The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (book review)

Assassin's Creed IV art book cover

For fans of the Assassin’s Creed series, Titan Books has released The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag art book. It’s a very extensive concept design art book (192 pages) that covers everything Assassin’s Creed IV like characters, outfits, locations and themes (check out our review for the Assassin’s Creed III art book). Also note that the book does contain some spoilers, but I don’t think these spoilers would ruin the enjoyment of the game.

In Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, the game takes place during the Golden Age of Piracy. That was the time of many infamous pirates like Blackbeard and Charles Vane, and the locations took place in Caribbean islands like Cuba and The Bahamas. The book covers concepts of what life was like as a pirate during that time.

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The first thing the book covers is the newly built Abstergo Entertainment HQ building. It’s a blend of high-tech imagery and themes from the Golden Age of Piracy. The building looks sleek, yet it is also inspired by ship designs like the ropes holding the sails and also inspired by the Caribbean (the offices are filled with plants and aquariums).

The book then covers the many characters in the game including our main hero Edward Kenway, Blackbeard (Edward Tatch), Benjamin Hornigold, Calico Jack, Charles Vane, Anne Bonny and more. The artist went for a more realistic approach to designing for the historical pirates, while they were given more leeway when designing the pirate look for the multiplayer characters. I want to mention that Calico Jack’s look definitely inspired the look of Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.

When designing Edward Kenway, the artist had freedom to mess around with the traditional Assassin wardrobe and mixing it with the look of a pirate. The final result is a nice mashup that includes the iconic Assassin hood and the traditional pirate look with boots and pants.

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The locations included areas all over the Caribbean islands. One of the major cities in the game is Havana, Cuba. With Havana, we get a dense city, and the artist actually traveled there for research. It’s also mentioned that there are plenty of buildings that still represents Old Havana, so recreating the city in the game was easier.

The other city covered is the pirate haven of Nassau (located in the Bahamas). It was there that the pirate captains used the terrain to trap ships, and it’s a place for pirates to drink rum and have fun with wenches. One of the artwork shows a pirate enjoying the life as he’s drinking and being entertained by a young barmaid.

The book also has art covering ship battles, underwater treasure hunting, the many sea creatures you can hunt, and of course, the weapons of that era. There’s even a section for the different ships belonging to the different pirates.

If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series or are a fan of art and concept art, be sure to check out this book at Amazon or the Titan Books site.

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