Today, Ubisoft revealed all of the DLC coming to Assassin's Creed Unity this year alongside the game's Season Pass. The first bit of content is simply more stuff for the base game, including items to further customize your assassin. All told it comes to three missions in Paris and 30 new weapons, outfits, and other equipment, including the exclusive Fleur de Lys sword at launch.
Digging a bit further in the development effort, the Assassin's Creed Unity Season Pass also offers Dead Kings, a story campaign that takes Arno to Saint Denis. In real-life, Saint Denis is an area in the northern part of Paris and home to the Basilica of Saint Denis, a large medieval church with an extensive necropolis. The necropolis extends below the Basilica and contains the remains of many French kings. That means Arno will be crypt-diving in the DLC, facing off against the mysterious Raider faction with his new Guillotine Gun.
Hopefully, this DLC will feature the return of the Prince of Persia-style challenge dungeons, testing your timing and reflexes with a host of traps. Assassin's Creed II's Assassin Tombs and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's Lairs of Romulus were a ton of fun for those of us that miss Prince of Persia, but the series has minimized the appearance of challenge dungeons since those titles.
What surprising about the Assassin's Creed Unity Season Pass is Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China, an all-new 2.5D title taking place in 16th century China. The game stars Chinese assassin Shao Jun, who previously shared the spotlight with her mentor, Ezio Auditore, in the Assassin's Creed: Embers short film. Chronicles lets Ubisoft revisit Shao Jun's story, with the development legwork being handled Climax Studios, the developer behind Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. (That may be good or bad depending on where you stand with the Silent Hill series.) Chronicles: China looks to take place directly after Embers, as Jun heads back home to get some revenge. (Jun is also the creator of the rope dart, a weapon later used in Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.)
Shao Jun's quest for revenge looks like it will play out in platforming style, with a look inspired by Chinese brush paintings. The DLC will take players to the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, using stealth and martial arts to achieve Jun's objective.
While the main Assassin's Creed games feature leaps in technology and gameplay, the DLC and spin-offs are where the series plays with its narrative. Assassin's Creed, II, Brotherhood, Revelations, and Black Flag were all relatively straightforward, but Ubisoft has been able to use games and DLC like Liberation, Freedom Cry, and the Tyranny of King Washington to tell stories with deeper themes or show off protagonists with a bit more variety. Shao Jun's status as a Chinese assassin makes her stand out in a series that has yet to really tackle Asia or the Far East (unless you count the comics) and she joins Liberation's Aveline as the second female assassin to star in a title.
My fingers are crossed that the appearance of the "Chronicles: Place" naming scheme means that Ubisoft is ready to branch out with more side stories unconnected to the main titles. With a second title each year - like this year's Assassin's Creed Rogue - and mini-episodes via DLC, it looks like the series is taking players to more eras in history.
Ubisoft also confirmed to USgamer that you won't be able to buy Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China as a standalone title. If you want it you need to dole out for the Season Pass, and that's not cheap. The entire thing will set you back $29.99 and Ubisoft expects to have most of the related content out in early 2015. We'll see if Assassin's Creed Unity's world is worth shelling out for another half-a-game.