In somewhat startling news today, it has been confirmed that some single player content in the just-released Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag from Ubisoft requires a dubious online pass, which comes with the game when purchased new. The use of an online pass is nothing new, however this news still comes as a surprise not only because most publishers have shied away from the process in the past year, but because this is the first time in recent memory that an online pass isn’t used to lock out multiplayer content, but single player content instead.
Assassin’s Creed IV puts you in the pirate boots of Edward Kenway, and while sailing the high seas, players are given the opportunity to engage in thrilling maritime battles which can either result in the destruction of the enemy ship, or a pirate boarding. One of the functions advertised was the ability to then add the ship you’ve boarded to your fleet, and control it via micro-management, sending it on specific quests and errands, much like players have done since Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood with fledgling assassin recruits. It is this ability to add to your fleet that is locked by the online pass, which seems like an oddly small sample of the game to be locked, and makes it all the more puzzling that this decision was made.
The use of an online pass would also seemingly require players to have an active online connection, even while playing solo, as the game is going to have to verify you have an active pass while playing. It represents a scary possible future for the next generation of gaming, but luckily, one that doesn’t appear likely, as earlier today, Sony confirmed via a Q&A that first party titles will not be utilizing online passes, and they do not expect many third party publishers to do so either.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is out now on PC, Xbox 360, Wii U and PS3, and is scheduled to be released for PS4 and Xbox One when those consoles launch next month. Keep it tuned for Free4Geeks as we continue to follow this story.