Though Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is all about the pirate life, the multiplayer won't be featuring any of the cool naval battles that Ubisoft hasbeen showing off for the single player. According to the developers, the naval battles have been left out due to technical reasons.
"You have to take into consideration that it took a very big dedicated team in Singapore about two-and-a-half years to do it for the solo [play],” lead multiplayer game designer Tim Browne said.
"In Black Flag it’s even better, but for solo. We’ve looked at it and we’ve considered it. We seriously considered it. We think it would be cool, but at the same time we tried it, and for technical reasons it’s impossible."
"One of the big added values of the naval battles in single-player is how they simulate the ocean," stated Director Damien Kieken. "The ocean is really a toy. You have big waves, waves that stop your cannon balls: you have to play with the ocean. If you want that to be good in multiplayer, it means we have to perfectly replicate the ocean."
Considering that this is a feat that the development team would have to get working across two generations worth of consoles, it was a little bit of an issue. Plus, Brown explained that naval battles also didn't fit into the theme of team-based or free-for-all assassinations that the multiplayer was all about. "We looked at the DNA of multiplayer, and we thought that ship battles aren’t really being the cool assassin. With multiplayer it’s all about you working either as a team of four players or in free-for-all, where you want to be the best player. It’s not so much about piloting a ship and using cannons to destroy the opponent’s ship."
In any case, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will be coming to Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, and PC later this year and sometime down the line for Xbox One and PS4.