We already knew that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was going to be heavy on the pirate vibe. Now it turns out that your connection with your crew will be important, and you can improve morale by singing.
The main character in AC IV is Edward Kenway, a pirate, aspiring member of the Brotherhood, and commander of the Jackdaw. You won’t be micro-managing the sailors, but they will be integral to your success. Your first mate, Adewale will help guide you regarding crew morale, and he even has his own playable story arc.
Ashraf Ismail, Game Director, refers to the crew as Redshirts, like those crew members from the Star Trek series who were nameless and often disposable. However, he explains
“This is a pirate game, so we wanted to make sure the camaraderie with the crew is very strong. For example, you can collect music sheets and start singing with them. You can order them to sing and Edward will sing along with them. It’s an aesthetic but at least you feel that connection.”
The game seeks to forge an organic connection to your crew through ambient interactions such as singing or the way the crew greets Edward when he board the Jackdaw. This bond gets carried over to battle when using your crew to board other ships.
“If you’re not really helping your crew and they’re just dying left, right and center, their morale is going to drop. They’re going to start dying faster and faster and they’re going to be screaming out for your help. You’ll hear it. You’ll see it. They’ll even reach out to Edward as they’re dying to say, Captain, help us. […] When you help them, the momentum changes and they start succeeding more. Even beyond that, they’ll come to your rescue. If you’re taking a lot of damage and you’re being surrounded, the crew will jump in and help you.”
That said, you aren’t forced to help your crew. Sure, the benefits are significant. However, you can choose to be careless and callous, leading Adewale to speak out about your performance. I’m just a bit worried that Adewale might be a bit of a back-ship driver with this statement from Ismail:
“Adewale, who is kind of the voice of the crew, will be very vocal about how he thinks you’re doing. It’s good feedback for players because it also lets you know, Hey, drive better. Pay more attention. Be friendlier to your crew. Adewale’s personality will change based on how you’re doing and your progress in the story.”
At least it’s nice to see that Ubisoft is listening to gamers and removing the strong moral compass from Assassin’s Creed. Connor (from AC III) was such an irritating character because of his determination to always do the right thing. Now, we play as a pirate captain, and can even be cruel and ruthless. I just wonder if pirates traditionally bonded over singing together, or if there weren’t more nefarious activities involved.
Last Updated: August 13, 2013