Mages Inspires a Brief Reflection on DLC

Needless to say I have been following Phantom Breaker pretty closely. As I was running the response to me questions through Google Translate though, the blog was also updated with a post about information leaks addressed to other developers. Basically, the guy writing the blog felt bad about announcing the DLC so early and worries about if it will hurt the game sales and what gamers think about it.

It’s a real legitimate issue. I mean, many of us have an intense distaste for DLC because we have been burned so many times in the past. Good DLC is extra added content put in after the game comes out. However too frequently we see content getting cut to be re-sold as DLC or the content already being on the disc.

With the rising cost of game development, DLC is a necessity for some developers. Especially lower budget developers. They know their game will only sell to a niche market and so they have to milk the few consumers they have. I can’t help but sympathize. I would much rather buy a niche game and be milked for money than have the developer make a stumbling attempt at a main stream game that would inevitably put them out of business.

If I had to explain my stance on DLC though, it would have to be “overtime”. DLC is essentially the “overtime” of game development. When I buy a game I am paying for the time and energy put into making it and that should include all of it. When I am charged another $5 for an extra character, that should be made after the game. I am essentially paying for overtime.

The other thing, and the reason why “real” DLC is important is the promise of infinite expandability. If Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds is a success and the DLC goes over well, then could a second DLC be made that adds even more characters and stages? Or would we have to wait for a sequel instead.

To look at it another way, let’s take a look at Dragon’s Dogma. A friend of mine is currently complaining because he just bought the game and quite a bit of DLC. However all the DLC was on-disc. As such Dragon’s Dogma lacks the “hooks” necessary to add more. But since the game was a success and the DLC is selling well, Capcom intends to release MORE! But to do so, players need to buy the whole game again!

They’re selling it as Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, which is the same game but with expanded content. Essentially Super Dragon’s Dogma EX+Alpha.

To their credit, Capcom is trying to make it up to existing players by giving them free stuff for upgrading. However it is still a massive embarrassment prone to pissing off existing fans.

DLC is Expansion Packs. Expansion Packs are DLC. Releasing an “expanded” edition of a game in this day and age is generally a bad idea. Is it really so hard to plan ahead and put the “hooks” in place to allow for downloadable content, even if none is planned?

Of course this looks even worse on a game like Dragon’s Dogma where DLC was indeed planned, but only a finite amount that had already been created.

Going back to Phantom Breaker: Battelgrounds, was the DLC announced too early? Maybe just a little bit. It is enough to raise some eyebrows but the developer put some key words in there. Namely they said that they had only just begun working on the DLC. In fact, they only announced it because it was on their minds as the first compatibility tests were being done. So it is indeed “real” DLC and they are currently working “overtime” so I would call it good.

Trust me, you guys already have my money. (You would have more of it if the original Phantom Breaker ever got it’s freaking US release! Dangit 7Sixty!)

…actually, I just realized something kind of ironic: Mages IS DLC in Hyperdimension Neptunia V! DLC which was announced before the game was released!

MAGES_DLC

DLC which I am also letting slide because of the low budget of the game and I think the companies involved get a cut of the DLC money (hence why characters from previous games are much cheaper DLC).

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