This is what they showed at Gamescom for Assassin’s Creed 4: naval forts and soggy murder

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Did you know? This isn’t Ubisoft’s first shot at a Pirates of the Caribbean game. No: that would be 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Akella’s licensed game backgrounded its moonlight skeletons and instead aspired to be a lot like the new Assassin’s Creed game, actually – minus the decade of finely-tuned killing tools, seamless land-sea meandering and seven extra studios to help out on development.

It didn’t exactly work out – but this clip from last week’s Gamescom suggests that, with everything going for it, Black Flag might.

The homogenisation of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry continues here, but in a positive sense: like Far Cry 3’s ground-based garrisons, Black Flag’s naval forts are a series of player-driven missions waiting to happen, dotted about the game’s huge map.

The oceans are divided up into zones – each protected by their own fort. From the sounds of it, the difficulty of these encounters will define our early movements in the game, restricting travel to less jealously-guarded seas. Eventually, though, they’ll have to be conquered.

From the relative safety of his malleable and maneuverable ship, the Jackdaw, Edward ‘More Fun than his Grandson’ Kenway uses his binoculars – sorry – spyglass to mark out targets, before seeing to a fort’s towers with an on-ship mortar. This time, an enemy brig complicates business somewhat – Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail assures us that the game’s sandbox systems will ensure a huge number of similar variables during fort fights.

“In this case, we chose to attack while there is a brig nearby,” he says. “This could have easily happened at night, or during a hurricane storm with a water spout and 30-foot waves. There could have been a bigger military presence. There is a lot of variety and a lot of different experiences you can have in the naval.”

Altogether now! In the naval…

Once Kenway has reduced the fort’s facade to rubble, he personally jumps overboard to catch up with its ward – exploiting the gamut of traditional AC techniques to relinquish the poor man of his command and lungs.

And that’s it! Apart from some ambitious reworking of the pirates-as-outlaws myth at the beginning there. Forget Black Flag: perhaps this should’ve been titled Citizen Kenway?