In an interview with Eurogamer, a director from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag has elaborated that the game will have a multiplayer mode and that the separate multiplayer features for the single-player part of the game will be completely optional.
The connectivity is based on the fact that – unlike in the previous games (on home consoles) in the series – the player doesn’t play as Desmond but as herself. You are a research analyst at Abstergo Entertainment, the company that represents the Templar antagonists to Desmond in the modern day in those other games. You’re researching the life of the protagonist of the historical sections of the game: the pirate Edward Kenway. As part of that, you will have coworkers who are also conducting research, and these coworkers will be represented by other players.
During those portions of the game in which the player takes on the role of an Abstergo employee, other players will be able to influence the game somehow.
“The biggest thing that we were getting into with Assassin’s Creed 4 is the concept that even in a single-player story – we still have multiplayer, to be clear – but even in the single-player, that you’re connected. “You [will] feel that there’s other people also playing the game and somehow you can interact, or somehow you can take advantage with each other,” director Ashraf Ismail told Eurogamer.
“The coworkers with you – we want you to feel that your friends are co-workers. So other people playing Black Flag are also research analysts. So when they can find stuff in the world, they can share it with you. When they do research, and when you’re doing research, you can share that information and you get a boost for it. Even in a single-player story where there’s a narrative, this is a really big strength of next gen.”
Happily, if you really don’t want your mates mucking about in your single-player campaign, you can go offline.
Ismael clarified that during the modern day segments the player character is supposed to be the player – which is probably why it’s presented in first-person. As a research analyst working for Abstergo, the player uses new Animus technology which allows for anybody to explore a genetic history – much like in Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation. The developer said the “feeling and mood” of these sequences “will be a big surprise for people”.
“We’re pushing the narrative of the Assassin/Templar feud both in the present day and in the past. The reason you’re researching Edward Kenway is he did something very special in the past, very specific. Fans, especially people who know the deep, deep details of the lore, they’ll see what his purpose was. He did something very significant that actually touches upon the other games. If you’re not into that kind of stuff it’s OK, they’re just details,” he continued.
“Imagine when you exit that [Animus] workstation, you have this building that you can explore and you can find stuff. So we really push it. For us, that part is an homage to our fans.”
Some of the extra content that fans will be able to uncover will reveal more about the fate of Desmond Miles, erstwhile franchise meta-protagonist, ismale added.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will release on PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360 at the end of October and early November, with a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch dependent on hardware release dates.