The modern day sections of the Assassin's Creed games are a real Marmite experience. Some absolutely love them for the insight they offer into the game's lore. Others can't wait to get back into the Animus for more historical adventures.
Assassin's Creed IV game director Ashraf Ismail thinks he's found a way to keep everyone happy. "We know there are people out there who really don't like the present day, and that's okay," he says in a new post on the Ubisoft blog. "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."
During Assassin's Creed IV, you'll leave the Animus five times. At that point you'll be free to explore Abstergo, the tech company that is secretly run by the villainous Templars. How long you spend doing that is up to you. You can be back in Edward Kenway's pirate boots in just a few minutes, or spend hours finding bonus information.
"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 explains. "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."
"You get to see what Abstergo Entertainment as a company is doing with your research. You get to see the progression of what they're trying to do, which is really fun. Some of it is just us making fun of the videogame industry and being a videogame company. We have the Abstergo Entertainment Employee Manual, which is kind of poking fun at our employee manual. There's a lot of stuff we just had a good time with. It's really there for people who enjoy it and want to see a bit more of it."
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is out on November 1st for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Wii U versions follow on November 22nd.