With any blockbuster gaming release comes the expectation of paid content in one form or another, although some major titles have been changing that mind set as of late – with Halo 5: Guardians set to offer fans 15 free multiplayer maps. That said, additional content for something akin to Assassin’s Creed Syndicate‘s forthcoming Jack the Ripper add-on was sure to cost money, which many fans initially saw as a cash grab.
While some gamers are still disappointed that they won’t be able to encounter the infamous serial murderer in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate without paying extra, the creative director behind the series has offered an explanation about why this is the case. While not all fans will agree, however, there seems to be sound logic behind the decision to make the content a paid add-on.
We recently sat down to chat with the creative director behind Syndicate, Marc-Alexis Côté, about the decision to make the Jack the Ripper story downloadable content instead of a part of the main game. When asked what he thought about comments from outlets like IGN that branded the add-on a rip-off, Côté simply elaborated on how that particular story didn’t fit into the timeline.
“I look at the experience that we have created. It’s an experience that’s entirely set in 1868, and we have very, very good reasons for that. It’s because we want to immerse the player in 1868. The entirety of the experience that we’ve done is set there, and the reason for that is immersion. We have a game that I want to be more character driven then historical event driven, so I don’t want, for example, a game like Assassin’s Creed 3 which took you from one battle to another, so it had to move the clock a lot.”
“For me, it’s more about exploring 1868 London and the people that were there. The reason we chose that year was so that we could have Darwin, Dickens, you’ve got the queen, obviously, you’ve got Alexander Grahm Bell just a year later who is in Canada. Dickens dies two years after 68, Darwin not long after. So for me it was about meeting the people that forged the era we live in today that are important, and I can not do that in 1888.”
As historians will correctly point out, Jack the Ripper didn’t begin his infamous string of murders until 1888, which provides fans with roughly a 20 year gap between the events of Syndicate and the reign of the well-known killer. Since Côté didn’t want to shift the clock, him and his team opted instead to focus on the year and time frame they found themselves creating the story around – rather than jumping ahead for the sake of including the unfound murderer in the story.
“Jack the Ripper is a perfect subject for DLC, and it answers the need and the desire our players have to know more about what happens after. I remember playing games as a kid, and always when I finished it I’m like “Okay, but what happened in their lives afterwards?” So, this DLC answers that for players that enjoy that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate experience, so, honestly, for me, I just don’t see how it can be qualified as a rip-off.”
“When you take that into account, it’s something that’s super easy to say, because it’s a really, let’s say, [popular] statement just because people like to say that kind of stuff. But, honestly, we thought about how we could make this something great and it adds value for our fans.”
While some are sure to still be sour that Jack the Ripper wasn’t included in the main game, it’ll be interesting to see how he fits into Syndicate after 20 years have passed. Côté also confirmed to me that Jacob and Evie will be returning for the forthcoming content, so gamers can expect to suit up as the assassins once that first batch of story-related DLC arrives.
Even then, it’s hard not to respect the decision that Côté and his team made, as it finishes the story in a way that should be more impactful to players. With that said, fans and critics alike will have to wait and see if Syndicate lives up to its expectations once it arrives in the very near future, although our recent hands-on time with the game’s campaign has us more than optimistic.
Do you think Jack the Ripper should have been included in the main game or do you respect the creative decision to keep the events of the title focused on 1868? Get at us in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate arrives for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 23, 2015. With a PC release set for November 19, 2015.