10 years ago, Ubisoft launched Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, an open-world pirate-themed RPG that set the stage for the modern iteration of the long-running series by revitalizing its open-world exploration and adding remarkable naval combat. And in that time, millions of people have played the game.
Read More: Assassin’s Creed IV Is Still Great
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Ubisoft took to X (formerly Twitter, or whatever Elon Musk will change the social media’s name to in the middle of the night) on October 29 to announce that over 34 million people have played Black Flag since its 2013 launch.
That’s a staggering number of players for any game, especially one that’s a decade old. But Black Flag has aged better than most. It puts you in the boots of the Welsh pirate-turned-assassin Edward Kenway as he explores early 17th-century Caribbean seas to unravel an ancient mystery.
While its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed III, gave you a ship to command, Black Flag expanded on the vessel’s limited use, with thrilling sea battles that allowed you to dodge cannon fire and board ships to sink them in the deep blue. It also improved on some of Assassin’s Creed III’s failings, such as allowing you to freely enter and exit your ship without waiting for a loading screen, while putting less of an emphasis on the modern-day storytelling so you can just stab people to your heart’s content. This was the first game in the series to explore piracy, which Ubisoft brought back and refined in 2020’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which featured robust ship sailing and village pillaging mechanics.
In fact, it’s the ship steering that made Black Flag so revered. As former Kotaku staffer Luke Plunkett wrote in December 2017, this Assassin’s Creed game is great because of “how beautiful it was to simply sail over a calm sea at midnight,” and he ain’t wrong. Black Flag truly blew the door wide open on our expectations of what Assassin’s Creed could be thanks, in part, to the Jackdaw. Ubisoft’s worlds are typically huge, but Black Flag’s rendition of the Caribbean felt exceptionally massive with its connected waterways only traversable by sea. And the vastness of the ocean gave the game an eerie sense of isolation and intrigue, as you never knew what lurked in the distance in front of or below you. Ubisoft’s bloated design ethos may have fallen out of fashion, but Black Flag felt like lighting in a bottle.
Lots of folks reflected fondly on Black Flag to mark the occasion, many of them sharing their memories of the game in Ubisoft’s mentions. Black Flag ranks among the best Assassin’s Creed game to this day, and it nearly made the top of Kotaku’s very own ranked list.
Read More: Sources: Assassin’s Creed Publisher Remaking Black Flag, The Pirate One
While most folks were getting misty-eyed about Black Flag, a few were hoping Ubisoft would either drop a current-gen patch for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, or just straight-up remaster the game. Kotaku reported earlier this year that a Black Flag remake is in the works, but Ubisoft still hasn’t officially confirmed it. Let’s just hope it isn’t stuck in Davy Jones’ Locker the same way the still-MIA RPG Skull and Bones has been.