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  • Pete Davison 1:41 am on March 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, From Ashes,   

    RPS posts a spoileriffic piece about From Ashes. Their verdict was thus:

    “You will most likely want the intriguing new character in your story, I think, but worthwhile a companion as they are, they fall a long way short of living up to the gosh-wow concept they’re introduced as and they really aren’t a game-changer for either ME3′s plot or its mechanics – and at that price, they probably should be.”

    They also noted that it’s very noticeable that something is missing if you don’t have it — a prominent gap in the squad menus; a room in the Normandy that remains steadfastly empty.

    A commenter also noted that the character in question was present and correct in that leaked script that did the rounds a few months ago.

  • Shingro 3:35 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , dlc,   

    I love fighting games, but Capcom has become incredibly exploitative with it’s business practices lately, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record comes to mind (Exactly the same game as Dead rising 2 for full price with a different protagonist copy->pasted in, to be fair, they gave him new lines in response to events, but ‘cmon…) Ultimate MvC3 as fun as it is to watch is basically the completed version of MvC3 (MvC3 didn’t even have a year of play before it was retired, missing entire features every other fighting game had) DLC is pricey comparatively. etc.

    Like I said before, it comes down to ‘do you trust the publisher’ and Capcom has been working very hard in recent years to make sure I say ‘no, no I don’t.’

    Which is too bad because the actual dudes on the ground can do some good work when they’re given the time and money.

    As for DLC on the disk in concept, I don’t like it, consumer-wise I’d like as much as I can get for the dollars I pay, I don’t think there’s any shame in that. Give me Borderlands-style DLC a month down the line and I’ll shell out with a smile on my face, but to give me content on the disk it either has to be small/broken (due to short development time) or substantial (cut features) and I’ll be a bit miffed.

    Besides, if it becomes something that’s just accepted it just means some other company somewhere down the road is going to push the boundary even further and in a more egregious way. No thank you.

  • bowlisimo 7:07 pm on February 27, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    @beige There are a lot of dumb preorder bonuses like guns, but it doesn’t seem to be that big of a difference unless you’re going for CE vs Reg. Right now Amazon is giving out 10 dollar store credit for preordering with them. I haven’t found anything better, at least for PC anyway.

  • Shingro 7:44 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, , ,   

    @CMWhittington That is a *Badass* name, only cool people are named Alex 😀 I dunno what happens with the Vita, but I am starting to think that launch is never indicative of the final quality of the product, going to be a while before we have a good sense of the system, I think waiting is a pretty smart move all told.

    Well, I guess considering how civil the tone remained on here I can’t really complain that we’ve all sorta decided to move on, so I guess I’ll drop my last post on the topic too

    *TL:DR at the bottom, probably good to use, I gotta break myself of this Wall Habit >_>*

    @sinfony I think in the end we’re talking about the same thing and agreeing on the same points just from different directions. Perception does matter only because it’s part of the bottom line, how the consumer feels about your product is a huge huge element of selling a thing to that same consumer. Nintendo is an excellent example considering they decided to actually apologize for dropping the price on their handheld That’s complete madness unless they needed/wanted to manage the perceptions and feelings of people who already bought consoles, and were perfectly willing to give free stuff away just to keep them feeling positive about the choices they made in relation to that company.

    As for the budgets thing, that’s just a miscommunication, I ment budgets for producing a game rather then the budget of a consumer. Comparing budgets in the 2010s compared to the 2000s and the 2000s compared with the 1990s, There’s no way Majora’s mask cost as much to develop for Nintendo as Mass Effect 2 did for Bioware, and there’s no way Majora’s mask cost less to develop then Link to the Past. It’s just the nature of technology. I never intended to bring exact numbers into the conversation, just the note that it didn’t cost 20 million to develop psychonauts, but Tim claims that’s what it’d take to do Psychonauts 2, why is that? Nothing’s changed except the console and the expectations. It’s a trend that I think becomes dangerous down the road, what’s the budgets for PS4 or PS5 games going to be? What sort of game has to be made that we’d become willing to pay $80-$110+ for? If we’re comfortable paying that, how many games do we buy a year? Will studios need to hit the million sold mark or close?

    I think there needs to be some more fundamental reexamining of the models. I don’t want to see that excruciating hammering of dev studios like the early PS3 days when the system wasn’t doing so hot and many places bet the farm to dev on a console that just didn’t have the market penetration to satisfy the super-budgets developing for high def entailed. I don’t think that every single game has to be made in the mold of “Bigger, Better, More Badasser” and conversely, I also don’t see anything wrong with some games that do want to go that way. For example, Mass Effect 3? Should totally go Bigger Better More Badasser, that is reasonable for a game with a pedigree like that, and chances are the resulting product will be worth the extra monetization of the content to a great majority of it’s fans. But that can’t be everyone, and when it’s so much of the mentality of the marketplace, I think we miss other models that work, free to play is hugely profitable, steam 75% sales are hugely profitable and rumor is, often trump day 1 sales at the full price. Iphone is hugely profitable. Devs have said ‘we’d love to sell our game for 40$ but we’ve found people believe there’s something wrong with the game then.’ Heck, there’s MMOs that took 20+ million type budgets, released, and then tripled their profits when they *stopped charging for the client and removed all subscriptions* That’s madness, and scientifically, it’s repeatable, happened multiple times now.

    Then the last point is again something I agree on, EA isn’t ‘bad’ for trying to monitize extra stuff, they’re just trying to find what works. I still believe their primary objective is to make a profit, and the rest of their decisions are framed by that, but it’s not ‘evil.’ for trying to do so, it’s just a company. All other things being equal they’ll take the higher profit option, but a powerful influence on that is consumer perception so that’s fine, few companies will do horrible things because backlash would be tremendous. Consumers similarly aren’t bad or evil for being uncomfortable at trends, or specific bits about how this or that element of how the game is presented. They’re the one with the pocketbook after all, and what they feel comfortable shelling out for isn’t on the hook to any authority but their own. Just like you say, the consumer’s decision has to be in it’s own land of ‘Is this worth it to me?’ For one, it isn’t, for someone else it is, and they’re both totally right and justified in thinking so. We’re really on the same page with each point, just taking a general vs a specific view. Heck I also agree about Apple, I’ve never understood why with generic MP3 players clocking in around $20-30 dollars people are grabbing 200$ machines from apple, but still, if it’s worth it to them and I’ve never tried them, maybe they’re great. More power to them.

    In retrospect I really am not bugged by the reddit dude’s ME3 argument itself (I agree with some of it) as much as I was irritated in how he/she argued it, by setting up a strawman argument ‘this is what the opposition thinks, how stupid is that?’ and not breaching any of the wider discussion. It’s a dishonest way to argue, which in fairness to him/her, could have been entirely accidental. It just tweaked my nose pretty hard when I saw it as a more sinister manipulation. Besides, it’s been One of Those Weeks >_>

    Super grateful to the squad for being big hearted and minded enough that these sort of discussions are not personal. So often in so many places if you disagree with someone’s point/game/console/choice they feel like you’ve personally attacked them and things devolve into sad places. Don’t see any of that here and that’s a real nice change of pace.

    much ❤ to everyone here. If nothing else, it's helped me make my peace with ME3 specifically, I still don't like any type of gate being in front of narrative content, but I think that for a game as big, capable and polished as ME3 with the finishing of a trilogy, I'd say that it has earned itself the leeway to make a decision like that, and they aren't really raking the consumer over the coals or anything. As Pete pointed out, there's far worse out there.

    *Ties a bow around the discussion, files it under 'Squadron of Shame is a pretty cool guy'*

    TL:DR: Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, companies aren’t evil, neither are people. Decide for yourself what’s worth it to you, talk about it civily, and wow, I’m always impressed by the level of maturity every member of the squad brings to even contentious discussions, top marks to all participants =)

  • RedSwirl 6:09 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    @angryjedi On quality DLC, I actually liked “Witch Hunt” from Dragon Age and really like “Bring Down the Sky” from Mass Effect. In terms of ME2, I think Kasumi is really worth it for Infiltrator Shepard and “Shadow Broker”
    Is just amazing all around. Actually, the best thing about it is this collection of text files you get about the characters. I literally spent hours reading it. In general though, I would just like more things like the GTAIV DLC, “Awanening”, and “Shivering Isles”. I hope they keep that up with Skyrim.

    Vita: Get some games on that thing and we’ll talk. I’m past buying hardware at launch because I end up never using it until there’s actual software. In the case of the Vita, apps would be good too. I actually think that with a good web browser, RSS, a podcast catcher, and a Kindle app, the Vita could be a decent tablet alternative. Sony just needs to somehow attract app developers.

  • unmanneddrone 3:02 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    @bowlisimo Yeah, I’ll quote you on that because I reckon it’s damn well true. Boxed expansions are going the way of the dinosaur, unless they have “World of Warcraft” in the title, and interestingly enough, that’d be one of the few examples you’d be able to point to these days.

    Any particular favourite expansions from back in the day? Mine would have to be Dark Reign’s “Rise of the Shadowhand” and…hmmm…MechCommander’s “Desperate Measures” (which is TOTALLY cheating, given it was only included in the gold edition). I miss Mechcommander. One of the forgotten greats of the genre…after the bugs and glitches were quashed, of course.

  • bowlisimo 2:41 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @shingro @scribl @angryjedi It’s a very condescending infographic, it’s not like we all make games for a living and know the ins and outs of game development, why should we? But, I thought the insight into the process, even if not fully represented, was worth bringing into the Squad conversation.

    I agree with you guys, consumer perception would be better if this thing wasn’t released on the same day with the full game. I’m willing to bet for most people, all will be forgiven as soon as the game gets here and it blows people away (if it blows people away).

    At the risk of @feenwager shaking his head and saying “stop worrying and go cure AIDS in Africa”, all of you please do continue to ask “why?” and do what you feel is right. As for me, I HAVE TO PLAY THIS GAME and EA knows it.

    @redswir1 CD Projekt Red being awesome aside, I think the expansion pack era ended because with digital distribution you no longer needed to build up a lot of content to justify putting it in a box on a store shelf. Don’t quote me on that, though.

    @tolkoto The infographic? Can’t take credit, I poached it from a Kotaku comment thread.

  • Pete Davison 2:30 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @UMD Best examples I can think of are Bethesda’s DLC from Shivering Isles onwards (though in the case of Fallout, I think I would have preferred them to be collected together into larger expansion packs). I tried a couple of the BioWare ones for Dragon Age and they were a bit poo, to be honest. And the one for Mass Effect 1 was pretty laughable. I haven’t played the Mass Effect 2 additional content.

    As I said below, I’d prefer to see full game (i.e. no day 1 DLC or additional story content for people willing to pay more), substantial expansion pack/quasi-sequel a bit later (long enough time for people to have exhausted the base game, but not so long that people have lost interest) and then full sequel later, perhaps with a GotY “complete” release in between for those who missed out on the game first time around. It’d make the additional content more of a big event, maintain interest in the game, give the development team more time to work on the additional content and make it actually worthwhile AND placate those people who have already finished the game and don’t want to feel obliged to go through it again just for a bit of additional material.

    I could get behind that. There was nothing wrong with that system. It seems to me everyone would benefit from a return to that model. But there’s this assumption games need to have “continuous support” these days, with a regular trickle of content to keep people interested. If your game’s good enough, people will stay interested until the expansion comes along — or indeed return to it when the expansion comes out.

  • unmanneddrone 1:42 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Can I ask a question of ye fellows? Of all the DLC packs for your favourite heavy-hitter RPGs, how many were stand-out excellent?

    At the end of the day, if a choice had to be made, would you prefer no DLC and perhaps bigger, more ambitious sequels arriving earlier OR a slew of DLC, whereby inconsistency is perhaps more rife and a sequel perhaps taking longer to arrive? It’s not a particularly loaded question, as I reckon DLC packs are a great way to tinker with the established formula and see what a developer can commit in the next iteration.

    @rocgaude Sorry to drag this out, Squad Leader!

  • Pete Davison 11:31 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, , Shingro is scary when he's angry   

    I have to say, I’m with @shingro and @scribl. Perception is what matters, and if some people feel they are being ripped off, that is a problem. It’s not about “adjusting expectations” or other marketingspeak to make them believe that they’re actually getting a good deal, it’s about doing things which don’t cause this situation to arise in the first place.

    I have to say, I still find it quite astonishing that consumers are willing to defend these practices. We as consumers do not have to answer to shareholders, and they sure as hell aren’t going to give us benefits for loyalty. The more people accept practices like this because their desire to play a game is greater than their disappointment at the business model under which it’s sold, the more it continues. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

    While it may be true that some studios lay off a bunch of staff after they’ve finished a product, I find it difficult to believe that EA and BioWare are in that position. BioWare, after all, has what looks like the biggest MMO since WoW going on right now, and given the similarities between it and Mass Effect, it’s not unreasonable to assume that any Mass Effect team members left twiddling their thumbs could go and assist the Old Republic team on new content. It’s an MMO — it always needs new content.

    Similarly, EA isn’t exactly short of cash. The company made $252 million from mobile gaming alone last year (source) — and if you’ve ever played EA’s mobile games you’ll know that an awful lot of them wouldn’t have cost very much to make while providing potentially huge profits. Where does that extra profit go? Into the company’s pockets. Making Mass Effect 3 won’t have bankrupted them, so they don’t need to make DLC in order to “survive”. They’re doing it because they can, and because people are willing to pay for it.

    I’ve said it a number of times before: just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.

    We touched on this point in the Katawa Shoujo podcast, actually — the difference between games which are designed as “products” and games which are designed as “creative works” (or, if you prefer, the “A” word). The upset a lot of people (including myself) are feeling stems from the fact that historically, BioWare titles have been associated with more towards the “creative/artistic” end of the spectrum thanks to their good writing and stories. Mass Effect is a great universe — I’ve heard it described in several places as being of similar importance to the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars — and it should be appreciated as such, but that becomes difficult when it becomes treated like one of those product lines of the 1990s. In other words, it becomes a product to be sold in as many ways as possible, rather than an extended fictional universe to be explored in a creative manner.

    I also agree with @redswir1. I’d find all this bollocks much more palatable if 1) this day 1 DLC bullshit didn’t happen and 2) if we returned to the days of expansion packs. I’d happily buy a Mass Effect expansion pack that offered another 10-20 hours of gameplay as a quasi-“sequel” to the main story (think Throne of Bhaal vs Baldur’s Gate II, or even Awakening vs Dragon Age) rather than, as @bluesforbuddha pointed out earlier, content which you have to either replay the game for or wait until it’s all been released.

    Think about it. ME2’s DLC Arrival is, from what I have read, regarded as A Bit Rubbish despite leading in to ME3. How much better could it have been if instead of piecemeal episodes, we got a fully-designed expansion pack that offered a properly-realised interstitial story between ME2 and ME3, incorporating all the cool stuff from the good DLC (such as Lair of the Shadow Broker) as well as a fleshed-out plot and gameplay that didn’t feel like a cash-in? Those who had already played through the game wouldn’t feel irritated that they’d “missed out” on stuff and then feel obliged to replay the game (when perhaps they might not have wanted to) and BioWare/EA would be happy because 1) their teams would have something substantial to work on even during/after the main game’s release and 2) dedicated fans of the series would happily pay, what, $25 for this package, helping them to turn an extra profit after the game had been released. Release the expansion as a digital-only offering (or a retail box with a CD key for those who don’t have their consoles hooked up to the Internet — those people are still out there) and you can even make sure that money goes straight to the publisher rather than into GameStop’s pocket.

  • scribl 6:17 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @bowlisimo I guess my response to that image is that the first and third bars don’t really matter. In marketing (which encompasses advertising, promotion, distribution, pricing, and more), (consumer) perception == reality. All this nonsense about “well, if these fools weren’t making DLC that sells for $10, they would’ve been fired” is just rationalization.

    Though, it’s not really a great rationalization anyway. Let’s use some made-up numbers here.

    150 people start out working on Mass Effect 3.

    50 of those people finish their work on ME3 and start working on another part of ME3 (the DLC).

    So, we’ve got 100 people working on ME3, and another 50 people working on another part of ME3.

    Both of these groups finish the content they are working on in time for the release date, March 6th.

    ………..What exactly is the difference between what the group of 100 people were working on, and what the group of 50 people were working on? It’s completely arbitrary. Both groups are creating Mass Effect 3. It’s up to BioWare to decide where they draw a line in the sand and say, “No, this… This is DLC.”

    In that way, the average, “uninformed” gamer is actually kinda right.

  • RedSwirl 4:58 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @shingro Maybe they should have waited to release it. What EA is generally trying to get across is that the DLC was indeed a separate production with a separate budget and team. It just happened to have been made while the core game was getting tested/certified and made it out at the same time. In my opinion it’s more about how it looks to the consumers than how it is, because after all, EA isn’t entitled to our money.

    Also, one example of a different company structure is CD Projekt. I don’t know if you haven’t played TW2 yet or if you’ll be playing it for the first time on 360 or whatever, but it’s pretty amazing to remember the game at launch and then look at the Enhanced Edition. Two whole modes and probably 6+ hours of content have been added in a year, and it’s all free. The way I see it, EA is trying to see how much money they can get out of their customer base, and CDPR is trying to expand their customer base.

    But once again, I’m going to have to lament how console gaming never reached the expansion pack system of the PC. First we got horse armor, then content cut from the core game, then small bites of new content that didn’t really feel all that consequential. I’ll admit some of that content was good. “Lair of the Shadow Broker” was actually pretty amazing as a standalone production, and if “From Ashes” is $10 (“Shadow Broker” was $7) it better at least be comparable. But look at what we used to have:

    Used to be a game came out, then an expansion pack came out a year later that added a substantial amount of content and expanded the original game in a way that console sequels often do. That ensured that whenever a real sequel came out, it was a massive leap instead of an incremental one. I guess they figured out that console gamers would pay for the small stuff.

    Someone else said something on the issue at Forbes too:

    Paul Tassi has posted an editorial on Forbes, voicing his opinion on the recent brouhaha over the From Ashes DLC for Mass Effect 3. In short, he says that any exploitation of gamers occurring at the hands of publishers is basically “our own damn fault.”

    “It just isn’t correct to call these companies evil for attempting to extract more money from their industry,”

    “What EA, and many of the other companies are doing, is a simple economic experiment. They know gamers are a loyal group, and they want to see just how far they can push you to shell out money for the “complete” experience of a game you love.

    “The same goes for this Mass Effect DLC. You might say that you wish the extra mission was in the game, thus saving you $10. But hell, I wish the game was $30, but that doesn’t meant I won’t buy it for $60. The question at hand is…how much do you love Mass Effect? You’ve shown you love it $60 worth for years, and now, they’re seeing if you love it $70 worth.”

    Still, he concedes that “there is a limit” and eventually companies will start taking too much out of the final product to release as DLC and change too much on top of that for what’s inside the box – ultimately loosing customers in the process.

    “As soon as the numbers stop adding up, the practice will reach a plateau,” Tassi wrote. “The problem is that we’re not there yet, and though each new step forward takes us a little closer to that cutoff line, we simply haven’t shown these companies that what they’ve done is truly that hurtful to us. If it was, these products and games simply would not sell, and the practice would be scaled back. And that isn’t what’s happening.

    What this says to me is that these companies, having to deal with their ballooning costs, are having to figure out how to get more money out of a consumer base that hasn’t grown nearly as quickly. Used games is just another part of the phenomenon. I think some of them are going to have to face the fact that these games are costing too much, both for them and for consumers. That might even be why a lot of the most talented guys who helped build this industry went “down” to indie work.

    It just seems like HD consoles were the worst horse to bet on this generation for all but a few top companies.

  • RedSwirl 4:53 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    double post.
  • Shingro 4:25 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, Make the hurting stop   

    Warning: Bile incoming, the following post is not recomended for: Happy people, People with a skip in their step, People with heart conditions, or anyone really. No seriously, It’s really, truly embittered and you won’t feel good after reading it. Unfortunately it appears that Mr Reddit did an excellent job of pushing my buttons, he should be very proud. 8| *COMMENCE BILE*

    I imagine we’ve diverged into two separate topics of ‘dlc in general’ and ‘dlc in mass effect”

    I still think having 700 megs of content on the disk which someone has to download a 50k executable for is not something gamers should encourage, yes, like the article suggested it may result in extra teams being retained on it or it, or it may be work that’d never see the light of day otherwise, or it may encourage an unscrupulous publisher to take a finished, meaty product and cut off bits until it’s the bare minimum that’s worth $60 and sell the rest back in $5 chunks. But whatever the answer is it won’t *Always* be that. I would like to hear a real good argument on how the bad stuff CANNOT happen, not just pointed to one example, explaining that ‘no seriously, this is what goes on every time honest just stop paying attention, stop complaining and pay out.’ Yes, people need to understand game development is complicated, but they also need to understand that the companies aren’t your buddy buddies, they will charge you exactly what they can get away with. Period, not with malice sure, but this isn’t a land of benevolent autocracies.

    and if the companies could double the prices of games without any public outcry or drop in profit we’d have $120 games tomorrow, maybe not from everyone, but from most, and even the good ones would go over eventually, double quick if they have shareholders to listen to. So yeah, people should be complaining for the right reasons, 100% back this guy on that.

    but do not ever tell people not to complain or pay attention. Not. Ever.

    I notice of course that there’s no mention of how idle teams in large publishers can be moved onto pre-production for the next game on their plate, or that the pricing of games *period* is completely out of whack, about how DLC production methods vary from dev team to dev team, nor how multiplayer content being shaved off the main game into a special box which you won’t get if you don’t pay to the publisher directly is 100% a step down the road people worry about, (previously free features becoming part of this or that bundled pricing scheme) but this image is specifically complaining about the uniformed complainers, so that’s fine I guess. So now I get to call him uniformed and we’re *all* pissed off =P Grand net gain oh Reddit png maker >_> According to our helpful graphic the DLC team is a fully seperate set of people from the main team, and post release dlc is another entirely separate team of newly employed people. I guess we can look forwards to the number people hired by each dev team to triple over the next five years as all these people are hired and never let go. Maybe he did consider that, but better not put that on the graphic, that’d be counterproductive

    and yes, the tone of that picture is incredibly reductive and arrogant. The tone of this post is similarly irritated and hell, probably filled with it’s own inaccuracies and reductions, but at least I can assure you they’re genuine oversights not some snarky Powerpoint to bring people to my point of view, so just ignore that, I’m addressing the author, not any squaddies. >_>

    but honestly wtf, maybe it doesn’t matter anyway, the lesson that will be learned there is even if content was or wasn’t done by the time the game went gold or if it was or wasn’t part of the original document (MULTIPLAYER was probably part of the original design I’m guessing, there’s a bad sign) the lesson that will be learned at the unscrupulous publishers will be ‘hey, just keep it on the main servers and make them download the whole thing.’ We can’t stop it, and as Mr Reddit accurately says people are complaining for the wrong reasons. The hope of an informed consumer base is probably a pipe dream, so if you’ll excuse me I’m just going to scoot myself into the Keiji pillow fort, keep up on Steam weekend deals (Deus Ex is 10$ this weekend!) and wait for the bottom to fall out of the ever more expensive business model of consoles.

    TL:DR Mass Effect 3 is fine by and large, but consumers still have to pay attention and they still gotta complain when something rubs them the wrong way, that’s their duty. Someone at reddit is very clever at making clever graphics and clever arguments that obscure the weaknesses in the DLC model, I hate it when people are dismissive and reductive to other people, so I’ve taken the bait, apologies to everyone, but I’d rather type it out then stew over it all day at work tomorrow =P Bottom line, every game and every dlc pack gets evaluated on it’s own merits, and no honest feeling reaction to them is ‘wrong’ For myself? removing stuff like catwoman or multiplayer for *any* consumer? That Sucks, find another way to get your cut, if I might make a suggestion? Lead the way in getting prices under control enough that an extra $5 off a game isn’t a big deal and you won’t find people desperately cutting anything they can off your game or marathoning it and trading it in. Budgets might be 20x larger these days, but I’m not having 20x as much fun. So something broke along the way, fix it please.

    Again: MASS EFFECT 3 WILL BE FINE, but I don’t like the model, that’s just my opinion and it’s a strong enough opinion to tip me, I’ll send a sorry letter to bioware if I must, but that’s just how I feel.

    Bleeeeh, I think that’s everything, I do feel faintly better but god, that wasn’t fun at all. Allow me to offer my earnest and heartfelt apology for that. I wish I could just Shift+Home and hit delete, but discussions would never get anywhere if people shied away from the first indication that a negative emotion is being felt. So there it is :/ In all it’s horrible destitute glory :\

    I’m gonna get some rest -_____-

  • bowlisimo 2:21 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Informative infographic on the day-one DLC debate. I think it was made in response to rabid Reddit commenters, so ignore the tone.

  • RocGaude 6:15 pm on February 24, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, , , Worry about more important things   

    OK, I love you guys BUT remember, there’s a value attached to your time. The time you all have spent belly-aching about the ME3 DLC farce equates to the retail cost of about 3 special editions. You guys are silly.

    Mass Effect 3 is the one game this year that I’ll pay retail for with a smile on my face. That art book (and some figures) will also be owned. That’s all I have to say about that.

    Yeah, I think it’s time we all flaunt @unmanneddrone-made avatars. It’s the Squad Sig v2.0.

  • unmanneddrone 11:01 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @sinfony Since the devilish tale of “When the Antipode Sleeps” was running its course during this huge desk-thumping discussion, all I can say is I do believe we’ve seen a shift due to digital delivery from the days of the “Expansion pack” and what’s classed as “DLC” today. It’s a mindset today where you can monetize at will, whereas you had to make it worthwhile back in the day.

    It’s easy to proclaim the situation easy from a North American’s point of view, but just try getting nickelled and dimed with Australian prices. Even in the age of digital distribution, my countrymen are getting worked in the wallet, paying often twice as much as you Yanks DESPITE the Australian dollar now worth more than the Greenback. You can imagine how that goes down. “Oh, congratulations! You’ve just paid near a hundred dollars for a non-special edition of a game. How about paying twenty for this DLC we’ve shunted out at the same time. Bet you wish you were wrapped in the Stars and Stripes!”

    EA is especially bad with pricing down under. So, in regards to the expansion pack versus DLC, I certainly make a distinction, however nebulous and intangible it may seem.

  • RedSwirl 9:49 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Jesus Christ look at what rolled around here today.

    I couldn’t read all of this DLC talk but I agree with what I read from @angryjedi about how companies should rewards players who buy new instead of punishing people who buy used. The problem with “Project $10” is that people have come to expect multiplayer as a part of the base game, and when it’s behind a paywall they know it’s bullshit. They need to feel like content is being added, not taken away. Things like skins, documentaries, artwork, soundtracks, and just cool cosmetic shit I think is perfect for new purchase incentives.

    People are buying these games used because they don’t see the added value in buying new. Same thing with piracy.

    I think great examples have actually been coming from a lot of niche publishers of all people. If you buy a game like Persona or Devil Survivor or something from Atlus, typically the standard edition will come with a sound track, a snazzy box, and a mini art book. Look at The Witcher 2 (or every game on GOG). When that comes out on 360 in April, every new copy will come with almost as much extra stuff as BioWare is packing into the Mass Effect 3 special edition.

    As for DLC itself, I’m still disappointed that it never evolved into the expansion pack environment that you have on PC.

  • scribl 9:19 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    As @rampant hit on, consumer perception is everything. It doesn’t matter why customers feel screwed. If that’s how they feel, then EA and BioWare are doing something wrong (either in their strategy or how they present their strategy), and they need to fix it.

  • Shingro 8:01 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    I think the distinction is on whether the content for the game was finished at the time the disks were being pressed, which is a fair period before the game releases considering how much testing has to go into character/maps/etc. You can be pretty sure that if it’s already on the disk it’s been done well inside the development envelope. Shale, his dialogue, triggers, quests + testing wasn’t a last minute thing done by Joe and Sam on Sundays.

    Sometimes it’s just how you feel about it, say you bought Final Fantasy VII and between each disk they asked you for another $15, might be a fine, even superior model if the original content was cheaper.

    but it’s not =P games are still $60 and getting the bells and whistles are pushing us towards $100 yet games and publishers are still surviving even with huge content games on 60, so what’s the extra $10-30 funding? As was previously noted, I can’t think of many DLC-enabled games that get even close to a 1/4th+ extra content mark, and that’s on top of the engine already being developed. This signals to me that the time going into DLC is not keeping up with the extra money going into the publisher.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s reasonable to be worried, or uncomfortable about it. Again, gearbox has proven to do it well, and I trust them with DLC So there is no ‘one true answer’ for what is best.

    In the end, consumers will decide what they want, steam will make record profits on extended sales rather then week 1 blowouts, explotive DLC won’t sell forever, and we’ll get something rational that we’re happy with, it just might take more or less time depending on how vigilant we are.

  • Shingro 7:13 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @rampant No worries, that’s fine for me =) If given two options, I’ll always take quality over time, missed your presence on the squadcast though, you have a history of being on some seriously good ones. (Besides, sometimes it’s hard to keep perspective when the discussion is a total sausage-fest, especially in VN/Eroge land c_c legend has it we did okay, but I’m always ready to worry some more! =P)

    A misc scattering of points for the DLC argument just to keep the pot nice and hot =)

    I think this is more of a perspective thing then anything, DLC can be removed from a pre-existing design to be sold as day 1 dlc or it might be crafted by an idle team while the game has already gone gold or is going through cert. There’s also probably gradients in between where large developers with extended franchise contracts might have otherwise been doing prep work on the next iteration rather then twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next contract. Alternately maybe a large dev is pulling help from elsewhere that wouldn’t be on the project in the first place. They real question is ‘how much do you trust the publisher’

    (Aside: If it’s on the disk, there’s almost no way that it was ‘extra’ as I understand development, so that’s gotta stop.)

    Now this is where things are going to get sticky because I’ll say that for myself, I’m starting to worry about Bioware. This comes from a guy who went through every part he could of Baulder’s Gate and loved Dragon Age and suchlike.

    Trouble is, for better or for worse they have changed.

    I don’t know exactly how deeply or to what extent, maybe the personalities haven’t changed and they’re just further removed from the process, their writing staff is still top notch as always. Still, Baulder’s gate -> Baulder’s gate 2 felt far more substantial and complete then DA -> DA2. It feels as if the yearly iterations in modern games are starting to stress their development capabilities. Not unusual, this happens to many developers at some point. Studios, teams, and assets are taking more time and money.

    The thing that makes me worry is that instead of delaying or reorganizing to ensure that the content was all there and all good, they pushed DA2 out the door with a lot of copy-paste areas, this was probably the first and most serious blow to my trust in them. Then their games are quickly becoming the most ‘sharded’ experiences out there. I don’t think I’ll ever like having an NPC sitting in my camp asking me if I want to get my credit card out to go on his quest.

    On top of that, ME3 is looking kinda ‘dead-spacy’ action elements appear to be becoming the focus of gameplay, the fans have asked, and we’ve been assured it’s being ‘re-rpg-ified’ compared to 2, but Bioware’s name is on the new Command and Conquer…(?!?) I dunno… I worry for them, like a buddy you’ve known a long time but you suspect have fallen in with the wrong crowd I feel like however the shots are getting called, they’re getting called with an eye on my wallet not on my eyes.

    I really hope beyond hope I’m wrong, I’ll be thrilled if they have honestly been able to push back against the yearly iteration bit and are taking the time to make sure everything is top notch, but it feels like someone said “Sure, you can have more time, but you gotta generate additional income to make up for it.”

    Anyway, back on point I guess, I think we can all rally against ‘we were going to leave this on the disk, but this character is so popular that we can increase our profits 20% if we make it a trade-in code, regardless of the problems this will cause for consumers’ and we can mostly get behind “hey, this team wouldn’t be doing anything anyway, a sequel isn’t guaranteed, so they made this extra adventure area for you, mind tossing us a few bucks for it?”

    The question is ‘which is it?’ I don’t think DLC is all breaking one way or the other, so in the end, it comes down to trust (and to a lesser extent, pricing =P)

  • Shingro 2:21 pm on February 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    For myself, while I’m not interested in DLC most of the time, as a customer I think it’s dangerous in a trend sense not to push back when an anti-consumer practice happens. If the game is so expensive that you *absoultely must* monetize previously unorganized assets, that’s a problem with the budgets not a problem of the consumer.’ It’s sorta like rights, sure you might not ever use your right to whatever it may be, but you still shouldn’t be okay with losing it for little reason.

    It seems that the main sticking point here is ‘already on the disk’ DLC, stuff that would have been included otherwise.

    On that point I’ll mention that the only game I can think of that ‘felt’ seriously expanded compared to the non-dlc version of the game is Borderlands, I don’t think I could have expected that game to have everything from the GotY edition in it right out of the box

    Everything else though? I dunno, I’ve been playing games a loooong time, and I’d like to think that if dev teams were suddenly producing 3-6 months of extra content I’d recognize a change in game length or density. I suspect that the lion’s share of any extra time is going to bug fixes and getting it shipped. I could also imagine polish and bug fixes being ignored to work on DLC content (since that’s monetized and the granual user experience isn’t so much)

    I dunno, the pressures Day 1 DLC put on the game feel bad to me, Give me the DLC late, keep your team employed. I’ll pay attention developers, I promise.

  • mjpilon 10:20 pm on July 19, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , dlc   

    I completed Alan Wake and the 2 DLC packs yesterday. In the end, my initial issues with the gameplay were negated mostly through my decision to ignore all the collectables off the beaten path (@feenwager was completely right in this regard) as well as Remedy’s use of more focused environments (i.e less open space for random enemies to appear all around me just for the sake of frustrating me). While an number of set spaces did rely on that mechanic (hello Rock Stage) and did drive me nuts as times (although the Rock Stage actually made that one set piece memorable regardless), Remedy didn’t stick to that so much as to make me put the game down.

    My reaction to the game’s ending and subsequent DLC falls much in the same way as @bluesforbuddha described when he first played the game, namely (and I am paraphrasing here so please feel free to correct me if I mis-characterize – I am going mostly on memory): WTF Remedy and screw you for making me pay extra to get the ending I actually wanted and expected! I had avoided spoilers on this game somehow (or at least forgetting them by now), so I didn’t know exactly what to expect here – I just had some vague ideas based on discussion by the Squad. Even if I didn’t have to deal with the initial delay between the release of the game and its DLC packs, the fact that I needed to pony up more cash to see the story through further is horseshit in the highest order…. especially considering that the final DLC pack “The Writer” was actually my favorite episode in the game. I loved the “Ferris Wheel of the Mind” portion of it and the idea that most players won’t actually ever see that part of the experience is ridiculous to me.

    All in all, Alan Wake did a lot of things well… the atmosphere, the ridiculously beautiful setting in the Pacific Northwest (note to developers: more of THIS please), the episodic nature of the game which allows for each section of the game to have a nice build-up with a denouement and a cliff-hanger ending to entice you to continue, etc… Will I ever play this game again? No, simply because I have no desire to slog through the woods finding all the collectables as I pull my hair out but I am happy I got through it.

    Moving on now, as a palate cleanser, I rented Bulletstorm and so far, it is exactly what I needed after Alan Wake: just some stupid, dumb fun. While there are moments that make me shake my head in shame and be thankful that no one is around to observe my playthrough, it’s still enjoyable and will most certainly worth the 8$ I spent renting it for a week.

    @bluesforbuddha I was ready to dig back into the ‘Splosion Man experience with Ms. ‘Spolsion Man but after seeing the GB quick look and reading that, I’m not so sure anymore…. think I may wait until it hits a sale price before I give it a shot.

  • Shingro 8:02 am on April 19, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    So… 4 am and just got out of Portal 2. Game is good, well polished, gladOS is awesome and the new personality sphere is wonderful….

    However they have committed a fairly terrible DLC sin, how does 2$ per emote gesture for the co-op robots sound?

    What’s that you say? Sounds like content that has always been free since the dawn of emotes and has absolutely no reason to have become paid content? Content which was clearly removed from a complete whole on day 1 because “Well, maybe we can get away with charging for it.?

    … yeah I thought so too.

    I dunno Valve, perhaps it should be a microtransaction model, You already have my credit card number, maybe charge me a nickel per emote I trigger. Maybe charge me 25c per death too as long as we’re being arcade-ic.

    … you monster

  • Shingro 3:28 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @redswir1 Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean, give the player time to fall in love with the experiences you’ve put into the main product before offering the DLC.

    Whatever you gain from releasing DLC early is squashed by the fact that you already just paid $60 on retail and another $20 for an epilogue is hard to swallow. Alternately if it’s very cheap like colors, costumes or other ‘skin’ type things, it becomes fairly obvious that it could have easily been on the disk anyway.

    You’ll retain better feelings by not whipping out a ring on the second date, keep it in your pants publishers.

  • RedSwirl 2:27 am on April 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @Shingro Separate marketing cycles is basically what they typically do for expansion packs. They essentially treat the whole thing as a separate project, only smaller.

    Also, another good example is the Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition content that’s coming to consoles (and PC) as DLC: four new characters and some new online functionality for $15.

  • Shingro 11:01 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    @angryjedi It does, but Dragon age II while rushed a bit is a full game and can use the whole narrative structure. Could you have released Dragon Age II in 3 parts 3 months apart? From as far as I’m in the game I’d say that it might have worked pretty well. Having just finished act 1 the dramatic elements at the end of that section would have kept me interested in seeing what happened when everyone got back home.

    It does raise a few problems though, lets say someone starts on episode 2, which decisions do you have ‘flagged’ for what you did? In addition, much like TellTale games, the more episodes you have the more falloff you’ll have by the end. I’m sure there is not a 100% conversion rate between players of Sam & Max Episode 1 and Episode 2. Could Dragon Age II be a 3 episode set of DLC, and who would benefit from doing that? It seems the publishers would be unhappy giving the player an option to ‘tap out’ of their narrative sooner.

    @redswir1 unfortunately, marketing would likely say that once you got your target’s attention you can’t let them go or their interest might not come around the second time, so the extra content becomes part of the existing development cycle. Perhaps the answer is to use the Expansion pack methodology and treat DLC like a new release with it’s own marketing cycle. I honestly don’t think that announcing “we’ll have dlc in two weeks” is helpful. It’s a sort of burnout to have been hyped for the actual release and the moment that hype bubble pops trying to get hyped for DLC especially considering the average quality of current released DLC.

    Oh, on the note of Dragon Age 2… Merrill? SO adorable. Why so adorable Merrill? I swear, Google ads? When you scroll over the word Merrill, it says “If you liked Merrill, you may also like: Shana, Index, Ika musume, Takatsuki Yayoi and other irrationally adorable girls

    Well done Bioware, you made Western moe, you weirdos =P

  • unmanneddrone 10:51 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    One piece of DLC I’m pumped for is…predictably…Men of War: Vietnam. Infantry and Air Cav-centric battles in the thick jungles of Indo-China? Intrigued. Coming out very soon, I do believe.

    @RocGaude I see all the Squad starring in my next Men of War battle. Plenty more “America. Fuck Yeah!” moments to be had! @feenwager gets first dibs on the M60 in ‘Nam, though. Just seems his style.

  • RedSwirl 9:49 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    Okay, listened to the show. Thoughts:

    I think DLC is just something that the console publishers have taken and kind of perverted. The technology is essentially the same thing as the expansion packs that have been sold for PC games for years, and that’s what I hoped the situation would be like on consoles. Y’know, significant extra content placed on top of an already complete game.

    StarCraft felt like a complete game right? Then you got Brood War which felt like new challenges on the same engine. Furthermore, this is also probably the reason PC games don’t have as many incremental sequels as console games, and I hoped that console games getting expansion packs would put a stop to that.

    You buy The Sims and then all the expansion packs, and because of that you didn’t get The Sims 2 until four yeas later, and The Sims 3 five years after that. As a result, each numbered sequel felt like a significant upgrade. Same with StarCraft and StarCraft II.

    Meanwhile on consoles, you got Meg Man, then Mega Man 2, all the way up until you got eight boxed games each one full price, but maybe only two or three of those presented a significant leap. What if Capcom made one new Mega Man game, and then just released expansion packs of new bosses on that same engine until they were ready for the next big upgrade.

    In fact my idea of a “successful,” “episodic” series is the Mega Man Zero games on Game Boy Advance. They came out on a regular annual schedule, and they all formed a single cohesive storyline with each chapter having its own beginning, middle, and end. It actually felt like following a TV series with a new season coming each year.

    Instead however, what we’re getting is little bits of what feels like an incomplete game sold for extra on consoles… and we still get the incremental sequels. I can not give a shit about the Call of Duty map packs because I know there’s going to be a whole new $60 box in a year. I’d be more inclined to invest if, I don’w know, each COD game was just an expansion pack of the first current gen one that bolted onto that original game instead of replacing it. People still play COD4, and yet Activision continues to split the market with each new full release.

    My hope is that the console industry at large follows examples like “Minerva’s Den,” “Severed” (which I heard was like “Minerva”), and the GTAIV Episodes. Finish your game, and then worry about adding new content onto it.

  • Pete Davison 9:09 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, episodic content,   

    @shingro: I like to use the TV comparison when considering episodic content. Specifically, I like to use Buffy the Vampire Slayer, whose seasons are structured like a video game.

    First episode of season: Big thing happens. Introduces new characters if appropriate. May introduce antagonist.

    Follow with 8-10 standalone episodes of incidental things happening which may or may not affect the overarching narrative.

    Midpoint of season: Big thing happens. If antagonist hasn’t been introduced yet, introduce antagonist. Major thing happens to main character and/or main character dies.

    Follow with 8-10 standalone episodes of more incidental things happening with an undercurrent of “we’re building up to something big” — antagonist makes more regular appearances and starts doing more and more “major” things.

    Season finale: Climactic battle between protagonist and antagonist. Story threads from season are wrapped up. Could potentially finish entire series here if necessary due to sense of closure.

    Dragon Age II is structured like this. It works well.

  • Shingro 4:32 pm on April 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    Ahhh, King’s Bounty… It comes from an alternate universe where HoMM3 became the template for all future iterations of the series. Wonderful fun, fairly balanced between the two extremes of mage/warrior styles of play, (Paladins end up being kinda terrible, but can be used.) Creatures are great fun and due to the mechanic of limited recruitment areas you often end up trying a large set of different types of critters, which neatly takes care of the “always using the same tools until I win or die” fatigue of HoMM games. That experimentation in turn reveals different strategies through the different mechanics.

    King’s Bounty in my mind is the top of that type of game in the modern era, truly a zenith of turn based st…. hey wait a minute…. NO MULTIPLAYER?!

    … ah hell, I guess it’s fine, the fun is in a persistent character and persistent character games don’t gel well with multiplayer, still… it would be great fun even if it was terribly balanced

    Also, a quick idea at the DLC episode that came to mind when Pete mentioned that Phoenix Wright games are to some extent episode based. What would you consider Xenosaga? It was episode 1/2/3 (originally planned for 5) and looking at the games the individual pacing of the segments shifted at very odd times because of having to have the story do both Crisis -> buildup -> climax -> Dénouement for each individual episode, and also for the overarching storyline. Does the necessity of having proper story structure for the macro and micro plots fundamentally harm any story based game and prevent it from ever really being more then a ‘sitcom’ type setup?

    Xenosaga of course was not a good game by many metrics, so it’s hard to say that the idea of it coming out in pieces is what made interest wane to the point it got ‘canceled’ (or at least reduced in narrative scope to 3 episodes)

    Phoenix Wright might be the best example, Phoenix’s story is done at the moment, he had 3 games and now the torch has been passed to Apollo Justice. Also the end of the game shows there to be some sort of meta-narrative, so for them it worked. Could you do that with any game though? If Bioshock was a series of 5 episodes of each ‘level’ of Rapture, would people be talking about it the same way? Could you have an ‘episode 1’ without a climactic battle and wind down of it’s own?

  • unmanneddrone 1:45 am on April 1, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    DLC is a no-no for me unless it’s a competent expansion, and usually an expansion that offers more in the way of mechanics or gameplay enhancements. For the most part over the last few years, I’ve shied away from sprawling narrative-centric games, and after reading what most people go through with DLC announcements prior to release – plus insidious things like that Assassin’s Creed 2 business where a chapter was missing in order to peddle it later – I’m glad I don’t have the time nor inclination for these DLC-heavy titles. Still love a good open-world game, but I want the complete package before I plonk my clams down for it and not have to wait for some goddamn GOTY edition down the line.

  • Shingro 11:47 pm on March 31, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Well, the market will bear what the market will bear. There’s gonna be abuses, but they’ll sluff away as developers find that a reasonably priced and meaty DLC will earn more overall then a ‘horse armor.’ I think of it a lot like how Steam is making huge piles of money by having reasonably priced releases and huge sales.

    …. or that’s what I’d like to say… the other possibility is that it will be discovered that gamers are sheep as consumers and they’ll pay for any damn thing. I remember a news story some weeks ago where Bethesda remarked that people are STILL BUYING HORSE ARMOR, in related news Playstation Home is a giant money maker.

    … yeeeeeah…

  • bowlisimo 6:13 pm on March 31, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Ended up not buying Arrival (or any of them), word on the street is that it’s a waste of money. I don’t know if you know this guys, but the Reapers are coming.

    @cptcarnage Too true.

    @redswirl My feelings are so scattered on DLC, but yeah, that’s an important distinction to make. It’s really a personal problem I have where, after I finish a game, downloadable bite sized missions hanging out on their own after the final act are meaningless, except as a vehicle to stick around the universe for longer than I should. However optional they may be, however passable, they are something I would like to encounter while I’m actually in the thick of things and deep into the meat of the story. To that end, downloadable content (among other things) has steadily pushed me to purchase games farther and farther from release where I can do just that and for significantly less money.

    As @Beige so eloquently put it, “THE BIG FINGER to the industry that sees me here WITH MONEY IN MY HAND, WANTING to play this game yet whose business models compel me to NOT give them my burning cash.”

  • cptcarnage 4:35 pm on March 31, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    Looks like Dueling Analogs gets DLC and preorder bonuses down to a T.

  • RedSwirl 4:11 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @angryjedi @bowlisimo DLC should feel like extra content on top of an already complete game – announced AFTER said game is released. In most cases to day it feels like content artificially cut from the game and sold back to you.

    Post-game content like most of the Mass Effect 2 stuff or Dragon Age: Awakening is fine. You know they developed that after the main game was finished as a separate product. Same with BioShock 2’s “Minerva’s Den” – an entirely separate story re-using the game engine. Dead Space 2 did the same thing with “Severed”.

    What’s bad is announcing that two playable characters or, y’know, the actual ending, is separate DLC a month before the base game comes out. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get down to the Alan Wake DLC. I finished the game that came on the disc, I’m done with it.

    Part of the problem though is Microsoft’s suggestion that publishers release DLC within the first 30 days of a base game’s release. The console market still doesn’t know how to properly expand its games.

  • bowlisimo 3:17 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc   

    @angryjedi Another mark against DLC, it almost never goes down in price. I begrudgingly visited Bioware.com yesterday to buy The Arrival DLC, and also pick up Overlord, Shadow Broker, and Stolen Memory. 2480 Bioware points. First of all, fuck Bioware points, second of all, 31 dollars? What? The ENTIRE game was $50.

    Bowley couldn’t make head nor tail of it.

    So I asked my friend who had been buying them all along, his response “Yeah that’s the problem with buying it all at once”, which is to say, you realize how much you’re taking it in the ass.

  • Pete Davison 12:06 pm on March 30, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, ,   

    @Shingro: I don’t know if games were better or worse “back in the day”, but they were certainly different — in terms of ambitiousness and structure. So many games these days are designed with a DLC strategy in mind, for better or worse. In the case of narrative-led games, this disappoints me, as it makes me feel like I’m getting a half-baked product. That said, having been playing Dragon Age II for over 20 hours now, BioWare certainly seem to have done a good job of making it a satisfying experience without additional content — like Mass Effect 2, I’m guessing that the DLC in that case will be good quality but unessential to the “complete” experience. Still, I’d much rather be able to play all the content from day one.

    It’s interesting that there appears to be a West/East divide on this. Final Fantasy XIII is a complete game. There is no open-endedness to it and it finishes pretty conclusively. I can’t see where they might have put in any DLC — except perhaps as post-game content, which they’re going to cover with a full-on sequel. I don’t have any problem with the direct follow-up sequel, incidentally — for all FFX-2’s flaws, I enjoyed it very much. Contrast this with Mass Effect 2, which is getting a sequel but also has just had its “final” (hah) piece of DLC released to directly link ME2 and 3, from the looks of things.

    Certain games benefit from a modular nature. Racing games, for example. A good racing game offers a complete experience in itself, but then expands it through extra tracks, cars and the like. Fighting games, too, arguably benefit from the customisation available through DLC — though for them to announce DLC before the game is released is just obnoxious. And games like Castlevania HD benefit from “more of the same” — when the original game was only ten quid I don’t mind dropping a few more Microsoft Points on some extra levels for some variety.

    @unmanneddrone: Board games on iOS are a good point. I’d love to see more of them — and more of them with a decent asynchronous multiplayer option, more to the point. Carcassonne is a shining example of how to Do It Correctly. It doesn’t have to be just board games, either — surely turn-based strategy games are ripe for asynchronous multiplayer.

    On that note, has anyone played Dragon Age Legends on Facebook? It takes an interesting angle on the asynchronous play thing in that you can recruit your friends’ characters to join you in battle. Rather than just being a “resource” like they are in Mafia Wars, though, the characters you summon have the abilities and equipment your friends have given them, meaning it’s much more like playing an MMORPG, only without everyone having to be online at the same time. It’s also a surprisingly decent game, friendly to brief “I’m on the Internet and bored” play sessions that I’d encourage you to take a look at if you haven’t already. There’s gameplay and everything.

  • zegolf 8:50 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    @beige If your argument for Gamestop is ruining the games industry is because of the whole “used games” thing, I don’t think you should single them out. Amazon is, in most cases, the leader in value for selling your games. I’ve seen prices as much as double those of Gamestop’s. If your argument is for the whole pre-order thing, I think you’ve also got to fault Amazon and Best Buy, especially with the awful awful awful system those three jackasses have with regards to offering DIFFERENT pre-order content. I think that’s complete and utter bullshit, especially considering most of the content comes out a few months later. Damn it that pisses me off.

  • Pete Davison 6:59 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: dlc, , gamesthatevenyoulotprobablyhaven'tevenheardof   

    I’d love a return to the days of proper expansion packs. Remember Tales of the Sword Coast? Throne of Bhaal? Lord of Destruction? Falcon’s mission disks? 🙂

    The best ever expansion packs, I think, were for a practically-unknown (and totally Shameworthy) game called Damocles for the Atari ST and Amiga. The game itself was a pretty epic adventure, but the two mission disks for it added some incredibly interesting new challenges to tackle.

    Also, flat-shaded polys for the win.

    EDIT: “Best ever” is a bit strong. They were good, though.

  • iscariot83 6:08 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: dlc,   

    Here’s the cruel irony of DLC:

    If it comes out too soon after the game’s release, it should probably have been in the retail version and I won’t buy it on principle.

    If it comes out too long after the game’s release, I’ve probably already finished the game and moved on to something newer. Replaying a game where 1/100th of the content is new DLC doesn’t really strike me as worthwhile.

    The only worthwhile DLC is the kind that can stand on its own as a game. Lost and the Damned is a great example. It’s not just a couple of ‘bonus missions,’ or a new weapons set plugged into the game I already finished playing. It’s an experience worth having in and of itself.

    Also, Bowley brings up a really interesting point with the fact that developers kind of shoot themselves in the foot by encouraging us to wait for the ‘collector’s edition’ that comes out later. I bought Oblivion and all its expansions for 8 dollars on Steam last weekend. By my math, their year long DLC rollout earned them -$52 from me.

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