Interview With Jean Guesdon, Creative Director on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Written by on August 2, 2013 in [, ]

One of the biggest yearly franchises from any game studio is, without a doubt, Assassin’s Creed. With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on the horizon, we decided to sit down with Jean Guesdon, creative director for the game, to ask him about some of the thought processes and story elements being introduced to the franchise. After this interview, I’m much more excited for the prospect of a new title in this huge series.

The Married Gamers - Obviously, by the end of Assassin’s Creed III, the Desmond storyline has taken a fairly dramatic turn. Will we still be seeing the modern world in Black Flag to some degree and if so, how has the world changed after the end of Assassin’s Creed III?

Jean Guesdon - Not only AC4BF will be featuring a Present day section but it will be the sequel of AC3’s one. This time though players won’t have to impersonate Desmond Miles in order to enter the Animus. In AC4 players will be the present day heroes themselves.


TMG - Following the conclusion of Assassin’s Creed III, where we saw an end to Desmonds story, was there ever any talk about concluding the saga right there or was it always planned to keep the plot going?

JG - From the moment we’ve started to develop this vast and cohesive universe of Assassin’s Creed we knew that Desmond Miles was ONE DOOR to it but it has never been considered as the only one. Desmond was and will remain a very important character in the AC lore but reducing Assassin’s Creed’s multi-millennium narrative to him is false. History is our playground and thanks to the Animus we can enter, explore and dig any time period that would suit our needs.

TMG - Will Assassin’s Creed IV feature more of the traditional building to building parkour, or will Black Flag concentrate more on the tree to tree traversal found in Assassin’s Creed III?

JG - In Black Flag we made sure to carefully design the game so it uses at their best features and systems that have proven to be fun in the previous installments as long as it was fitting the setting. The Free-run, which is at the core of the AC experience, will be used in many different types of location. From Havana, Cuba which is the most European-like city featuring more traditional rooftops to the nice integration between sloped roofs and vegetation in Kingston, Jamaica players will be able to climb and run on very well crafted playgrounds always providing a very fluid navigation.


TMG - What changes can we expect to see in the multi-player?

JG - This year the Multiplayer, like the Singleplayer, wants to make players participate even more in our universe. To do so it will offer the GameLab which is tool given to players that they can use to craft and create their own set of rules. Playing with dozens of now exposed-to-the-players variables you will be able to build your own mode and invite your friends to compete.

Obviously the Multiplayer will also come with new maps, new characters and tons of new customization assets.

TMG - Why was the choice made to explore a whole new character with Assassin’s Creed IV instead of continuing the story of Conner?

JG - Back in 2011, during the production of AC3, we realized that we had all what was needed to deliver the true, life size pirate game that everybody is awaiting for years. We knew how to create urban locations, natural locations (AC3’s frontier) and naval warfare (AC3’s naval missions). So we started to do our traditional historical research to find the perfect setting for an Assassin/Pirate game. And we realized that the setting with the most potential was set 70 years prior to the events of AC3. And because it’s always the setting that dictates the choice of narrative and characters we had to abandon Connor. Thing is, we all loved the “Ezio trilogy” and we realized that the main character of Black Flag had the potential to be Haytham Kenway’s father and Connor’s grandfather. This is the reason why we made sure to link the two narrative in what we internally call the “Kenway family saga.”


TMG - Once again, Sony is getting exclusive DLC in the form of a new story for Aveline from Assassin’s Creed Liberation. What will this downloadable story entail? Where will it take place in her storyline?

JG - The Sony exclusive content about Aveline will tell a portion of her adventures set after Liberation. More will be revealed later!

TMG - One of the most well received aspects of Assassin’s Creed III was the naval combat situations. Why did the team decide to focus so heavily on these in the Black Flag?

JG - As previously explained we soon enough realized the incredible potential of this new tech and decided to jump in to use it at its maximum. That being said even if the naval takes a more central part of Black Flag than it was used in AC3 the ground part of the game remain extremely important for the overall experience.

TMG - How will the piracy aspect of Black Flag play in terms of game play? Will we be able to jump into our ship and go out to attack any ships we want or will those sorts of things be confined to missions?

JG - When researching about the era and piracy in general we realized that piracy not only takes place at sea but also on ground. And this is why we made sure to make the naval experience central but not exclusive. With the Jackdaw, your own ship, you’ll be able to sail the entire Caribbean sea from Bahamas to the coasts of Yucatan. While doing so you’ll be able to attack any single ship you will encounter in order to get some cargo and goods. But like said before, ships won’t be the only available targets. You’ll be able to attack forts protecting areas, at first from the sea and your ship but then on ground to finish the attack. And this loop will be totally seamless, without any loading. Black Flag is ONE game that unifies ground and naval like never before. It’s not one ground game stitched to one naval game. It’s a true, consistent and unified pirate game.


TMG - Assassin’s Creed III had some extremely interesting concepts in the Tyranny of King George DLC saga. Are there any plans to do an alternate universe DLC again, or will we see more traditional add-ons for the game post-launch?

JG - Add-on DLCs are perfect to try things and the Tyranny of King George did really well in that regard. Let’s wait and see what the future will bring us.


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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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