Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has begun sneaking out of some retailers around the world, and while Ubisoft Montreal won't punish players for picking up an advance copy, it will reset its multiplayer ladders at launch to keep things fair.
Various users and sites have posted proof that copies of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag are available in the wild, apparently due to retailers shipping early.
Those who have received an early copy can partake of the game's multiplayer, lead multiplayer designer Tim Browne confirmed on Twitter, adding that player progress made pre-launch won't be wiped.
"Yes the AC4 multiplayer servers are up and running. To make things fair though we will reset the Ladders at launch," he said.
"We won’t reset gained levels as that is unfair on people who legitimately bought the game. Those in the wrong are the retailers.
"The players currently playing haven’t done anything wrong. Retailers have sent out copies early and we don’t believe in punishing innocent[s]."
Officially, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag hits PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 worldwide on October 29. The PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One versions are all coming later in November.