Should We Still Support DLC?
Like many of you, I have been getting sick and tired of all the downloadable content launched in our faces the second a big AAA game gets released into the big open world of gaming. Booting up that game for the first time and then instantly seeing some kind of store plastered on the main menu linking me to some new skins, side quests, or characters is very much something which I, like many, absolutely despise. Despite hearing so many cries from gamers everywhere, DLC is rife and the chances of publishers calling for it to be halted indefinitely are incredibly unlikely thanks to the insane amounts of cash it rakes in, but with that we surely must have some control over the crap that runs through stores as opposed to the good stuff right?
I would be lying if I were to say I was not guilty of buying a skin or two to ‘stand out’ when I was younger and much more careless, but having grown up since then, and seeing that the only way to stop these practices is to not support them, I feel compelled to write an argument against the need for people to pay for a weapon with a little more shine than the stock one. This feature however, has a much heftier focus on DLC as a whole than specific style packs. The question we as gamers have to ask is this.
At what point does a game warrant DLC?
What we can take from this, is that disregarding cost, DLC should only be made available if it is entirely necessary for the project. For the pure sake of example, and not to have a dig, let us look at the recently released Evolve for its own take on DLC structure. Evolve as a game was very much hyped to be the next big multiplayer game in the style of Left 4 Dead, and it had a huge following. After some aggressive marketing, Evolve was released and granted a slightly above average reception for the most part. 2K and Turtlerock Studios knowingly shipped the game with lots of skin packs which really should have been in the game in the first place, and kept them behind a paywall. They also have a hunting season pass (not a proper season pass, a hunting one), which would grant access to several more hunters and you guessed it, skins. Not included though (unless you preorder) is access to the fourth monster. As Evolve has very much been a commercial success but mostly a critical letdown from both a critic and user view, does it deserve to have all this DLC available so early on?
My answer to that question is a straight up and raw no. Nobody asked for the ability to look extra shiny, neither did anyone ask to pay for more monsters. With so many other games out there (specifically PC indie games) offering dozens of hours of content for one price, with good gameplay to boot, why should it be okay for an okay game to charge for such (mostly) useless content? I do not hate Evolve, but neither do I feel that it deserves all the money it has pulled in. So how does any of this relate to NetherRealm or CD Projeckt RED?
Both studios make very different games, but both studios also seem to have pretty pure ideals in what they produce. Starting with NetherRealm, they as a studio have constantly provided us gamers with excellent fighting games allowing us to enjoy fantastic characters in brilliant settings, which if you have played through are not forgotten about easily. Though they have offered DLC, the content provided has always been useful to the game, and integral to the experience. With such a great track record, I have absolutely no issue at all with buying the season pass coming with Mortal Kombat X (of which I am positive will be incredible) because I believe that the team is putting all its efforts into making the main game the best it can be before moving onto making it even better.
Developers have their deadlines which I respect, but when a game like Mortal Kombat X features a lot of characters anyway, I can accept paying for more if it will enhance my experience further. In the case of Mortal Kombat X however (and the main reason for this article), I was pretty impressed with the DLC lined up for the game. This was very clearly not a case of just shoving a character in; the developers obviously put serious thought into this as evidenced by Predator and Jason making very much welcome appearances among some other fan favourites in the Kombat pack. If the last release in the Mortal Kombat series is anything to go by, then this may well be the only character DLC we receive, but boy is it a belter. DLC is always optional, but sometimes I feel it is entirely necessary also, as with the case with a game such as Mortal Kombat X.
What of CD Projeckt RED however? Recently the team announced that The Witcher 3 would be receiving an expansion pass, which would include 2 massive quest lines spanning over 30 hours combined for just $25. The pass can be bought with the game for a $5 discount, but even the dev team has urged players not to buy the pass if they are not comfortable with paying an upfront cost for unreleased content. As CD Projeckt are very much part of the DRM free revolution, and believe that games should always be feature complete, buying the expansion pass for The Witcher 3 almost seems like it would be rude not to.
Both NetherRealm and CD Projeckt RED are great examples of development studios who seem to very much care for their games and more importantly their fans. They have both given me hope that DLC has a place in present gaming, and hopefully both of these studios show others how it is done. I cannot say it enough people, vote with your wallets. Or purses if you are of the female variant.
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