Castlevania DLC Sensationalism?
Honestly, this blog should focus more on the numerous failures of the gaming press; and it would if reading their ramblings didn’t cause me to continually slam my head into the nearest hard surface! Today though, let’s take a look at something a little different than the usual bad reviews and instead poke at some sensationalist reporting!
As you’re probably well aware, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is a multiplayer online cross-over Castlevania released as a $15 XBox Live Arcade title. With it’s nearly complete lack of plot and stage-centric nature, Castlevania HD seems like it would be perfect for DLC, and it is. Heck, they even have a “Downloadable Content” option on the main menu! So we knew some DLC would eventually be on the way.
Within hours of the game’s release, some information leaked about upcoming DLC on GameFAQs. Apparently two characters, Maria Renard and Julius Belmont, and a pyramid stage were on the way! Well of course every gaming news site worth it’s salt (and quite a few that aren’t) ran this story. So what’s the problem? Well each one put their own irritating ending spin on it! Let’s take a look at 1up.com’s post to see what I mean:
“If you look close, the size of the new stage is a scant 4MB. How could that be? As Wired postulates, perhaps because most of the content was already nestled in the game’s original release, and all this DLC will do is unlock it.”
It’s a well known fact that everyone hates unlock keys. However, it’s also a well known fact that 4 MB, while a small file size, is way too big to be an unlock key (which are usually under 200KB)! Considering we’re talking about 16-bit sprites, 4MB sounds pretty reasonable. While I’d like to chalk this up to sensationalism, 1UP blames Wired for this information. So, let’s see what Wired has to say:
“One last interesting image suggests that all of these additions will be separate downloads and that the new chapter will only be 4 megabytes of data. A file size that small could mean that much of the new content is already sitting on users’ hard drives waiting to be unlocked. That’s likely to irk more than a few potential customers, especially given the $15 price tag of the original game.”
Pay close attention to the wording here. What they say is correct, the reason the file size is so small is because numerous assets, like enemies and certain stage elements, are recycled. The issue here is with the wording about much of the new content waiting to be “unlocked”. There’s no unlocking going on here, it’s just recycling. We can already see that the bat winged dogs that spit bubbles are in the stage and we’ve seen them before in stages 2 and 3. That’s not content “waiting to be unlocked”, that’s “recycling”. There is a difference.
Then again, that could just be poor wording rather than trying to be intentionally inflammatory. Ripten, on the other hand, doesn’t mess around:
“With this content seemingly being made available so soon, it makes you wonder if Konami was simply holding them back to procure more money from us gamers in a timely fashion. These new levels and characters wont be free of course . . .What do YOU think?”
Was that a rhetorical question? I understand you’re merely suggesting that content was withheld from consumers for the sake of DLC, but you can’t deny that you’re almost intentionally trying to start something with that statement.
I think an equally likely answer is that while beta testing, Konami immediately got to work on a first set of DLC both to test the DLC functionality of Harmony of Despair and to gague the marketability of said DLC while the new Castlevania is still fresh in people’s minds.
Do I have proof that this is what happened? No, but neither do you.