Forget Desmond — The Main Character of Assassin’s Creed 4 is You

Warning! This post contains spoilers for the plot of Assassin’s Creed 3. Read on at your own risk.

Last year, Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed 3 and in so doing, apparently wrapped up the story of Desmond Miles, the game’s present day protagonist.

Fans of the series have been left to wonder: Who’s the new character strapped into the Animus for the series to continue? The question was made all the more confusing by the fact that the period protagonist of Assassn’s Creed IV: Black Flag has been identified as Edward Kenway, the father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Ratonhnhak√©:ton of Assassin’s Creed 3. That puts Assassin’s Creed 4′s protagonist in the same ancestral lineage as Desmond, suggesting that the new protagonist must be related to Desmond, if not Desmond himself.

At PAX East this week, Game Front’s Ron Whitaker was treated to a chance to check out Assassin’s Creed 4 in action and got an answer to that question. There, Ubisoft confirmed that Desmond Miles is not the present-day protagonist of AC4, and in fact, the new protagonist is none other than you, the player.

While Ubisoft developers were a bit cagey with the details, it seems that AC4′s present day portions will present the player as a character in the story, employed by the Animus-creating Templar-controlled Abstergo Industries. Assassin’s Creed 4 Lead Writer Darby McDevitt described the idea as “removing a layer between you and Edward Kenway.”

If you’re not familiar, the Assassin’s Creed series includes a framing story in which present day character Desmond is strapped into a machine called the Animus, which allows him to relive memories of his ancestors through his DNA.

While we have a new answer as to the present-day protagonist of Assassin’s Creed 4, that still leaves questions. For one, is the game instilling us with more details of what character “we” are playing? As mentioned, Edward Kenway’s involvement suggests a direct familial link between Desmond and the AC4 protagonist. It’ll be interesting to see what other details Ubisoft adds to the framing story, as well as what role the player protagonist is going to have in the overall story of the Assassins and Templars.

McDevitt and Ubisoft refused to comment on the involvement of character Haytham Kenway in Assassin’s Creed 4. Haytham a primary character (and antagonist) in Assassin’s Creed 3, as well as a fan-favorite addition to the series. Since Edward is Haytham’s father, there’s been some speculation at Game Front that Assassi’s Creed 4 may really be about Haytham, since he’s a character who left the Assassins and joined their arch-nemeses, the Templars. Hopefully we’ll have more information on the Haytham front in the future, but for now, Ubisoft isn’t talking about him.

Stick with Game Front through the weekend, as we’ll continue to bring you a ton of coverage from PAX East in Boston. You can find all of our PAX East coverage right here.

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22 Comments on Forget Desmond — The Main Character of Assassin’s Creed 4 is You

Freedonadd

On March 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I get a silent-faceless character vibe from this, with lots of blank space for us to fill. I call lazy design…

Zach

On March 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Soooo…is there going to be character customization or is it going to be as Freedonadd said?

R.J.

On March 23, 2013 at 1:42 am

Liberation did something that seems similar, in that the present day character was supposed to be the player going through Aveline’s story as a game released by Abstergo. But that game also had zero gameplay outside the Animus, so I don’t know what they plan to do here.

Alex Boston

On April 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

I feel as though hathym joined the Templars because he saw how unorganised pirates were and that his father was a pirate and a assassin and as a result joined the Templars, he may also want his revenge for something and then my mind starts mapping out so many plot directions, hathym may even kill his father in the end. I also am excited to discover we will be more closely related with abstergo although we are a buyer of their products apparently as I honestly favour the Templars in the fight between the two factions as I have a more imperialistic view on how everything should be and the Templars fit in with what I believe and to be honest I’m more of the guy in suit than the free-running hoody guy. I wish I could list all of the possible plot directions I’m thinking of and as a result one will be correct but I can’t be arsed to do so.

MyBeautifulRevolution

On May 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm

What I really want to know, is what is happening outside of the animus? They left us off in 3 at a very nervous point. Like WAIT, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? sort of point. (Yes caps needed). What’s going on with Juno and Minerva? The team of Desmond’s dad, Shaun, and Rebecca? I really want to know what life on the outside is like and what it is becoming, like the war and whatever Juno is up too. It needs to be explained otherwise I might go nuts because I hate when someone tells this great big thing or secret and then cuts it off laving it unexplained. It’s you story and a giant part, I don’t want to imagine what happened, I want to know…. otherwise I would be the writer so that I can imagine what comes next.

Of course the character is important and I feel that yes it is kind of lazy to be giving us a no faced character. But they’ll have to give us a name right? Or do we pick that? All together it’s just me, but I would feel much happier as being a specific character who you build on their story because it much more interesting. We know who we are, we want to learn who the character is! Plus will just be awkward for the fans who obsess over the main character because it will be them and that’s no fair because then there is no one to be obsess over, (friends input).

Sorry for the rant :)

Joee

On May 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Never liked desmomd or the modern day stuff. It never went anywhere and just got convoluted by cliffhangers, portal island comas, and precursers. Desmond was only in 10-45 minutes of each game and didnt really impact his ancesers storys till the end (like connor or ezio leaving a piece of eden in some grave in the last cutscens) They need to end the juno story line quickly, shes a terrible villain who makes no sence and her appearences caused two of the worst endings in videogame history (acb and ac3) Desmond is terrably bland and Shawn and the other assassins are unlikable. The writing and dialog is forced and terrible

I hate to critise ac’s story too much since i loved all five ac games and Connor, Ezio and Altairs storys but this modern stuff has gone on for too long and it never got intersting.
And also sorry for the rant

alex calderon

On June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm

if desmond miles left then subject 18 is ourselfs!? but how, like do we customize our character or is there no persons and you are just looking at what your character sees or do you never get out of the animus? i have so many questions.

Eldgrim

On June 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

I personally -hated- the Future stuff they tacked into the games, I found the Desmond portions of the Assassin’s Creed games almost annoying and left me wishing to get back to the era the game was set in.

Why not just tell the story of an assassin in a specific time period -without- that future BS ?

Though I might come out as unecessearily crass/negative, I love the Assassin’s Creed series as a whole

Brandon

On July 1, 2013 at 6:22 am

So you consider yourself more as a Templar ? Are you completely oblivious to who the Templars are and why you are trying to stop them I’m the first place ? That was the most moronic thing I’ve heard about this game . The Templars are based on actual fact. And these people control everything about your life . The game is full of REAL LIFE symbolism . And your talking about how you consider yourself more as a bad guy who would rather control the world and enslave it, then save it . You sir deserve the illuminati , and their equivalent fate .

Adam-h-g-gf

On July 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Well then if the main character is the player then you have to be related with Desmond, you have to be like his brother or his cousin or something like that

nolan

On July 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

His dad is related to him (Desmond) but then you aren’t the character. idk where they are going with this but i want to know now.

Dvdson66

On August 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

first things first too Alex Boston no Hatham Dose not kill his father (Edward) he Died when Hatham was about 8/9 Yrs old in an attack on there house & Hatham be comes a Templar Because Reginald Birch (the Guy u speak to in the opera house in the 1st mission in the game ac3) adopts him and raises him into the Templar order
the only way I know this is cause I red the book Assassins Creed Forsaken

Badass

On October 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

what about the DDS? we aren’t just on the animus here

Lord Tsung

On October 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

This is wierd since Desmond died

Darragh

On October 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Brandon have you never played the first game? The Templars want peace and happiness and prosperity too but they believe it can’t be obtained if people have free will so they intend to take that from humanity. Later they’re considered bad people who want to enslave humanity. I personally agree that peace can be obtained from order but i like my free will

Nobody/Everybody

On November 1, 2013 at 4:17 am

I personally liked Desmond and knowing that “Oh, it’s optional, and YOU are the character” is a slap to the face, and a big “ YOU, BUDDY” to actual Desmond fans.

I still hold a theory that in some way, shape, or form that Desmond is still alive. I mean.

Now that Assassin’s Creed 4 is out, Rebecca and Shaun are in it. And when you meet them, they’re overly friendly and familiar to you. So, I dunno.

Phil Hornshaw

On November 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

@Nobody/Everyboody

I’m still working through the game for my review, but I’m wondering if we might run across Desmond Subject 16-style — still alive in the Animus, if nowhere else.

Edward

On November 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I bought the lie iv ac and you leave the animus and is another person who does not show his face …

TheS

On December 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Desmond died.

Kurt

On December 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

The Desmond/Abstergo crap was boring and pointless from the start, and should have simply been left out. This series would have been much better if they had made it simply as historical action/adventure games and left out all the pointless Dan Brown templar rubbish.