Ubisoft's long-running Assassin's Creed series is driven as much by its story as it is assassinations, but during the first public look at Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag not a whole lot was said about its narrative. The game's first trailer only nudged fans gently in the direction of a plot; something that quickly became overshadowed by a montage of pirate debauchery and wench-based threesomes.
But Black Flag's lead scriptwriter Darby McDevitt tells us this sexually explicit motif is actually at the heart of the game's narrative. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will be the story of immorality and repentance.
According to McDevitt, the game's protagonist Edward Kenway is a married man whose strained relationship with his wife is punctuated by relationships with other women.
"there is a special woman in Edward's life, but there are also other not-so-special women as well."
"Edward Kenway is a raucous and bawdy chap," McDevitt explains, "but he's also a married man, and one of his primary motivation in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is to get rich and prove himself a ‘man of quality' to his family and betters. So there is a special woman in Edward's life, but there are also other not-so-special women as well."
The theme is followed through in Black Flag's gameplay. Like in the earlier installment of the series, you can use NPCs to achieve certain goals. In Black Flag, Kenway can direct female NPCs to seduce and distract targets. We see this in action in the earlier trailer, says McDevitt who points to one of the women in the first trailer's threesome scene as an example.
"While this scene in the reveal trailer was clearly designed hint at the pirate lifestyle, there is a gameplay element here, to show that you can use certain NPC characters to more effectively achieve your goals. You might have noticed that the woman in the foreground seduced his target at the end of the trailer (eagle-eyed fans have already pointed out that they are the same woman)."
Black Flag will be 'more open and free than ever before.'
Like all titles in the series, the game will be pre-scripted for dramatic effect — That means there won't be any element of choosing who Kenway can have a relationship with in the main story; however, McDevitt says that gameplay has been designed to be "more open and free than ever before," suggesting there may be more decision-making is on the cards. While Kenway's relationship with his wife is one of the central struggles in the game, McDevitt adds the protagonist will also have a few significant close relationships with other women, including the infamous Anne Bonny.
McDevitt remained tight-lipped about what exact role the ever-present Templars will play this time around, on the other hand. He would only reveal that the Templar consortium would be made up of a "diverse" cast of characters from three different empires. But the story of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag seems to be sustained as much by the repercussions of pirate-style sexuality as it is by the familiar Templar mythology.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is scheduled to release Oct. 29 on Windows PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.