Note that most of the information is stuff we already know via Twitter, etc. But for the sake of completion, we’ll go through everything.
The Wave 4 DLC will be available from 13th February 2020 (Japan time). However, no specific time frame was given–and, to avoid disappointment, we’re not going to guess!
Abyss – The Dark Side of Garreg-Mach
The story takes place in Abyss, an underground area beneath Garreg-Mach. The protagonist and a few students were chasing a suspicious figure into the monastery’s basements. They arrive at the dark side of Garreg-Mach, where the surface laws don’t reach, and meet four young people who claim to be from Garreg-Mach’s “fourth house”.
The students from the “Ashen Wolves” secretly established this fourth house within Abyss.
Each of them resides in Abyss for various reasons and they’re fighting against mysterious invaders to protect those living in Abyss.
Yuri Leclerc (VA: Junya Enoki)
The Ashen Wolves’ unofficial leader.
He was a student at the Officer’s Academy, but expelled for some reason and relocated to Abyss. Beneath his crass speech, he is devoted to protecting the denizens of Abyss, although it can be difficult to tell.
Constance von Nuvelle (VA: Sarah Emi Bridcutt)
A daughter of House Nuvelle, a noble family within the empire that fell to ruin during a conflict several years ago. Although she now lives in Abyss, she hasn’t abandoned her dream of restoring her family and is always hunting for chances to do great things and be acknowledged by the world. Her manner of speech is polite, but it does little to hide her bossy attitude.
Balthus von Adalbrecht (VA: Subaru Kimura)
A tough guy from the Alliance; the self-proclaimed “King of Grappling”.
His daring and careless personality doomed him to a life on the run, thus he had to hide in Abyss. Drawn by his desire to protect the Abyssians who sheltered him and his fighting instincts, he gives any and all intruders a thorough beatdown.
Hapi (VA: Sachika Misawa)
A lackadaisical girl who’s unashamedly apathetic.
She holds no interest in any affairs; nonetheless, as a member of the Ashen Wolves, she fights to repel the intruders from Abyss. Apparently, she has a unique “constitution”, which is the reason she’s living in Abyss.
Students from the Three Houses
Within the Three Houses, in addition to the House Leaders, Linhardt, Ashe and Hilda will fight by your side. To confront the crisis that befalls Abyss, the boundaries between the houses must be broken down.
In “Cindered Shadows”, there are various restrictions due to your unique circumstances, within the enclosed underground of Garreg-Mach.
There are no weekdays or weekends, no classes or certification exams, and you’ll be fighting with fixed team members.
There are other restrictions as well, so you can enjoy a slightly harder challenge compared to the main game.
Fixed Skill Levels
Unlike the main story, skill levels do no increase via battle. So make sure to plan your roles before heading out, and adjust them according to the situation in front of you.
* Similar to the main story, units can gain experience points and Level Up.
Left: Each character already has certifications for certain classes and they can only change between those classes.
Right: Because skill levels do not increase, you’ll have to choose from abilities and arts already obtained.
Like in the main story, weapons can be purchased from the armory or repaired and forged at a blacksmith, but be careful as there’s a limited amount of funds and ore available within Abyss. While fighting, you’ll need to consider the most efficient moves to avoid needlessly expending weapons.
Left: There’s a junkyard with random bits and bobs thrown away by the Abyss denizens. There are weapons that can still be used and weapons that a blacksmith would love to touch up. Go ahead and grab ’em while they’re hot!
Right: Ore can be obtained at the start of Cindered Shadows and after winning battles or by armor-breaking large foes.
Depending on your Cindered Shadows progress, the four Ashen Wolves students will appear in the main story.
You can also visit Abyss when you choose to “explore” and new elements will be added to the main story.
Recruiting the Ashen Wolves
After clearing Chapter 1 of Cindered Shadows, the four Ashen Wolves will appear in Part 1 of the main story. You can interact with them while exploring, like any other student.
In addition, depending on your “Cindered Shadows” progress, it will be possible to recruit them to your house. Students invited to your house will not only participate in battles and lessons, but they’ll show up in Part 2 as well.
Additionally, after an Ashen Wolves student joins in the main story, there will be new paralogues, plus support conversations with other characters, including the protagonist.
New Class Certifications
The four Ashen Wolves will appear in Cindered Shadows in four new classes.
If you clear Chapter 1 of Cindered Shadows, the certification exams for these four classes will be added to the main story.
* In the main story, the four Ashen Wolves will join in different classes, according to when you recruit them.
Special Classes: These are available from Level 20+ and require an Underground Seal.
A magic-wielding swordfighter that dances around foes with their quick movements.
A Thief certification is required.
A warrior and wielder of magic who brandishes their axes and fists with a heart of faith.
* Class name differs by gender.
A knight versed in black magic, this class can move again after taking certain actions.
* Female-only class.
A magic-wielding knight who fights astride a pitch-black pegasus, this class can move again after taking certain actions.
* Female-only class.
After clearing Chapter 1 of Cindered Shadows, you can venture into Abyss while exploring in the main story.
Once there, you can speak to the head honcho of Abyss to gather people to Abyss using your Renown. Once gathered, new quests and activities will be available. Here are some of them.
Pagan Altar: You can obtain Renown by offering resources such as ingredients and ore to the pagan deities. Renown can be used for gathering people via the head honcho and you can also use the “exchange” option to trade it for weapons and items.
Mystery Instructor: If you speak to the head honcho, a former instructor from the Officer’s Academy can appear in Abyss. He can check how much your allies have grown by working together with the protagonist.
Augury: In Part 2, you can ask the head honcho to make an augur appear in Abyss. By spending Renown, you can boost 2 characters’ support points via “Improve Ties” or cement their fated future by choosing “Star Cross”.
Update: The latest issue of Famitsu provides more details about the Mystery Instructor and Augury. The key thing to know is that the “Star Cross” option does indeed let you choose character endings.