Though the protagonist of Assassin's Creed 4 has changed from the previous entries, there will still be plenty to learn in the modern day. Now that you're the main character, you'll be the one exploring Abstergo Industries when exiting the Animus, and there will be some hacking and sneaking around to do in regards to the story. Your character won't have a voice, as McDevitt said "we didn’t want to put words into your mouth."
In the few screenshots of Abstergo shown off, you go get a glimpse of your workstation as well. There you can see some figures based on characters you'll interact with in pirate-era portion of the game, meaning there will be unlocks of some sort possibly based on your progress in AC4. McDevitt kept much of the other answers close to the vest, but did reveal there may be some returning characters in the present day. Though it won't be mandatory, you could explore Abstergo all you wanted, as McDevitt claimed, "there’s so much amazing content in the present."
Check out the screenshots below, and let us know what you think about these new developments in Assassin's Creed 4.