The main character's name is Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Connor Kenway, antagonist and protagonist, respectively, of Assassin's Creed III. Edward is an Assassin who also dabbles as a Privateer (read: Pirate). He is described as a brash, charismatic, reckless, cocky genius of a pirate. He has been deemed a pirate first and foremost, while being an assassin's is most definitely a secondary characteristic. With the addition of free aiming, Edward can carry up to four guns and use them in one go. Cutlasses, daggers, swords, and all of the other weapons of the time will be available, but the rest of his armory can be upgraded to have these four pistols at his disposal for chaining attacks.
The game will ship on multiple consoles across generations, though the PlayStation 3 version will include "60 minutes of exclusive gameplay."
On March 4th, 2013, it was revealed that the game would primarily take place in the 18th century in locations across the Caribbean, including Haiti, Jamaica, the coast of Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Nassau. The year is 1715, piracy in Black Flag is being serious, eschewing the comedic tropes many associate with the era in favor of a more realistic take on pirates--the kind that murder and pillage. The pirates in the game will be based in reality, featuring the famous Black Beard. Other pirates named include Charles Vane, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny, Ben Hornigold, and Ubisoft's take on the famous Jack Sparrow. A focus upon real-world occurrences, just as in Assassin's Creed III will be a primary motivation for the narrative - including Bartholomew Roberts' assault on 42 Portuguese ships, the marooning of Charles Vane, and the Spanish Armada shipwreck. Ubisoft has described the game as an open-world naval experience with seamless boarding, tropical storms, harpooning (for whales), and underwater gameplay (shipwrecks - with enemies including sharks). The open world will certainly remain dynamic, as some help has been provided by the team that worked on Far Cry 3's open world design. Aiding in the way that the world's systems interact, storms will be random, forcing Edward into fight or flight scenarios. Since almost half the game will take place on the open waters, Ubisoft is making sure these elements are kept interesting and fun.
Approximately 40% of the game will occur across the sea, as the other 60% will remain on land - with "50 unique locations" including fisherman villages, jungles, temples, plantations, forts, complete islands, and Mayan ruins. Each of the areas serves an entirely different purpose to gameplay. For example, the Mayan ruins will be based around puzzle solving and platforming, while the Coconut Islands will be inhabited by enemies to fight. The three largest cities, however, are Naussau (the pirate haven), Kingston (a lively, dangerous town), and Havana (the capital of Cuba). A large part of the upgrading and customization will be through Kenway's ship - the Jackdraw. Even the crew will be an important, upgradable asset to Edward, though their exact role hasn't been explained. A spyglass will be used to spot distant ships and islands. Metroidvania concepts will be implemented for the sea exploration, as access to certain areas will be blocked off at the start of the campaign. There will be present day gameplay, as Ubisoft has only divulged in the fact that you will be playing as yourself as an employee of Abstergo Industries rather than as Desmond Miles like in previous games, but other known characters of the franchise will return. Templars will most certainly be returning as the main adversary of the campaign, though the other main enemies will be a collective of rival pirates. Buildings will most certainly be taller than in Assassin's Creed III, as a more standard focus on stealth will be implemented.
Development began in the summer of 2011 by an entirely new team, as the game was being penned by the scriptwriter of Assassin's Creed: Revelations. No campaign co-op will be featured, as something very similar to the brotherhood of assassins will return. Open-ended assassinations, akin to Assassin's Creed will be making a welcome return. Multiplayer has not been detailed as of yet, but it will most certainly be making a return as well.