 360 two-to-one in the UK when you compare both console's launch periods.

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PS4 Assassin's Creed 4 1080p patch analysed in-depth

Digital FoundryPS4 Assassin's Creed 4 1080p patch analysed in-depth

44 per cent more resolution - with no performance penalty.

With next generation tools and system resources often in a state of flux before the final hardware is ready for release, game development continues right down to the wire, in some cases with last-minute optimisations and graphical tweaks completed after a title's master disc has been pressed and duplicated for the final release. The end result is that some launch titles are effectively finished via the release of patches and updates designed to fix various bugs and glitches, or to improve noticeable performance issues - as we saw recently with Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Ubisoft recently revealed that the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed 4 would gain an update shortly after the game's release, bumping up the rendering resolution from 900p to 1080p, along with some improved visual effects and a new anti-aliasing solution, with all of this possible via further optimisation work carried out after core development was completed. With the patch now available in the US, are we looking at a noticeable upgrade in visual quality, or a more modest refinement to the original, unpatched presentation?

We kick off with a 1080p head-to-head video showcasing a number of clips from the first hour of the game. On first impressions, the differences between running the game upscaled from 900p and natively in 1080p are actually quite subtle: there's a slight but noticeable boost in sharpness, and images appear a little more crisp, but nothing that immediately grabs you as amounting to anything approaching a sensational upgrade. The original 900p framebuffer is actually upscaled well to 1080p without introducing much in the way of unwanted artefacts, and the anti-aliasing solution in both versions helps to give the game a smooth appearance.

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Assassin's Creed 4 DLC will let you play as Blackbeard

UPDATE: Due this week for all platforms except Wii U.

UPDATE: Ubisoft has confirmed a Tuesday, 10th December release date for Assassin's Creed 4 multiplayer add-on Blackbeard's Wrath - that's tomorrow, or Wednesday for European PS3 and PS4 owners.

Why launch games underwhelm

Why launch games underwhelm

"We can't make a version for PS4 or Xbox One so wildly different we can't market them together."

Launch games often underwhelm. We've seen it before and we're seeing it again with the next-generation of consoles. But why?

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Ubisoft, perennial maker of launch games, offered an explanation.

"Right now, all publishers are transitioning their development resources," Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Ubisoft, said.

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Assassin's Creed 4 PS4 update will upgrade resolution from 900p to 1080p

UPDATE: The patch to enhance Assassin's Creed 4's visuals on PS4 in now live, Ubisoft has revealed. Now the game can be played in its true 1080p splendor with more advanced ani-aliasing tech.

ORIGINAL STORY: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag's PS4 version may currently only run at 900p resolution, but an update will be out "shortly after release" sprucing it up to a nice and shiny 1080p.

Ubisoft community manager Gary Steinman explained on the Ubisoft Blog that the game originally shipped in 900p to ensure that the framerate wouldn't drop below 30 fps. "Finishing the game at 900p gave the development team the extra room in terms of the GPU and CPU usage to ensure the framerate never dips below 30 frames per second," he stated before adding "The team then used the time between the ship date and the release to focus on a title update that could deliver native 1080p resolution on the PS4."

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Love it or love to moan about it, the latest annual chapter in the Assassin's Creed franchise has once again advanced the increasingly labyrinthine narrative, provided answers to a number of outstanding mysteries and dropped new clues as to where the series may be heading.

Assassin's Creed 4 PS4 bundle announced

Sony and Ubisoft have teamed up to release a PS4 bundle with Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

This is allegedly meant to replace the Watch Dogs PS4 bundle Ubisoft had initially been planning prior to that game's delay.

The Sony platform versions of Assassin's Creed 4 contain an additional hour of exclusive gameplay.

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UK chart: Assassin's Creed 4 beats Battlefield 4

But neither sell as strongly as their predecessors.

As the autumn heavyweights enter the ring it's Ubisoft setting the pace, as Assassin's Creed 4 leaps to the top of the UK charts, leaving EA and Battlefield 4 with a cut eyebrow in second.

VideoHow similar is Abstergo to Ubisoft? Have a look to find out

Assassin's Creed's fictional developer contrasted and compared in this video.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has pirates and ships, which is all great and everything but there's something everyone's forgetting in all the excitement: there's an entire games development studio included for you to nose around.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review

Shipshape and Bristol fashion.

If successive Assassin's Creed games have worn you down with the same ageing systems - free-running that seems to snag on every root and spur, simplistic combat built around monotonous counter-attacks and too many missions that only focus on these mechanics, usually after tailing someone while eavesdropping on their conversation - then you should know that these things are still prominent components of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

You should also know, however, that while they may bog you down occasionally, they are pushed comprehensively into the background by the many other things that you spend your time doing in this open-world sequel - the sixth major instalment in this vast, annualised series of adventures about the age-old war between noble Assassins and dickhead Templars. The result is a surprising breath of fresh sea air.

Set among a vibrant chain of Caribbean islands in the early 18th century, Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a pirate who plunders his way from shore to shore, evading British and Spanish fleets as he seeks to get rich or die trying. After the ship Edward is crewing picks a fight in a storm and it goes wrong, he starts the game marooned on a beach with a feisty Assassin for company, and ends up stealing his clothes and travelling to Havana to impersonate him and claim his prize.

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Assassin's Creed 4, Watch Dogs DLC exclusive to PlayStation for six months

Assassin's Creed 4, Watch Dogs DLC exclusive to PlayStation for six months

UPDATE: AC4 PlayStation content will remain exclusive, Ubisoft confirms.

UPDATE: Ubisoft's PlayStation-exclusive levels for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will not be released on other platforms after all, the publisher has confirmed to Eurogamer.

A US trailer for the game last week revealed that the content was a timed exclusive for six months, suggesting a release on other platforms at a later date was possible.

Ubisoft has now confirmed that this will not be the case, and that Black Flag's hour of Aveline levels will remain exclusive to PlayStation 3 and PS4.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag release date shuffles forward

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag release date shuffles forward

PS3 and Xbox 360 editions to set sail a little earlier.

Buccaneering adventure Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will launch a little earlier than first planned on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, publisher Ubisoft has announced.

Previously dated in Europe for 1st November, the current-gen editions will now land on 29th October. That's a Tuesday - and exactly two weeks from today.

PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One versions are still slated for 22nd November, Ubisoft reassured (yes, despite the PS4 having not launched in the UK at that point).

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag season pass and DLC announced

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag season pass and DLC announced

UPDATE: Wii U version not getting any DLC.

UPDATE: The Wii U version of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will not be getting any DLC.

This confirmation was given by an Ubisoft rep to Gamereactor. We've contacted Ubisoft to get a response as to why it's neglecting Nintendo's console here, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the publisher's likely feeling skittish after the Wii U's poor sales.

ORIGINAL STORY: Ubisoft has revealed its plans for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag's post-release content with the announcement of a season pass and a DLC campaign.

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VideoSee an ocelot get messed up in Assassin's Creed 4

Nine minutes of new gameplay in this video preview.

It's the biggest, busiest Assassin's Creed so far - but after an annual onslaught of games, is anyone really bothered any more? Turns out they are, actually, and Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag's open seas setting is a breath of salty fresh air that gives the series the kick up the behind it really needs.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag PC release date confirmed

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag PC release date confirmed

22nd November, alongside Wii U and next-gen versions.

Ubisoft has stamped a release date on the PC edition of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag - it launches on 22nd November.

That's the same day as the game's PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One versions (yes, even though PS4 won't actually have launched yet in the UK).

But Black Flag will launch first for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 1st November.

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Uplay confirmed for PS4 and Xbox One

Uplay confirmed for PS4 and Xbox One

PC client set for 4.0 update in October.

Uplay, Ubisoft's digital platform, has been confirmed for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Uplay will be available on all the titles in Ubisoft's next-generation lineup, which includes Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, The Crew, The Division and Watch Dogs.

Also set for next-gen consoles are the recently announced Child of Light, Valiant Hearts and Trials Fusion.

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Submerge yourself in Assassin's Creed 4's underwater gameplay

VideoSubmerge yourself in Assassin's Creed 4's underwater gameplay

New details on hiding from sharks and gameplay footage.

We already know that Assassin's Creed 4 aims to build on the impressive naval battles of its predecessor by allowing Edward Kenway to fully submerge himself and probe the bottom of the ocean, but as you'll see in this video interview with producer Arnaud Vaudour, Ubisoft intends for these dives to be much more than throwaway distractions.

Over exclusive underwater gameplay footage, Vaudour explains how the team set out to build beautiful but threatening environments where systems felt consistent with the rest of the game - so just as you hide from guards by lurking in bushes in the open-world on land, so you hide from sharks by mixing with kelp and ducking behind coral under the ocean.

While you're down there, you'll pick up lots of rewards and upgrades for Kenway's ship, and environments will vary in difficulty, with fewer air pockets and more substantial threats as you go deeper beneath the game's surface. Elsewhere in the video, Vaudour also talks about how the game differentiates between self-contained dive sections and the open sea, which you can sail - and swim - across.

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Assassin's Creed 4 dev walkthrough shows seven minutes of gameplay

Assassin's Creed 4 dev walkthrough shows seven minutes of gameplay

Shark stealth, tagging foes and blow darts.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail has shown off seven minutes of the upcoming open-world pirate adventure in a new developer walkthrough (via IGN).

This time we get to see new protagonist Edward Kenway explore the seafloor by using a diving bell to access an underwater cave. Along the way he needs to stay out of view of a shark, but unfortunately this doesn't involve him wearing a novelty shark fin on his head. In fact, it doesn't involve him wearing much of anything as he needs to strip down to his drawers to go for swim.

This seems like it might make his exploits at a nearby enemy encampment more dangerous, but some new "improvements" have made it so the advantage remains clearly in the player's court. The biggest addition is that you can now "tag" enemies ala Far Cry 3, so you can continue to see them through walls. You can also keep your throwing knives in your skivvies, so you're never really stripped of your gear.

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VideoCheck out this Assassin's Creed 4 Abstergo easter egg

Ian's spotted a little secret in Black Flag's modern-day setting.

Assassin's Creed 4 isn't even out, and we've already unearthed an easter egg within it. Ian Higton picked up the little secret (don't worry - it can't really be considered a spoiler) during his recent travels, and it's kind of tied in to where he headed.

Next-gen shrubs: How Assassin's Creed 4 is being ported to new consoles

And how you'll be able to play a new Assassin's Creed on your Vita this year after all.

Assassin's Creed's debut on next-gen consoles will bring - among other new features - more intense environments that, Ubisoft says, will allow for greater immersion. "When you get into a bush in stealth mode you really feel like you are hidden there in this next gen bush," Assassin's Creed 4's associate producer Sylvain Trottier told Eurogamer. Quite.

VideoWatch a shark get stabbed in the face in Assassin's Creed 4

And learn how Far Cry 3's hunting has made it across.

You probably already knew that sticking sharp things in endangered species was going to be a thing in Assassin's Creed 4 (though you can forgive Kenway a little, as back in his day they weren't quite so rare) so now here's a chance to see something a little more deserving of a forceful prod. Sharks, the gits of the sea, can be stabbed up and chopped to bits just so our charming pirate can make a nice new purse.

PlayStation-exclusive Assassin's Creed 4 levels shown off

PlayStation-exclusive Assassin's Creed 4 levels shown off

Vita heroine Aveline back in action.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag's PlayStation-exclusive levels have been shown off in more detail by developer Ubisoft.

The content features an older Aveline de Grandpré, the heroine of last year's PlayStation Vita title Assassin's Creed: Liberation, and will be written by that game's lead scribe Jill Murray.

The hour-long "short story" is divided into three bonus missions for PlayStation 3 and 4 owners, and will pick up a while after Liberation's conclusion.

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14 minutes of continuous Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag gameplay

14 minutes of continuous Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag gameplay

Collect sea shanties for your crew to croon.

Ubisoft has released an impressive extended excerpt of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag footage showing the game's seamless open world.

Buccaneer assassin Edward Kenway is able to leap from land to sea and back again during a quick chase sequence and then a trip to dig up buried treasure.

The clip also gives a first in-game look at Black Flag's huge world map, which stretches down from Florida via Cuba and Jamaica to the northern shores of South America. There seems to be a decent amount to do while at sea too - Kenway stops off at a passing desert island, spots enemy ships to fight and escapes from a waterspout.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag reveals seven minutes of gameplay

Ubisoft has released seven minutes of gameplay footage showing off its upcoming high seas adventure Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Here we get to see new protagonist Edward raid a corpse for a treasure map, which shows us an artist's rendering of the booty's location, Red Dead Redemption-style. In this particular instance, it's on an island called "mysteriosa," which seems to emanate from the "unobtanium" school of heavy-handed monikers.

The treasure, as it turns out, is a blueprint for a ship upgrade. Why anyone would design such a thing only to stash it away in a secret chest is anyone's guess. Perhaps that enhanced broadside cannon was deemed too dangerous for human consumption?

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PlayStation-exclusive Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag content stars AC3: Liberation heroine

The star of Ubisoft's PlayStation Vita spin-off Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation will return in PlayStation versions of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, the developer has confirmed.

Aveline de Grandpré's story will be continued in three new missions developed just for the game's PS3 and PS4 versions, Kotaku reported. PC, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners will miss out.

Ubisoft previously confirmed that PS3 and PS4 editions of the game would get extra content totalling around an hour's extra gameplay. It's a similar deal to the Sony-exclusive Benedict Arnold storyline in Assassin's Creed 3 and the Copernicus side-story in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

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Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4 confirmed for Xbox One

Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4 confirmed for Xbox One

Big 2013 games among six coming to Microsoft's new console from Ubisoft.

Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4, two of 2013's most high profile releases, are coming to Microsoft's newly unveiled Xbox One.

They're heading up the six games that Ubisoft will be bringing to Microsoft's console as it readies up its next generation offerings.

"Our teams are using the innovations in connectivity, immersion and social gaming included in Xbox One to create original and memorable next-gen gaming experiences," Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot squeaked.

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Ubisoft forecasts lower Assassin's Creed 4 sales than AC3 managed this past financial year

Ubisoft forecasts lower Assassin's Creed 4 sales than AC3 managed this past financial year

Thinks Watch Dogs can match or better AC1's first-year tally of ~6 million.

Ubisoft thinks the Golden Age of Piracy is a stronger theme globally than the American Revolution, but for the sake of being "prudent" has forecast lower sales for Assassin's Creed 4 than AC3 managed this past financial year.

Ubisoft did similar for new cross-generational IP Watch Dogs, with CEO Yves Guillemot forecasting that, "We believe the game can perform as well or even better than Assassin's Creed 1 back in financial year '07." Assassin's Creed 1 managed greater than 6 million sales that year. "However," he added, "our target reflects more conservative expectations," although he didn't say what that was.

Assassin's Creed 3 broke the magical 10 million mark during the financial year ended 31st March 2013, shifting 12.5 million copies - a number comprised of shipped boxes and digital sales.

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Pretty Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag trailer has ships, sharks and lots of stabbing

Ubisoft has released a very pretty new trailer for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Behold, several minutes of new footage!

It's unclear which platform the footage has been captured from, but the quality of the visuals suggests it's likely to be the PC and next-gen console build.

The trailer appears to confirm the return of the series' iconic View Points and gives us a few glimpses at some early story moments.

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Jade Raymond's Ubisoft Toronto collaborating on new, unannounced Assassin's Creed game

Splinter Cell: Blacklist developer Ubisoft Toronto will help make the next Assassin's Creed game due after Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Ubisoft Toronto is under the command of Jade Raymond, a key creative force behind the first Assassin's Creed game.

The new, unannounced Assassin's Creed game is presumably the annual release for 2014. And it's one of five projects that Ubisoft Toronto will help out with.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag preview: how Ubisoft plans to hook you back in

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag preview: how Ubisoft plans to hook you back in

Sail to more than 50 locations, cities and islands in a huge open world.

If Ubisoft's leak-ridden reveal of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag was a ship, it would have already sunk to the bottom of the ocean. While hundreds of journalists queued last week for their first official peek, details of the game's what, where and who were already available online: product art showing a new assassin buccaneer, a map of the Caribbean and a name - Edward Kenway, grandfather of Assassin's Creed 3's Connor.

So it was with expectation and an air of predictability that the lights dimmed and the show began. It was started, bizarrely, by an extended monologue remembering the series to date, delivered by the actor who played Finchy in The Office. Remember the original game's Masyaf, we were told. Remember the tall spires of Renaissance Italy, the crowded streets of Boston. Well, we do - for gamers, these events happened fairly recently. AC3's launch still seems particularly fresh in the memory - Ubisoft is only a third of the way through releasing that game's episodic King Washington DLC.

After the theatrics and a sales pitch, after the Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag name was announced and banners unfurled bearing its skull-adorned logo, then - finally - a more detailed and encouraging picture of the game emerged.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag release date, next-gen launch leaked

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag release date, next-gen launch leaked

UPDATE: And now the trailer appears online, too.

UPDATE: Another day, another Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag leak. This time it's the game's CGI reveal trailer, which appeared online over the weekend.

The footage confirms the black bearded fellow in the artwork below as Blackbeard himself, and there's plenty of action with new pirate assassin Edward Kenway.

We'll have a full preview of the game at 5pm, if there's anything left that hasn't leaked by then.

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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag confirmed by Ubisoft, has 60 minutes exclusive gameplay on PS3

Pirate-themed Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has been officially confirmed by publisher Ubisoft, and will have 60 minutes of exclusive gameplay on PlayStation 3.

Packshot artwork shows that the game will at least be released for PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360.

The imagery confirms its rumoured pirate setting, while a sticker on the PS3 version reveals the exclusive hour of gameplay - the same deal offered with Assassin's Creed 3 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

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First details of pirate-themed Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

First details of pirate-themed Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Stars assassin Edward Kenway in 1715 Caribbean-setting.

The next Assassin's Creed game will star a pirate assassin and be set in the early 18th century Caribbean, a slew of leaks suggest. It will be named Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Leaked artwork posted by Kotaku showed a new hooded assassin taking on a ship full of salty sea dogs, armed with a pistol and dagger. A black skull-and-crossbones flag hangs behind him.

That assassin is Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Connor from Assassin's Creed 3, according to The Examiner. He's a privateer, assassin and occasional pirate.

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