Crafting the Caribbean

by Timothy Morrissey

The video game: a modern craze with the ultimate immersion of the audience in a sphere of entertainment. Through it, technology has transformed the way one interacts with a story and space. While video games of older generations tended to stick purely to entertainment and kept children busy for a quarter only, modern video games, into which developers pour millions of dollars, have become platforms in which stories are written and modern literature is built. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is one of these games. As part of a franchise that follows the conflict between the Assassins and the Templars, each game is set in a different location around the globe. The AC franchise is known for its unique historical world maps that bring the modern audience into the past through the Animus system, a fictional technology that uses genetics for historical simulation. However, in embodying a historical setting within each game and thus within a piece of pop culture, Ubisoft is often criticized for its inaccuracies.

ACIV, however, is the first of the franchise to acknowledge that it is a historical world built for entertainment, not for accuracy. By including the fictional frame story of Abstergo Entertainment, a company working to produce Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Ubisoft, the real world developer of the game, not only dabbles in a form of meta game-design but also tries to rid itself of fault for historical inaccuracy. With the previous games in the franchise lacked this Abstergo frame, Ubisoft had to bear all the criticism for inaccurate representations of the past. In ACIV, the criticism is directed towards the fictional scapegoat Abstergo, which also happens to be the shell company of the Templar Order, the villains of the game. And there are many scenes in the Abstergo frame story that reflect this fact. In building the game, Abstergo employees admit to making it more family friendly, removing gore and adding drama, and inserting anachronistic buildings and monuments to make world maps more interesting.

But while Ubisoft attempts to redirect criticism through Abstergo, it cannot escape the blame for things which it does not know it causes. Abstergo may admit to small anachronisms and the like, but larger and more unconscious trends that appear throughout the game reflect back on Ubisoft and by extension on the modern perception of the 18th century. In dissecting these trends, concerning race, gender, geography, imperialism and much more, light is shed on the divisions between what has persisted time from the 18th century and what is a modern invention.

Before delving into how the makeup of the game traces back to 18th century Colonial or modern influences, it should first be understood that the premise of creating such a game itself is a colonial move on the part of Ubisoft. As is the role of most companies, Ubisoft’s primary focus of creating ACIV was not for artistic, historical, or even entertainment purposes, but rather for profit. From an economic standpoint, Ubisoft, in the general group of video game consumers, saw a demand for historical immersion. It is the same consumer group targeted by such games as Red Dead Redemption set in the American West, the war history games of the Call of Duty franchise as well as the immensely popular Civilization games. And such a consumer group has existed from the earliest points in Video game history with the release of The Oregon Trail. But ACIV’s placement in the Caribbean at such a time puts it in a long lineage of Western profiteering on such a setting. This lineage, shared by The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and 18th-century accounts of the setting such as Robinson Crusoe and Woodes’ Rodgers A Cruising Voyage Round the World, suggests that ACIV is a colonial product from the start. The actual makeup of this game only suggests further ACIV’s colonialism is true.

In ACIV, the world map and the interactions the player has with the world map, reflect on a theme of anti-conquest, placing the player in the position of a seeing man, moving through a virtual world with imperial eyes. The creation of the world map is a feature that separates the literature of many video games from that of other literary platforms, even from other video games which limit the player’s freedom to the main storyline. The expanse of a virtual three-dimensional world allows the player to imagine their self in control of their situation. Where an 18th-century audience read travel narratives to learn about the world, the 21st-century player creates the travel narrative. All games in the AC franchise portray the player as a tourist in the world map. Even if the main character of the AC game is native to the world map, as Ezio is to Florence in ASCII, the player is a foreigner if not to the setting then to the time. AC, then, sets up a system that appears in all its games by which the player can come to know the world map and all it has to offer. At the beginning of AC games, 2D maps of the 3D space begin blank or blurred and fill up or un-blur as the player explores. Places of high altitudes become lookout points by which a player can come to know large swathes of the map within seconds. Places of importance (buildings, monuments, locations and, in ACIV, famous ships), important people (both characters to the story and parts of the general population that inhabits the world map), pieces of the ecosystem (animals and plants), and artifacts relevant to the map (documents, art, music) all become noted, logged, and described as the player comes upon them, to be read later in a database if the player wishes to learn more about what occurs in the game. This travel log style of gameplay is not unique to ACIV.

What stands out, however, is that ACIV pairs this travelogue style of gameplay not only with an imperial Caribbean storyline but with an anti-conquering storyline at that. In writing her introduction to Imperial Eyes, Mary Louise Pratt defines anti-conquest to be “the strategies of representation whereby European bourgeois subjects seek to secure their innocence in the same moment as they assert European hegemony” (Pratt 8-9). While Pratt was merely discussing the means by which Europeans would enter a foreign space under the guise of innocence, the term Anti-Conquest here should not be understood in this manner as Ubisoft is not actively entering a physical space. What the company does do, however, is claim their innocence through an active anti-imperialist sentiment while simultaneously unconsciously pushing an imperial and colonial product.

And ACIV’s storyline and map epitomize this. In constructing a pirate narrative, Ubisoft constructs a seemingly anti-imperialist narrative. Much like ACIII, set in the American Revolution, before it and AC Unity, set in the French revolution, after, ACIV builds its storyline around a battle against a more established power. Throughout the game, the player seizes Spanish and English ships, hunts down Royal Convoys, disrupts the slave trade, raids plantations, and takes over Imperial forts. In dialogue, both Templars and Assassin’s express their anti-imperialist views. The Templar head Torres, at a meeting of the order, states that he is “in such Continental company. England, France, Spain… citizens of such sad and corrupted empires” (ACIV). Later Woodes Rodgers, also portrayed as a Templar, remarks that he will “return a governor. And with (his) idiot king’s blessing no less” (ACIV). Benjamin Hornigold similarly bashes the king in his summation of the Pirate Republic on Nassau: “Robbing the king to pay his paupers is how we earn our keen here, Lad” (ACIV). All this is part of Ubisoft’s effort to rid the game of an imperialist sentiment that the modern audience would place in the same circle of hell as Columbus day and the Keystone pipeline.

But in the midst of all this, ACIV simultaneously and unconsciously participate in an imperial agenda. While the pirate storyline might lead the player to sabotage the mercantile economies of the imperial empires, the player also has the ability to participate in such a mercantile economy on the side, using captured imperial ships to trade seized rum, tobacco, and sugar around the globe to make a quick buck. On top of this, the player is rewarded for this global trade with artifacts from each region to which he/she trades. These artifacts, Mesoamerican figurines, African masks, European paintings, and other items that represent imperial trade are later displayed like a global and Orientalized curio in the player’s tropical homestead mansion. Where the pirates fight imperialist powers, they simultaneously establish their own empire. Spanish and British forts become Pirate forts and the European trade routes become Pirate trade routes.

The 2D map as well speaks to an imperialist subconscious. The map is divided into eleven subsections each protected by an imperial fort: Eleuthera (E), Gibara (E), Dry Torgtuga (E), Conttoyor (M), Castillo de Jagua (M), Navassa (M), Punto Guarico (M), Cruz (M), Chinchorro (H), Serranilla (H), and Charlotte (H). Of these eleven subsections, three are labeled easy difficulty (E), with easy to capture ships, easy forts, low risk of failure, but low profit from pirating. Five are labeled medium (M), and the other three are labeled hard (H), where man-o-wars run rampant and seizing a fort involves navigating a Caribbean storm, fit with water tornadoes, while simultaneously taking out heavy stone towers with a single frigate. What is interesting about these locations is that those of less difficulty is in the northeast, geographically closer to Europe and to the empires, while those of harder difficulty is all in the southwest of the Caribbean, distant and mysterious, fit with multiple Mayan ruins, some of which are fictionally placed and all of which are an exaggerated version of what exists in reality, and the location of the game’s ultimate prize, the Observatory. The creation of the fictional Mayan islands of Misteriosa, whose name itself is Spanish for “mysterious,” and Pinos Isle, a fog-enshrouded island fit with a Mayan pyramid, both of which are inserted into the south-west Caribbean, is not merely one of Abstergo’s tricks to make the world map more interesting. Like many of the map’s traits, it traces back to Ubisoft and to a very historical view of the Caribbean in which, by going farther and farther away from the European continent and thus away from the known and safe, the western man enters the dangerous and the mysterious. When progressing into these unknowns, it is through the knowledge that these settings are knowable, containable, and soon conquerable. By progressing through the game then, the player mimics a colonial European take over of the Caribbean through knowledge and conquest, moving farther away from home and establishing his/her own hegemony over the landscape.

All of this paints ACIV in the same light that Pratt painted the 18th-century Anti-conquest Europeans, some of whom convinced themselves that they were not Colonial, while simultaneously and unconsciously being so. In playing ACIV, then, the player becomes Pratt’s seeing man, “the main protagonist of this anti-conquest” or “he whose imperial eyes passively look out and possess” (Pratt 9). How are the aforementioned features of the AC franchise, the travel log style of gameplay and emphasis of sight as knowledge to be understood in this greater context of anti-conquest if not as a continuation of a long tradition of that anti-conquest stemming back from the 18th century?

Somewhere about halfway through the game’s storyline, Edward Kenway meets with Blackbeard to discuss the acquisition of some medicine to support the growing Pirate republic at Nassau. When boarding The Queen Anne’s Revenge, Kenway is spotted by someone who he, and the player, met at the beginning of the game: Stede Bonnet. In his surprise at seeing Kenway in this circumstance Bonnet remarks “My goodness. The West Indies is a compact place” (ACIV). And indeed the west indies of ACIV is a compact or, rather, compacted place. In crafting the game’s open world, the designers created a compact Caribbean, and by doing so participate in a long tradition of compacting foreign lands.

All of this is primarily suggested by the comparative size of the virtual and real worlds. The green rectangle in Figure 1 is an attempt to recreate the world map of Assassin’s creed through draftlogic, a website which calculates the square meters and miles of a selected area on Google maps. As shown in Figure 2, the ACIV map contains all of Cuba and Jamaica, and the extremities of Hispaniola, the Yucatán, and Florida.  Where as the calculated area of the green rectangle of the Caribbean is approximately 1,056,623,746,588 square meters, shown under the Output: Current Area section, that of Assassin’s Creed’s map is only about 233,840,000 virtual square meters, as calculated by players of the videogame (forums.ubi). The ratio of the real Caribbean to the game’s map is a little over 4500 to 1. It must be noted that at time of the video game’s production, it was technologically impossible to fit the entire size of the Caribbean into this open world game. Furthermore, the AC franchise has a record of shrinking the historical sizes of cities, monuments and landmasses from every corner of the globe that spans back to the franchise’s first game. ACIII, the previous game in the franchise, whose theme was the American Revolution, made big waves as the first of the series to include a vast area of land labeled The Frontier. Thus ACIV’s compacting is not out of the ordinary.

What makes ACIV’s shrinkage special however, and what makes its implications so important, is that, unlike each game in the franchise before it, ACIV created a seamlessly flowing world map that blurred the boundaries between each section of the game. Whereas all previous games in the franchise, with the exception of ACIII, built only cities, ACIV offers an entire sea. ACIV’s map differentiates itself from that of ACIII as well. With the exception of a visualization of the town of Concord, MA, The Frontier is a largely imagined space, a conglomeration of forest and wilderness located in the western reaches of the Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York colonies of the late 18th Century. Its made up valleys, moraines and lakes have no historical precedent and cannot be found in any modern atlas. The map of ACIV, however, is more restricted to the boundaries of true geography and much of its map is based on something that can be found in the real world. Furthermore, The Frontier is disconnected from the two city maps the game also contains, New York and Boston, separated by an animation of the player walking into the distance and a loading screen. This momentary disconnection implies a greater distance between the cities and The Frontier, a vastness reflected in the fact that modern technology was unable to contain it to one area. But this was all compromised in ACIV.

In crafting the Caribbean world, ACIV tore down many of the boundaries between separate maps. With the exception of the largest cities, Havana and Kingston, and a few distant places, Sao Tome and Principe, much of ACIV’s Caribbean is seamless. A player is able to walk about an island, port town, or cove, board his/her ship, and sail anywhere he/she wants in the 233,840,000 virtual square meters that the game provides. The consequences of this compacted Caribbean are much like the consequences seen by the historic shrinkage in the mapping of Africa in the Mercator projection.

In the relatively few centuries that humans have been creating maps of the entire world, cartographers have always faced the problem of how to transfer the spherical shape of Earth onto a two dimensional sheet of paper. In order to keep a map of the world as one contiguous and rectangular image, the cartographer must choose to distort a certain section of the globe. The most popular projection, a term used for such a 2D representation, the Mercator projection (figure 3) augments the upper and lower extremities of the globe and shrinks those located around the equator. Although the Mercator Projection’s distortions were likely created out of convenience, they are in line with and are likely a product of the European map making heritage. Such a heritage, represented in “A new and correct Mapp of the WORLD” (figure 4), shrunk the size of Africa and other spaces deemed either too unknown or too unimportant for European standards. By compromising the size of Africa, historical cartographers compromised its cultural diversity, biodiversity, and its global importance. Africa, in the mind of the regular global minded European, became small and containable.

Similarly, by compromising the size of the Caribbean, the creators of ACIV compromise its natural vastness and suggest that it is containable through a virtual representation. In the mind of the player, the Caribbean is perceived as small and quickly knowable. By compromising the size of the Caribbean, Ubisoft compromises the magnitude of its ethnic diversity, its biodiversity, the power of its vastness to awe, and its importance in both the 18th century world and the present world. A virtual Cuba that can be circumnavigated in ten minutes of gameplay creates, in the mind of the player, a perceived Cuba that is small and unpopulated, whose strength, global importance and wealth stretches as far as that of it’s one represented city, Havana. This perceived Cuba even has the possibility to bleed into a player’s perception of the modern country. With the vast number of global players, the influence of this compactness has the power to drastically affect the world’s perception of the Caribbean.

Through an analysis of how Ubisoft crafts the Caribbean in ACIV, it is evident that many of the traditions of the 18th century concerning the relationship between the European and the foreign land, whether that be anti-conquest or the distortion of an imagined space, still hold through to this day. But when dissecting this game, one must also understand that in building the Caribbean, Ubisoft not only continues centuries old colonial traditions, but also interweaves them with modern ideologies and modern perceptions of the 18th century.

The depiction of race in ACIV is primarily influenced by modern perceptions of the 18th century that believe the divisions of black and white to be the primary dissection of early 18th century society. When dissecting the European mindset of the early 18th century, Roxanne Wheeler notes that “older conceptions of Christianity, civility, and rank were more explicitly important to Britons’ assessment of themselves and other people than physical attributes such as skin color, shape of the nose, or texture of the hair” (Wheeler 7). There are moments in ACIV that do indeed reflect this fact, as when the wealthy trader Laurens Prins claims “It pains me to traffick a man of my own race for profit, Mister Torres” (ACIV). Prins, here, is not discussing the color of his skin, but rather his religion, as reflected when Torres, a Spanish Catholic, responds, “Is this some form of Protestant piety I am not familiar with?” (ACIV) While this instance reflects a relatively accurate depiction of the separation of people among religions, it is the only such depiction in the game, and is greatly outweighed by the many depictions of the divisions based on skin color. Adéwalé, the sole speaking black character, spends most of his dialogue discussing the matter and answering questions about race for the Edward Kenway and the player. He comments that “with this skin and this voice, where can I go in the world and feel at ease?” (ACIV) When Kenway notes that “most of (the crew) wouldn’t accept (Adéwalé) as a captain” (ACIV) and asks “what fair role would complement such unfairness” (ACIV), Adé responds that “it was the sort of rub I have learned to endure sailing among faces of such… fairness” (ACIV). ACIV also depicts acts of racial profiling in action, as when Benjamin Hornigold questions Kenway about Adé, noting that “you (Kenway) let him carry a pistol, do ye” (ACIV). The result of all this is an emphasis placed on a set of race relations that is not backed up with the time period. ACIV’s setting, the very beginning decades of the 18th century, receives the treatment that would define the late 18th century, which “paved the way for mid-nineteenth century scientific racism, a cultural and economic heritage we are still grappling with today in the Atlantic region” (Wheeler 11). The depiction of race in ACIV is a modern perception of the 18th century, inserted by Ubisoft to fit what the consumer has come to expect of the setting.

Unlike the representation race in ACIV, which can be said to trace back to a modern origin, the representation of gender in ACIV is difficult to uniformly analyze and trace back to one root. While one character might fall into a centuries old tradition of gender representation, another’s representation might be entirely modern. It should also be noted that the representation of gender in ACIV and the audience’s interpretation of that representation are two separate things. The disparity of gender representations in ACIV best appears in how the video games depict Caroline, the wife of the main character Edward Kenway, and Mary Read, a historical female pirate.

The gender representation of Caroline and her relationship with her husband has ties back to 18th century depictions of wives in pirate related texts. The story of Caroline is a frame story to the general plot of ACIV. It exists in flashbacks and hazy memories that Edward Kenway has, at the beginning of his story, in between its major plot points, and at the end, when Kenway returns to England to take care of his daughter after Caroline’s death. In the brief moments the player is given to experience Caroline, she is depicted as a figure of morality, a contrast to Kenway’s brash and piratical nature. When Edward tells her he is leaving to privateer, she responds with “Why not sail with the king’s navy? Earn a proper wage. Sail under gentlemen” (ACIV). She is also a figure of constancy and contentment, asking Edward “why can (he) not be satisfied with (working on a farm)? with me?” (ACIV) She reminds him that “if (he) learn(s) to keep settled in one place for more than a week, (he)’ll make a fine father too” (ACIV). The placement of Caroline’s story serve as breaks from the general plotline of the game. They not only fill in space between subplots, but also remind Edward of what his home life and the purpose of his privateering: to earn money for his soon to be family. These flashbacks are oddly nostalgic and often discomforting, but they humanize Edward Kenway, an otherwise morally failing man. They separate him from the rest of the depicted pirates, who although sharing many of Kenway’s bad habits, lack their respective Carolines to anchor them and bring them home. In the end of the story, it is Caroline, who although dead is represented through her and Edward’s daughter, that leads Edward to abandon his life of pirating and return to England.

And this depiction of Caroline falls right into place with 18th century depictions of women in pirate texts. In 18th century representations of pirates in books and on stage, “adding a heterosexual love interest as a metonym for their rebellious magnetism makes such dangerous rebels more culturally explicable and containable” (Burwick 103). As the player vicariously experiences the Caribbean through Edward Kenway, he must be culturally explicable and containable or else Ubisoft risks detaching the player from the experience. Imagine, instead, playing Blackbeard, a figure who is said to not only have had fourteen wives but also would “invite five or six of his brutal companions to come ashore, and he would force (his wife) to prostitute herself to them all, one after another, before his face” (Defoe 76). Vicariously experiencing the Caribbean through the eyes of such a man would drastically influence the player’s immersion into the virtual Caribbean world. Representations of many pirates in the 18th century were “…bad but reformable” (Burwick 110) and thus their love interests had the power to “inspire the pirate captain to give up his roving ways and return to domesticity and Christian morality” (106). Caroline does all of these things and in doing so suggests that themes of gender representation created in the 18th century still exist to this day. The depiction of Mary Read is a different story entirely.

While parts of the representation of Mary Read might be accurate to the historical texts its derives from, the interpretation of such a representation has changed over the centuries to one that reflects modern ideas. The first time the player meets Mary Read, she goes by the name James Kidd. She is dressed in men’s clothing and her voice is just low enough to pass as a man’s but too high not to raise suspicion. Such suspicions are only heightened by the irony of parts of Kidd’s dialogue. When Kidd, who is an Assassin undercover, sees Kenway wearing an Assassin’s garb, he (she) jokingly asks if he “(stole) that costume from a dandy in Havana” (ACIV). Kidd later makes a similar remark to Kenway that his “costume” does not “suit” him, to which Kenway replies “we take as we please and become who we like” (ACIV). Although the primary focus of these remarks is on the dress of Kenway, who, although not a real Assassin, dresses like one, the interaction is in the context of Mary Read costumed as James Kidd, with neither Kenway nor the player in on the dramatic irony. Such a conversation then speaks back onto Read’s cross dressing and portrays Read as rather liberal with the secrecy of her true gender.

Comparing ACIV’s Mary Read with the Read of 18th Century texts shows that parts of the virtual Read are very much one to one with their textual counterparts. It is first important, however, to note that the 18th century textual depictions of Mary Read possibly do not match with her historical counterpart. While a historical Mary Read definitely existed, much of her published documentation existed in a time when “eighteenth century Britons heard often enough about heroines whose reputed exploits carried the trope of the female knight – complete with her breeches, her dueling sword, and her military prowess – from the literary, dramatic, or aesthetic realms into real life” (Wahrman 22). Thus the comparison is not with a definite historic Mary Read, as none is known, even if Defoe in his A General History of Pyrates warns the reader not to “think the whole story no better than a novel or romance” (153), but rather a Mary Read shaped by the texts of her time. And ACIV’s Mary Read, does indeed hold up well with these texts in many respects. Mary Read of Defoe’s A General History of Pyrates is comfortable with her cross dressing. When she falls in love with a man she “bought a woman’s apparel for her(self)” (155) and later when that man dies she “again assumes her man’s apparel” (155) and returns to a life of privateering. ACIV’s Mary Read, by being herself an Assassin, whose courage matches if not passes that of her male counterparts, furthermore fulfills the 18th Century trope of “female knight” (Wahrman 22) much the same way Defoe’s does.

What separates ACIV’s Mary Read from that of Defoe’s text is that, when exposing herself to Edward Kenway, the virtual Mary Read is much more comfortable and liberal with letting her secret slip. She does so casually when Edward is looking the other way. He then turns back to see her with her hair down and her finger gashed so that she could redden her lips with her own blood. This scene, along with the aforementioned dramatic irony of Kidd and Edward’s conversation, stands in stark contrast to Defoe’s Mary, who only reveals her gender to Anne when she was “was forced to come to a right understanding with her” (Defoe 156) as Anne thought Mary a handsome young man, and to Captain Jack Rackam, “who was a lover and gallant of Anne Bonny” (157), when “he told (her), he would cut her new Lover’s (Mary’s) throat,” after being wary of the newfound intimacy between her and Mary. Defoe’s Mary, although existing in a context of the popular female knight, is nonetheless cautious about revealing her gender.

The conjunction of these two aspects of ACIV’s Mary Read, one from the 18th century and one likely a more modern invention, are, while disjoint in depiction, not separate in an audience’s interpretation. In the perception of this virtual Mary Read, the modern aspect of the character, her courage concerning her own gender, bleeds into and influences the audience’s perception of her 18th century aspect, her courage as a warrior and pirate. Thus while Mary Read in historic texts is not depicted as a feminist figure, her courage in battle and comfortableness with her clothing are interpreted to be so by a modern audience. Dror Wahrman, in his The Making of the Modern Self warns his readers “not to see the eighteenth-century acceptance or even celebration of Amazons, or single women, or women who pass successfully for men, as prima facie evidence of fault line in – or proto-feminist challenges to – the prevailing system of patriarchy” (Wahrman 34). Nonetheless figures such as Mary Read are read into the modern feminist movement, creating an image of the eighteenth century that was progressive where it was not. What is left is a modern reader who believes “Read added an entirely new dimension to the subversive appeal of piracy by seizing what was regarded as male ‘liberty’” (Rediker 107) and that Read’s life “and subsequent popularity … undercut the gender stereotypes of their time and offered a powerful alternative image of womanhood for the future” (108).

In comparing the depictions of Caroline and Mary Read, it is apparent that Ubisoft, when crafting the world of ACIV pulled from both centuries old conceptions of gender in the golden age of Piracy, along with modern inventions and interpretations of gender. The effects of such an intersection of influences on the player and the modern audience are multifarious. But in simplest terms, they leave the player with a distorted sense of how gender roles worked in the true time and setting of the game. This depiction of gender suggests that, just as with the aforementioned crafting of the virtual Caribbean, the 18th century still has a powerful influence in how the modern person views aspects of the world. But on top of this, it furthermore suggests that this view is also shaped by modern thought as well as modern perceptions of the 18th century, leaving a complicated mess of intersecting influences.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is not a product solely of its time. It maintains many of the trends found back in 18th century travelogues and laces them with both general modern perspectives and modern perceptions of the 18th century. It distorts the world in the same way cartographers have been doing for centuries. It reflects what we as a modern audience would like to believe the history between the West and the Caribbean is. It shows that the average modern person still maintains an old historicist view of the world, where humanity is in constant progression forward. How can a modern audience claim to have progressed from racism if racism isn’t represented in modern depictions of the past, no matter when that past was? How can a modern audience claim feminism has long standing roots throughout the world if Mary Read and Anne Bonny were not necessarily proto-feminist? How can American and European exceptionalism thrive if not for the continued compacting of other spaces? Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag speaks to a larger trend in the relationship between the modern and its past and has wild implications that weave their way through many aspects of society today.

Works Cited

Burwick, Frederick, and Powell,  Manushag. British Pirates In Print And Performance. 1st ed. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Print.

Defoe, Daniel, and Manuel Schonhorn. A General History Of The Pyrates. 1st ed. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1972. Print.

Ismail, Ashraf, and Jean Guesdon. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Montreal, Canada: Ubisoft, 2013. video game.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “A new and correct Mapp of the WORLD” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1702 – 1707.

Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes. 1st ed. London [u.a.]: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Rediker, Marcus. “When Women Pirates Sailed the Seas.” The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), vol. 17, no. 4, 1993, pp. 102–110.,

Wheeler, Roxanne. The Complexion Of Race. 1st ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Print.

Wahrman, Dror. Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven: Yale UP, 2004. Print.


Video of ACIV dialogue: