The first story-based DLC content for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag has yet to even be released, but the ramifications it may have on the future of the series are already being tease. Edward Kenway’s right-hand man Adewale is set to star in ‘Freedom Cry,’ a bonus campaign that may be more integral to the franchise’s fiction than some may have assumed.
More details on the location, structure, and larger Templar/Assassin conflict that will be spotlighted in ‘Freedom Cry’ have been released, hinting that “hardcore fans” of the series may even spot seeds being planted for Assassin’s Creed 5.
The first trailer for ‘Freedom Cry’ laid out the premise quite clearly: stepping into the boots of Adewale 15 years after the events of Black Flag, players would take on a mission of vengeance and social justice, putting the Assassin skills learned from Edward Kenway to good use. That might be enough of an excuse to hop back into the game, but now fans have a better idea of what the DLC will bring.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Wesley Pincombe, the creative director of the DLC campaign explains why a different direction was taken for Black Flag than the alternate-history ‘Tyranny of King Washington’ DLC for AC3. Those differences should be clear from the start, with ‘Freedom Cry’ taking players to a brand new location – Port-au-Prince, Haiti:
“The alternate universe was a great idea and each episode had its own set theme and abilities, but we wanted to focus on one DLC and put all of our content in there. We also wanted to give the player new locations. In King Washington we revisited locations – we changed the themes and settings – but we wanted to push it further.
“You’re going to a new setting with new crowd life…New enemies, new AI. Port-au-Prince is a French colony – there are no French colonies in Black Flag so that is all new…This is primarily an AdÃ©walÃ© story – Edward isn’t present – but we do shoot a couple of lines back and forth with him reminiscing about his past.”
Besides taking a deeper look at the personality and motivations of Adewale, a runaway slave-turned-pirate, Pincombe confirms that the Caribbean assassin’s clothing and training aren’t just for appearances. In other words, the larger fiction of the Templar/Assassin conflict will play a significant role in the DLC – perhaps even more than it did in the campaign of Black Flag proper.
Pincombe wouldn’t provide further details other than claiming that some AC4 character may returns, along with one “notable object” (which we would bet fans could figure out on their own). However, he did promise that the DLC – set 15 years after the adjoining game – would give some more information regarding Edward Kenway’s fate. That’s assuming those years aren’t further explored in a potential standalone Black Flag series, of course.
More Black Flag content is easy to understand, now that the base game has seemingly righted the Assassin’s Creed ship (pun intended). While one might argue that the overall fiction of Templars and Assassins is the core story of the series, it’s also easy to make the case that by emphasizing creativity over canon, Black Flag beat the odds (read our review for evidence).
Unfortunately, Pincombe reveals that the development team was somewhat restricted in terms of what… fantastic elements they could introduce with ‘Freedom Cry’:
“I’m going to have to disappoint some people – no, we didn’t put the kraken in…I’ll even say it was part of our conception at one point. We were going to do some fantasy missions to do with piracy and the Caribbean at one point but we changed our direction in conception.”
Fans will no doubt be crushed, but could Pincombe’s team win them back with, say, some hints toward the location or story of Assassin’s Creed 5?
“There are some [hints] but our fans will only discover them in the future…They’re in your face, but you’d have to be a hardcore fan to understand them.”
The French history of Port-au-Prince could make the French Revolution rumors seem more likely, but whatever the case, we expect fans to uncover the secrets of ‘Freedom Cry’ within hours.
But Black Flag fans have some additional content to look forward to before Adewale takes his turn in the spotlight, as the release of the ‘Blackbeard’s Wrath’ DLC has also been confirmed. The pack brings three new multiplayer characters, including the legendary pirate, along with The Orchid, a Chinese assassin, and The Jaguar, an Aztec Warrior. The DLC will be released in North America on December 10, for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. No pricing details or a Wii U release has been confirmed, but the pack comes free to Season Pass owners.
What do you think of the announced DLC for Black Flag? Will you be diving back into the story-based missions, or is the central story enough? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed 4‘s ‘Blackbeard’s Wrath’ will be released on December 10, with ‘Freedom Cry’ following on December 17 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. A release date for Wii U has not been given.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.