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SDCC 2013: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Press Party

Wednesday 24th July 2013 by Shane O'Hare

The biggest prescence at SDCC this year was undoubtedly Ubisoft Games. They pulled out all the stops this year in promotion of their three newest games. AC:IV Black Flag, Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Their method of promotion was crazy over the top and probably the best thing I have ever done at Comic Con. They hosted a party, on a pirate ship.

Friday night of the convention, I wandered down to the 5th street marina, behind the convention center. When I got there I was shocked to see the setup Ubisoft had (though a few nights before I was informed we already checked it out, but I do not remember!) on the floating museum The Star of India. Custom liveries, an awesome Assassin’s Sail and some 3D projection on the sails. They went ALL out.

I got to the event early, and was waiting for our fellow writer Jake Lopez to arrive. I checked in with the nice gals at the press desk and wandered around. Soon the press line setup in preparation for some AAA+++ level celebs. That is when I ran into an old Con friend, Kristen! It was a HUGE case of small world syndrome. We caught up and she started getting ready to run the press line. When 9:45 came around they started off the festivities, LITERALLY with a bang.

I was less than 100 feet from the cannons and my whole body felt the blasts. As soon as they went off I knew tonight was going to be insane. I contemplated waiting for Jake and Kristen, but the temptation of free booze and food was too much to handle. I jumped on board and was blown away AGAIN! The whole ship was done up with lights and AC4 paraphernalia. On the stern Schick was giving away free straight razor shaves. A pirate told me I needed one but if I lost the beard I’d look like a 12 year old. I grabbed a rum and coke (argh!) and went to the bow. On the way I partook in some next level sammiches. Real talk, this was the best catered food from the entire trip. I put on my best Jack Sparrow swag and hit the Bow. The first game of the night was Just Dance 14. Some Ubi Team members were playing and tearing it apart. The graphics for this game have always impressed me, and the music is always the catchy pop you expect from the radio.

Not physically capable of dancing, I left the bow and went down a level. Below deck was HOT, with all the lights and the people it was only getting hotter. I wandered around, gawking at all the AC4 props and posters. Pirate pictures were being taken at the back, while more game demos were at the front. I got another rum and coke and hit up the games. This was when Jake texted me and said that they weren’t letting anymore people on the ship! Fearing I would have no friends on board and would need to rely on my own social faculties I crushed my rum and grabbed a beer. I went down another level and continued to be blown away. They had a giant projector playing AC4 trailers and a mofuggin DJ! At the bottom level looking up through the hold at the sky, my thoughts that this was going to be a crazy night were just reinforced.

I grabbed a vodka this time from what felt like the eighth bar I passed on the ship and went back upstairs. My journalistic duties had to be met, time to play some games. I went upstairs and posted up behind the Splinter Cell station. That is when I ran into Jake! He informed me of the details of the screw up outside, basically no one was counting how many people were coming on. We both then jumped on the two stations to play. I was playing an introductory level while he played something more into the story. Both were on the 360 and I felt what I was playing was a 99% completed game. The controls were much tighter than previous SC games and the narrative was playing out nicely. Shooting felt fluid and didn’t carry a penalty. There were times when Batman level discretion worked and times where Matrix level shootouts worked. All and all I was very impressed with this iteration.

AC4 SDCC Party (22)
Jake108 Demoing Splintercell

Next up was some AC4 multiplayer, but not after MORE Vodka! We got in line behind some actors who were dressed as Multiplayer characters, playing as themselves. Could that be considered masturbation? At this time I noticed a reoccurring actor. They had a fully decked out Kenway assassin walking around, being filmed. Doing some crowd hiding and various other AC moves. I am pretty sure my confused face will be in the background of some promo footage. At this time it was my turn at the multiplayer. The Ubisoft guy running the station told me the rules, we were playing pistols only and told me the controls. Then I realized that I was up against a couple of celebrities that I did not recognize.  It was time to crush some 1%.

AC4 SDCC Party (21)

Not much has changed since AC3. The same kind of maps and gimmicks  were present. That’s not to say it’s a BAD thing. It was a joy to play. The pistols only mode made for a nice new difficulty twist. You had to present yourself to your target. This gave them the opportunity to guard the shot or flee. This ALSO gave your pursuer a chance to line up his shot on you. There were some cheap moments where I was killed with no real feedback as to what I did wrong, no indication of enemy or kill cam happened a few times. I don’t know if it was all random or just glitches. When it was all said and done I finished third, behind another journalist and an Ubisoft employee. We were playing with PS4 controllers but it was running on a PS4 dev PC. I snapped some pics while they were changing the gametype but they came out awful.

AC4 SDCC Party (24)

After that I got another drink and tried to get in on some Watch Dogs. What I got to watch was the last play of the night unfortunately. The game looked GORGEOUS and it was playing at a smooth as silk frame rate. They had a LAN VOIP setup and a Ubi rep was walking players through the mission. I really wish I was able to get a chance to play, but just as I was ready to sit down they closed it off for the night.

I met back up with Jake as he just finished up a round of AC4. We parted ways from there, he going back to his hotel and I went back to the bar.  The DJ started to kick it into high gear, some great EDM started filling my ear holes. The heat of the ship was getting to me so I jaunted upstairs. Just in time to see a Woman in some VERY high heels lose her shit and fall down the stairs. She caught herself just before disaster. Boat stairs and fashion DO NOT MIX!

Back up top I saw the place was packed. The Hollywood elite were there and I barely recognized any of them. I then ran into Kristen again and her friend whose name escapes me. We were in line to get our final drinks of the night before the bars closed when I felt a tap on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear.

Spring Break

AC4 SDCC Party (35)

The sultry voice poured the motto of our vacation into my brain. I turned around and it was our boy Derek! He made it onto the ship after all! His expression was priceless, his ability to comprehend the moment was gone. I had to bring him back to reality and tell him that yes, we were on a mother fucking pirate ship. We crushed the drinks and hit the dance floor. The four of us doing our best White person dance moves crammed in the bottom of the shipped danced til a few minutes before closing. W e decided to leave it there and head home. As we were leaving I caught Kenway assassinating a sexy pirate girl, though I couldn’t figure out why. There was no way she had ANY hidden blades on her.

Be sure to click on these Vines for some more footy!