Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s Present Day Content Will Last Between 20 Minutes and 5 Hours

Major Assassin’s Creed III Spoilers Ahead

Our very own Sebastian Moss already asked Assassin’s Creed IV’s Lead Writer Darby McDevitt about the chances of a modern day Assassin’s Creed title, learning that we shouldn’t expect one anytime soon. However, Black Flag won’t be discarding present day elements, with you (yes, you!) being hired by Abstergo Entertainment.

Game Director Ashraf Ismail spoke to the Ubi Blog, where he revealed just how much time you can expect to spend in present day:

In total, if you were to do everything in the present day – find everything, hack every computer, access every room – it’s a solid three to five hours. For the main path – the stuff you’re required to do – it’s somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. You leave the Animus five times during the game’s main path and each time you’re there for about three to four minutes.

It’s there to progress the story because there’s this meta story that we’re telling. Why are you researching Edward? Why him specifically? What did he do that’s interesting? There is a story that connects everything together. We pretty much tried to boil it down to its most core essence because we know there are people out there who really don’t like the present day, and that’s okay. You don’t have to like it, but it’s part of the brand. For the people who like the present day and are big fans, we put in a lot of fan service and a lot of fun optional content. You get to choose if you want it or not.

When it comes to what you get out of that optional content, Ashraf continued:

You have to hack computers and figure out how to access certain rooms and get through security. There is gameplay in just being able to access that stuff. When you access it, the content you find is a reward for us. Through this content you see what happens to Desmond after Assassin’s Creed III. We used it as an opportunity to say goodbye to Desmond. There’s actually a lot of stuff linked to him that you find.

We also have a lot of fun with the present day stuff. You get to see what Abstergo Entertainment as a company is doing with your research. You get to see the progression of what they’re trying to do, which is really fun. Some of it is just us making fun of the video game industry and being a video game company. We have the Abstergo Entertainment Employee Manual, which is kind of poking fun at our employee manual. There’s a lot of stuff we just had a good time with. It’s really there for people who enjoy it and want to see a bit more of it.

As for familiar characters in Black Flag, Ismail said, “Aside from Aveline… There are awesome cameos. Let’s put it like that.”

Do you think you’ll play through the optional present day content in Black Flag when it releases later this month on PlayStation 3 and in November on PlayStation 4? Let us know in the comments below.