Assassin's Creed 4’s present day gameplay sections will be required to move the story forward, but the vast majority of the activities available to players will be optional, game director Ashraf Ismail has revealed in a new Ubisoft blog post. Be warned, the following information contains some potential Assassin’s Creed 3 spoilers.
The present day content sees players hired by Abstergo Entertainment to explore history and conduct research on AC4 protagonist Edward Kenway. “In total, if you were to do everything in the present day – find everything, hack every computer, access every room – it’s a solid three to five hours,” Ismail said. “For the main path – the stuff you’re required to do – it’s somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. You leave the Animus five times during the game’s main path and each time you’re there for about three to four minutes.
“We pretty much tried to boil it down to its most core essence because we know there are people out there who really don’t like the present day, and that’s okay. You don’t have to like it, but it’s part of the brand. For the people who like the present day and are big fans, we put in a lot of fan service and a lot of fun optional content. You get to choose if you want it or not.”
Those interested in exploring the additional content will see what happens to Desmond after Assassin’s Creed 3. “We used it as an opportunity to say goodbye to Desmond,” Ismail said. “There’s actually a lot of stuff linked to him that you find.”
The PS3 and PS4 versions of the game will feature one hour of exclusive gameplay starring Aveline de Grandpré, the female protagonist of Vita game Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation, and Ismail promised they’ll be a number of additional “awesome cameos” for fans to enjoy.
He concluded by confirming that the game will retain the supernatural elements featured in past series entries. “We call those ‘What the F–k Moments.’ You can’t have an Assassin’s Creed game without a What the F–k Moment. It has to be in there. The First Civilization, Juno… all that is part of the brand and yes, there’s progression in it. It’s not just a nod that we make to it. It’s actually part of the meta story. You see what happens after Assassin’s Creed 3 – you see the ramifications of that, and we push it further.”