The Assassin's Creed video game series -- beyond its trademark murderous historical fiction -- is known for arriving in annual installments. 2013 is no exception, with French publisher Ubisoft recently revealing Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, a pirate-centric next entry in the long-running franchise. Unlike last year's game, which took players through the American Revolution as a half-British / half-Native American named Connor, AC4: Black Flag puts you in his grandfather's swashbuckling boots as Edward Kenway of The Caribbean. Kenway's the captain of a pirate vessel known as "The Jackdaw," which promises a new twist in the AC series: open-world naval combat. While the last series entry teased naval combat, Black Flag is built around that gameplay; AC4 also borrows from recent Ubisoft highlight Far Cry 3, with Kenway battling sharks below water while diving for booty (a takeoff on the hunting found in that game, as well as in the last AC entry).
Of course, the conceit of the AC series has always been that you're a modern man named Desmond Miles, a member of the ancient Assassin's Guild, and that you're experiencing your assassin lineage through a machine called the "Animus" in order to save the world. This conceit lead Desmond through a variety of eras in previous games, ending with the American Revolution in Assassin's Creed 3. Without spoiling that game's final moments, it's safe to say that Desmond isn't joining the cast in Black Flag; rather, you're simply a modern day Templar (the long-running rivals of the assassins) searching for more secrets about the enemy. Ubisoft reps wouldn't tell us much about how the modern day will play into the new game's story, but did admit that it'll play a major role.Gallery: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag