A new installment of blockbuster "Assassin's Creed" videogame launched on Tuesday, putting players in the boots of a bold pirate and tapping into mobile devices to expand play.
"Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag" is set in the "gritty and exotic" Golden Age of Pirates with a main character who is a descendant in a line of assassins given starring roles as sequels in the popular franchise shift from one generation to the next.
Assassin's protagonists have included a Renaissance Italian; a 12th-Century Syrian, and a Native American during the colonial period here.
Versions of "Black Flag" were available for play on the latest generation consoles available from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
Games have also been tailored for Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One consoles and will be released when that hardware becomes available in November.
"Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major empires comes to an end," Ubisoft said.
"Edward is a fierce pirate and a seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars."
The game is set at the start of the 18th Century and features infamous figures from pirate lore such as Black Beard and Charles Vane.
Kenway's ship, the Jackdaw, gets ammunition and upgrades by plundering and pillaging in the Caribbean.
Ubisoft has been working to blend console game play in its titles with online social networks and Internet-linked mobile devices.
That trend continues with "Black Flag," which has companion applications that let players use tablet computers for actions such as dispatching ships on missions, scrutinizing treasure maps, and tracking progress.
Initially launched in 2007, the first five Assassin's Creed games sold more than 57 million units worldwide to rank among top-selling videogame lines.
The Assassin's Creed franchise has grown to include novels, comic books, mobile games, and short films. Ubisoft said that a feature-length film is in the works .
"Assassin's Creed" was the first game to immerse players in a believable and mature experience inspired by historical events, according to Ubisoft videogame producer Sebastien Puel.
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