Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Bullshit of DLC

The Bullshit of DLC

Note: This is an old post that was sitting unpublished in my draft list. It may be outdated in terms of some specific details. 

Okay, so I have been bitching about DLC for quite some time, on an intermittent basis. While I have provided some examples in the past of what I believe constituted bullshit, ripoff, exploitative DLC, and what I considered fair DLC worth purchasing, I never provided an open shut case for my stance.

This time, however, I have done some homework, and I think what I have come up with constitutes damn near investigative journalism. Hey, if the 'pro' video game journalists don't have the balls to do it, someone has to step up and do it for them, right? Might as well be me!

So, let me lay out my case, and you be the judge. Are people like me who bitch about DLC just a bunch of complainers who should STFU and embrace the future, or do we have a point, and are we merely looking out for the best interest of all gamers, and the industry as a whole (in terms of the long term)?

First, let us take a look at Assassin's Creed 2:

Assassin's Creed 2

Players, upon completing Chapter 11, found that Chapters 12 ans 13 were oddly MIA. The game took you straight to Chapter 14. Lo and behold, some time later, those two missions are released as DLC.

'Upcoming DLC Was Cut From Assassin's Creed 2' (http://www.1up.com/news/upcoming-dlc-cut-assassin-creed)

“News of the downloadable content planned for Assassin's Creed 2 was met with some skepticism from fans. The pieces will fill in two noticeable missing chunks of the main game, Sequences 12 and 13, and some accused Ubisoft of keeping them out of the game to charge for them as DLC later. As it turns out, those accusations were half-right, and creative director Patrice Desilets opened up about the reasoning in a recent Kotaku interview.”

“In the middle of 2009, his team informed him that they wouldn't have time to fully test the game as it was currently planned. "I felt that, 'Okay, there were too many things to do and to finish.' So we said, 'let's take a portion of the game that was planned and we'll give it in as DLC.' We'll remove some stress to the team while giving more to fans and people who like Assassin's Creed."

“Desilets is confident he made the right choice. "I think we gave them so much content that they cannot say that we owe them, that we didn't give them a lot for their 60 bucks," he said”

Testing? LOL! Apparently they STILL didn't have enough time for testing, even after removing the content from the game before release: From the IGN review of Mission 13, held back from the game and sold later as 'The Bonfire of the Vanities:'

"Bonfire isn't as polished as the original retail game was, though. You'll notice strange audio pops here and there, lip synching is sometimes off, and sound seems to be completely missing from a couple cut scenes."

Lol! They couldn't test this in time, so they cut it out and “gave” it to gamers later (for a fee) and they STILL didn't thoroughly test it! What a fucking joke!

So let's get this straight. Ubisoft sets a release date, has trouble making it, and then punishes the gamer for their own problem? If they could not make the release date, why not delay? Or, if they had to hold back the content, due to their own error.....why not do as you said you were doing and -give- it to the player? Aka, release it free. Why the fuck should the gamer pay more money for YOUR FUCKING GREED FUELED INABILITY TO RELEASE THE GAME PROPERLY? That's like buying a pizza and the chef holds back on an ingredient so he can get it out to you on time, a time which is self imposed, and then charges you, the customer, for said ingredient.


From the Joystiq review (http://www.joystiq.com/2010/01/27/review-assassins-creed-2-battle-of-forli-dlc/) of the first of the two pieces of DLC (Chapter 12: The Battle of Forli) for Assassin's Creed 2:

“Initially scrapped from the main game due to time constraints, Battle of Forli seems like an acceptable casualty in Ubisoft's war to complete Assassin's Creed 2.”

“It's more Assassin's Creed 2, and while these missions don't stand out as some of the game's best, they do provide some worthwhile background (in lieu of any Achievements, apparently). Much like a movie DVD's offering of a deleted scene, it's something non-essential that eager fans will find of interest.”

“...underwhelming, one-hour length...”

“Battle of Forli will be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this Thursday, January 28, for 320 MS points / $3.99.”

$4 for underwhelming held back content. Great deal! Content that was held back because they are too greedy to set the release date back a bit, and then too greedy to do the right thing and include the content free, as it was already supposed to be in the game.

It gets worse, though, folks, much worse, so if you're not yet convinced, keep reading.

Oh, and by the way, did reviewers mention this in their reviews?


Destructoid (4.5/10...LOL): Nothing

IGN (9.2/10): Nothing

Gamespot (9.0/10): Nothing

GiantBomb (4/5 aka 8.0/10): Nothing

1UP (A-): Nothing

5 'major' reviews chosen at random. Not one mention of the 2 missing chapters. Great work there, journalists!

Let's look at Fable III:

Fable III

An article entitled 'Fable III and the Latest DLC Ripoff!' on MS Xbox World (http://www.msxbox-world.com/xbox360/news/article/13510/Fable-III-and-the-latest-DLC-rip-off.html) had this to say:

“Every hero wants to look different from their peers, especially in the online playing field, and so whilst the game offers a healthy mix of dyes to paint your characters clothing, if you really want to stand out then you'll have to spend 80 points on dye packs to do so.

What's interesting is the game offers white dye to mess around with, for those with a holy spirit and a pure looking character, yet for the more popular darker looking characters using black dye, you have to pay the premium. What adds sizeable chunks of salt into the wound is the fact that Fable II had all the dyes included in the retail game... at no extra cost.”

And then, even more telling, was this:

“It appears that Microsoft had the content up (various dye packs, extra mission, weapons and outfits, plus Free weapons packs. But this has since been removed which will no doubt appear at a later date.”

So, the content was being purposely held back in an effort to make it look slightly less, well, of a ripoff, but some buffoon accidentally uploaded it to the marketplace, showing us that this content was already done and ready to go from day 1. Why? Because it was held back from the main game, obviously? Don't think so? Explain to me, then, why the white dye is in the game but the black is not. If they weren't holding it back to sell it, if it was a mistake or they ran out of time, why are they charging for it? And why was it included in Fable II?

Some other amazing examples of ripoff, bullshit DLC that is an insult to the intelligence of all gamers, and a travesty indeed, knowing that people paid for them:

Few Random Games

Street Fighter IV's alternate costume's. I have used this example before and really, it alone should be enough. The arcade version of SFIV had a bunch of alternate costumes. When the game was ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360, the costumes were nowhere to be found. At least, on the disc, that is. They were easily found on the PSN and Xbox Live Marketplace, where they could be PURCHASED. Capcom removed costumes from the game to sell them as DLC. Open shut case right there, but let's move on, shall we? I have more. Much more.

Mafia 2's free roam mode. What the fuck. Mafia 1 was an open world game. Mafia 2 is as well....er, or not. It becomes one once you pay ten bucks after the fact! What incredible bullshit. Even more amazing is that hackers revealed that the content was already included on the game disc for the PC version, and then removed. Can it get any more clear? They had free roam built in to the game, but made it so that it needed to be unlocked via a DLC code, which of course cost $10. Free roam was in Mafia 1, btw. No DLC bullshit there. And how was this game marketed, you might ask? Well, as a free roam, open world sandbox game, of course!

Oh, and when was free roam released? Two weeks after the game.

1Up wrote a small article about it entitled 'Mafia 2's DLC Done Wrong' (http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9044384)

You can read more about it there if you wish.

Dante's Inferno. There's a prequel level, and all sorts of other shit. Lots of it, in typical EA style. The worst offenders? The augmented abilities. For example, you know how in every hack n slash game since, well, almost ever, you have the ability to cancel out of a combo once you have started it? Well, not in Dante's Inferno. If you start a combo, you're stuck with it until completion.....unless of course you fork over a couple of dollars for the Triple Relics Pack, which includes the Brain of Ruggieri ability. This allows one to cancel out of a combo at any time.....like you SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FROM THE OUTSET. So what are the options here? Did they hold this back on purpose? Or was it an oversight? If it was an oversight....WHY ARE THEY CHARGING? .....exactly. I don't see a way out of this one. They pulled a dick move, and they got away with it. Why is no one calling them on this?

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. One of the paid DLC items is the 'WWE Superstar Attribute Customizer.' And what, pray tell, does this do? Oh, it lets you edit the wrestlers' attributes, something games have been doing for decades. You want to do it in SvR 2011 though, you need to pay $1. “It's just one dollar,” one could say, but one would be missing the fucking point. WHY do you need to pay for this?

BlazBlue: SEVEN DOLLARS for one character. I don't know if the character could have been included in the game proper or not (probably could have) but ONE character costs more than 10% of the price of the full game. That's asinine!

Dragon Age: Origins. Warden's Keep: $7 DLC on day one? And one of the features of said DLC? A fucking storage chest, which players can use to store some of the many, many items they will collect while playing this huge game. Storage chests, even ones that work across all saved games, are a feature of games of this magnitude, and to not have one in this game is near criminal, but to then have one included in a paid DLC? Wow, that's fucking low. BioWare's claim? They tried to implement the storage feature in the full game, but could not get it working properly.....yet, they somehow got it working properly in time for the day one dlc. Now, I know you could say that they could have been working on it in the time since the vanilla game had gone gold, but even if that is true, and they aren't just lying....WHY ARE THEY CHARGING FOR IT? If they know it should have been included in the game proper, they easily could have patched it in for free.


Look, DLC can be great, when done right, but so much of it is bullshit like the examples listed above that someone needs to stand up and say “NO.” New content that comes out months after a game's release; content that adds hours of play for a fair price......that's excellent. We can all rally behind that. It's beneficial to everyone involved. Financially for the publishers/developers, and in terms of replayability/entertainment for us, the gamer. Extending the life of a game with thoughtful, worthwhile and fair priced content is great, and should continue.

Stripping content from a game to sell later is downright evil, if I may co-opt the word. Selling something that was included in previous iterations in the series, or in other games of the type is not quite as bad, but pretty damn close. If it's standard, say, for survival horror games to have an unlockable survival mode available after completion of the game, and you are developing a new survival horror game, DON'T develop a survival mode to be sold separately. Games cost MORE this generation as it is. Stop trying to get us to spend even MORE on gradually shrinking content.

And if the issue is that games truly don't cost enough, well, raise the fucking prices then, and start including everything in the game! Save us the fucking hard drive space, the time, and the headache already! Oh, and while you're at it, stop breaking up game content to offer different pre-order bonuses to different stores! It's gotten to the point now where you literally can't have an entire game unless you buy multiple copies, and who the FUCK's going to do that?

It's a shame that our so called “journalists” in the field, you know, the ones who are supposed to represent us? The ones who are supposed to look out for our interests? Have our back? Ya, it's a shame that they actually work for the corporations. They are slaves to the advertising dollars, and that's to whom their loyalties lie, not us. That's why it's gamers like me bringing this shit up, trying to start the conversation, and not them. Assassin's Creed 2 was missing two chapters of the fucking game, for fuck's sake! The game scored high 8's and 9's, and there didn't seem to be much, if any, mention of the fact that two chapters had clearly been ripped out of the game! They should have been ALL OVER Ubisoft for that, but instead, they were too busy ogling the game's graphics and mistaking pretty visuals for a 9.2/10 game.

Some of you might think I am going over the top, but this industry is in trouble if we don't fix some shit, I'm telling you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell magx01 and the rest of The Thoughtful Gamers what's on your mind!