Life, The Universe, And Gaming: Assassin’s Creed IV Kind Of Excites Me
It’s very rare that I use a column as an opportunity to speak specifically about a particular game. Most of my columns are more eclectic, focusing on broad-spanning elements of gaming and anything I can make a decent anecdote out of and at least in that respect, today is no different. But it is different in various other ways.
For one, I am typing out this column a mere few hours before it is due to publish thanks to a ridiculously depressing bout of internetlessness brought on by what I can only call
Telkom incompetence, which has rendered my entire area (including my so-called ‘base’) devoid of DSL sync, which translates to no internet for anyone in the vicinity. It’s like a blackout, only far more morbid. And so I must sit in a university LAN and type on a piece of shit keyboard which makes far too much noise. For you guys. Love, always.
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The other thing that’s different, like I mentioned, is my focus on a particular game as the subject of conversation. I meant to do a regular article on Friday when the confirmation came through, but I felt it pertinent to make a column out of it instead, since this is going to be strongly opinionated and… well, why not?
It’s time for that anecdote.
Of all the age-old debates known to man, there is one that stands above the rest. No, it’s not which came first between the chicken and the egg. No, it’s not creationism versus evolution. No, it’s not Damon or Stefan. No, it’s not even which wins in a fight between dinosaurs and robots (Pacific Rim, everyone; watch it when it’s out). The debate that has raged the longest, the one choice that defines a person entirely, the question I ask anyone I meet before I get to know them better, is simply:
Ninjas or pirates?
Which is better, which would win in a fight between the two, so on. The answer is irrelevant; it’s your motivation which tells the world what you’re all about.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was confirmed last week following a leak and then trailered over the weekend following another leak — seriously Ubisoft, plug those holes or your ship is sure to sink (sailor puns, everyone!) — and I have to admit that it’s got me very excited, for three reasons.
The first of these involves the main character, which for the first time in the series sees us going backwards along the line of ancestors, this time to the father of Haytham Kenway, who was of course the father of Ratonhnhaké:ton (alias Connor) who was the star of Assassin’s Creed III’s historic arc. Edward Kenway is an Assassin, which is weird because his son (spoiler alert) is not. Or at least, not for the most part. One of the guiding plot elements for me in Assassin’s Creed III was the fall of Haytham Kenway and how his motivations aligned with that of Connor’s, only they were on different sides of a centuries-raging war.
I don’t think there is a person on this Earth who has played Assassin’s Creed III and thought that the interactions between Connor and his dad were the worst part of the game; in fact I would put real money on it being widely regarded as the best part of an otherwise hot-cold experience, depending on who you were. So of course it is instantly intriguing to me, to think that I can finally see where Haytham changed his mind and what his motivations were for turning his back on the Assassins and joining the fabled Templars. And I get to see it from the perspective of another, a pirate, no less.
Therein lies my second reason for being excited, and it’s simply that for the first time in gaming as far as I can recall, we have a pirate who is also an Assassin. Ninja-pirate, people. A hybrid of both. The ultimate warrior. Screw the Rakyat, this is the holy grail right here, ladies and gentlemen.
I love pirates and I’ve been saying for a while now that we are long overdue for a good pirates game. Not a puzzle game the likes of Monkey Island, although that’s always great, but a proper swashbuckler the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean, only with triple-A ties and some decent production value. My perpetual question: How is this not a thing? Well it will be, soon. And not only do we get to be pirates in a proper, hopefully more fulfilling action adventure title, but we also get to be our usual sneaky-sneaky ninja selves as Assassins, as well. For those of you who forgo stealth because the game allows you to be action-y, shut up and sit down. Nobody asked you to play the game that way. Do you play the game of real life with a gun? No, but the choice exists, right?
I think the last game that tried out pirates was Risen 2 and while not a completely bad game, it was still a bad game and it lacked that most important of features of a game about pirates — the ship battles. This is my third reason for being excited, as it was undoubtedly one of the most shining elements of the threequel, and was widely praised for being both refreshing and frantic. Expect more of this in ACIV, which is always a good thing.
Now this game has probably been in development for a while so I’m not exactly sold on the idea of Ubisoft listening to fans and taking only the good parts from Assassin’s Creed III, I think they knew full well which parts were good and opted to hold back on more for the sole purpose of selling a future title and fair enough, that’s extremely douche-y, but they do have games to market. I will continue to be annoyed at their choices, but that’s not going to stop me from being excited about ACIV.
My only hope is that they don’t then over-saturate and overdo the elements I am excited about. Sure it’s great to have a lot of the good stuff and a little of
Desmond the bad stuff, but in the same respects if we had too much of the boat battles in ACIII then eventually they would have stopped being as entertaining as they were. Read: they were entertaining because we were drip-fed the awesomeness.
In all though, I have to say that it’s been a while since I’ve seen any game with just a single piece of artwork and a trailer, and been this excited. Pirate Assassin? Hell yeah I’m there.