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Assassin's Creed 4: Ubisoft talks next gen versions, Abstergo and new combat tactics

This franchise "has a long way to go"

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So for example, during a boarding sequence, where space is limited, you have to use these new ingredients or else you will get mowed down - trying to pick off some enemies using free-aim while your crew members are throwing the hooks, using quick-fire to clear some space on the deck. And of course, we are adding more ingredients that we we will go into detail about later.

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How interactive and distinctive are the Jackdaw's crew - can you customise individual men, or are they handled as a group? Will they ever accompany you on land-based missions, like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's recruits?

They are definitely vital to the experience - a captain cannot sail without a crew - but we can't tell you everything just yet.

What defines Edward Kenway as a character? What makes him stand apart from Ezio, Altair and Connor?

Previous assassins have always been driven by a sense of duty or revenge, or sometimes even both. Edward's motivations are purely selfish: he fights for glory. He has the skills of an Assassin, but he doesn't use them for the Creed. He is, at heart, a pirate. And he's not a "good" pirate like you see in children's tales - he is a criminal with a taste for infamy.

Couple that with the fact that he is trained by the Assassins, and you can see that there is a lot to explore here. How does a criminal, who is only looking out for himself, reconcile these two different philosophies? The clash between these two ideologies within Edward is one of the most exciting things about him.

Many people feel that Far Cry 3 is an Assassin's Creed game in first-person. Have you taken inspiration from that series at all?

We're really proud of the Far Cry team, and we are fans of the game they have created. There are some systems in FC3 that were really well implemented, and we are definitely looking at these to see how they could be adapted for our open world.

You're styling the online modes as a service provided by "Abstergo Entertainment", which feels like a fun satire of the manufacturing and games publishing business, particularly with next generation consoles just round the corner. Can you talk me through how that idea came up, and how far you'll go with it?

Abstergo Entertainment was actually created for Assassin's Creed 3's multiplayer and Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation. When you boot those games, the Abstergo Entertainment logo comes up as part of the boot sequence - those two games are products of Abstergo.

A company as far-reaching as Abstergo would need a public face, of course, so it was natural for us to think of how they could apply the Animus technology and research into a consumer application. The commercialization of an Animus device means enabling people to live experiences that they otherwise wouldn't - you can see it's easy to draw parallels between that and what we are doing ourselves.

And in terms of how far we will go with it? You will have to play the game to find out.

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Assassin's Creed 3 gave us some fun, original DLC ideas - the Tyranny of King Washington is a welcome change of tone. Will you do something similar for Black Flag?

We really like what the Quebec team has achieved with the AC3 DLC - it gives a whole new meaning to "history is our playground". As far as our own DLC goes, it's a bit too early to talk about that.

Have you had to upgrade the Anvil Engine much for Black Flag?

Of course. AnvilNext is an extremely powerful and versatile engine, so we were definitely grateful to be able to use it as a starting point. The new setting and the structure of our open world come with their own set of requirements that we had to build into AnvilNext. For example, in AC3 the naval and land gameplay were completely separate - almost like two different games put together. You load from one into the other as you select the naval missions.

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