I have played my fair share of Assassin’s Creed over the years and I’ve enjoyed all of the ones I’ve played, but Assassin’s Creed 4 struck a special chord with me. The story, the characters, and the setting all work together perfectly to create one of the best narratives I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. All of this was topped off with a perfect ending that is just beautiful. But what makes this ending so special? Well, let me take you on a journey and try to coherently put into words why I feel the way I do.
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I think that in order for me to properly convey my feelings, I need to first set the scene. And by setting the scene, I mean giving you a quick overview of the game. The main character and protagonist of the story is Edward Kenway, a privateer turned pirate after an unfortunate series of events. What is crucial to the story is that Edward isn’t an Assassin when the game starts and, until later in the game, has no desire to become one either. He is quite self-serving, but he also cares about the well-being of his loved ones and his crew.
As the game goes on, he learns more about the Assassins and the Templars. He starts to realize that this conflict is greater than anything he can comprehend and that he needs to pick a side eventually. He chooses to become an Assassin by the end and take down the Templars he met at the start of the game. Over the course of his journey, he meets many famous pirates from the period, like Blackbeard or Black Bart, and he forms friendships with these people. One by one, however, they get killed off until he is almost alone by the end. And this is where the ending comes into play.
This ending made me very emotional, which doesn’t normally happen with me and game endings. You, Edward, and Anne Bonny, one of your comrades who miraculously managed to survive through the entire game, are seen talking about Edward’s return to England to live with his family. Once their conversation ends, Edward’s ship arrives and they say their goodbyes to each other. Anne Bonny then starts singing a beautiful rendition of a song called The Parting Glass. As Edward looks over at a table where a few sailors are having a drink, he sees all of his fallen comrades sitting there. He takes one more look before making his way down to his ship where he greets his daughter and they both sail away to start a new life in England.
So, why is this ending so great? Well, first off, the song The Parting Glass really adds a lot to it. It really is a bittersweet song. It signifies the end of something, but the beginning of something new. Edward is leaving his entire life that he has built up over many years behind to start anew. But even if he wanted to keep going and continue being a pirate, he couldn’t. By the end of the game, it is over. The Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean is over, and most of his fellow pirates got caught in the crossfire and lost their lives. He got off lucky, and he knows it, so he is smart enough to call it quits.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t miss it. This is shown by him seeing all of his dead comrades’ ghosts sitting at the table. He reminisces about his time spent pirating one last time before sealing this chapter of his life away for good. He has made peace with the fact that it’s time to let go. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as we see him finally meeting his daughter for the first time, and on the way back they discuss how life is going to go on once they get back home.
One crucial difference between the Edward we see at the beginning and the Edward we see at the end is that the earlier Edward would have been woefully unprepared for his role as a father. He is immature, impulsive and irresponsible. Over the course of the game, he learns how to accept responsibility, instead of running away from it and matures a great deal. I wouldn’t say that maturity is the central theme of the game, but it does play a role in how his character behaves and which decisions he makes. By the end, he is fully confident in his ability to be a good father to his daughter and isn’t afraid of the challenge that lies ahead of him.
I hope I have made clear as to why I love this ending so much. I know that Assassin’s Creed 4 does not spring to mind when someone mentions great endings, but these are just my two cents. Feel free to tell me what you think.