Yesterday afternoon, Ubisoft released a new gameplay demonstration of "Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag," the developer's flagship (no pun intended) franchise. The video was previously seen only by GamesCom attendees, and as protagonist Edward Kenway is a pirate-assassin hybrid, showcases the game's improved naval warfare. There are multiple "zones" in the game which are effectively guarded by forts armed to the teeth. Explained simply by game director Ashraf Ismail, "The harder the zone, the harder the fort." In this demo, there are only two towers on the fort to destroy, however, there are also a couple of nearby ships to battle simultaneously. Because the open sea is an open sandbox, these battles can be different in any number of ways. A violent storm could weigh heavily on the battle and be an enemy on its own, or there could be more enemy naval ships circling around to deal with.
Kenway's ship is equipped with side-mounted cannons and a mortar, a new weapon to the franchise. Ships may be upgraded to offer better defense and offense alike. In the demo, a brig has our hero in its sights and initiates on a crash-course voyage to ram Kenway into the sea. Since the player has not upgraded the ship at this stage in the game, the best defense is to throw explosive barrels from the back of the ship. After the enemy brig is disabled, the player has the option to board the vessel and do as pirates do. However, the threat of the fort tower still lingers and attention is focused on destroying it. When it crumbles, easy access is provided into the fort. Ismail notes there are more ways than one to enter a compromised fort and some ways are more straightforward than others. Our assassin puts on his hood to indicate there is an increased threat level and enemies will attack on sight (but also that you are about to be awesome). Luckily, enemy troops are too preoccupied battling to notice him nimbly leaping by. Forts act much like Borgia Towers from previous games starring Ezio. Once inside, you must locate and kill the commander to take the fort as your own.
"Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag" is scheduled for an October 29, 2013 release in the United States on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, and "other next generation consoles."