It’s always been a bit of a bummer in the Assassin’s Creed series that you never had anywhere near the amount of freedom to explore the present day (Desmond’s stomping grounds, that is) as you did the incredibly detailed backdrops of Jerusalem, Italy, and Revolution-set America. Once you were outside the ancestor-reprising machine known as the Animus and on your feet in the present, your exploration boundaries were very confined. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag looks to rip that small aspect a new one, promising even more hours of exploration.
Ashraf Ismail, director of AC IV, had several neat insights on the franchise’s present-day component to share. Since the Animus aspect of Assassin’s Creed has always been a love/hate kind of deal with its fans, AC IV looks to keep the mandatory, outside-the-Animus time to a measly 20 minutes (divided into five sections) out of the collective hours of gameplay.
For those that just can’t stand having the illusion of being a pirate being shattered by the Abstergo employee’s adventures, then five, four minute sections is all you’ll have to worry about. On the other hand, for those invested in Desmond’s story and what happened to him after Assassin’s Creed III, Ismail promises hours of optional content.
“So for the fans, for the people who want to look for the lore, for the people who want to see what happened to Desmond after Assassin’s Creed III, there’s tons of content in there, and it’s optional. You can exit the Animus anytime you want, start walking around the office building, hear what co-workers are saying, sneaking into different rooms, finding servers and hacking them to get information — We’ve left it completely optional, you can pretty much do it almost anytime.”
It’s also worth noting that there are times where you can’t leave the Animus due to specific missions (probably story-based restrictions). Ismail also mentioned that characters stretching as far back as the first game will make an appearance to tie up loose ends in this post-AC III world.
Whether you’re a lover or a hater of all things non-Animus, let your voice be heard in the comments as to whether or not Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has the right idea in mind in opening up the non-Animus world.