Considering the horsearmor controversies of old, it’s fascinating to see how normalized downloadable content and microtransactions in games have become. It’s hard to name a single AAA release this year that launched without a ‘Season Pass’ of postrelease content and like anything, there are companies that handle these things well and companies that don’t.
It’s easy to imagine developers taking the lazier approach when it comes to developing content for a game after its launch and that’s why it’s worth highlighting and recognizes those that do DLC right. Those who don’t approaching DLC with the sole goal of making more money but see it as a chance to improve and expand on an already great game[divider] [/divider]As the spiritual successor to the Thief games, Arkane’s D ishonored h eld some high expectations on its shoulders before release. However, a lot of fans would argue that it not only met those expectations, but surpassed them to become a stealth gaming classic in its own right. This bar of quality continued to be met after release through the two storyfocused DLC expansions T he Knife of Dunwall a nd T he Brigmore Witches.
The two expansions saw players take control of Duad and experience the other side of the story they played in the main campaign, learning more about the titular assassin in the process. Arkane were careful to ensure the DLC content here met the same level of quality players found in the main campaign and it shows through the writing, visual, sound and level design. It’s one of those rare cases where a PR person promised more of what fans loved about the core game and the developers delivered precisely that.[divider] [/divider]
Though Bethesda has yet to announce any details for Fallout 4’s downloadable content, it’ll be interesting to see if they can manage to top their efforts with F allout 3. Like any Bethesda title, F allout 3 a t launch was already a massive game but each of DLC expansions added hours and hours of fullyfeatured questlines to the game.
Outside of Broken Steel, w hich directly continued the story of the main game, the
expansions for Fallout 3 made the most of their modularity. They branched out and explored locations and aspects of Fallout setting that exist outside the game’s selfserious main narrative such as the hellish Pittsburgh or the Lovecraftinspired Point Lookout.[divider] [/divider]
The developer’s of last year’s indie hit Rocket League found themselves in a sticky situation when it came to DLC. They had to strike a good balance between developing new content that players wanted to pay for, but avoid unnecessarily splitting casual and competitive audiences.
Thus far, their solution seems to be wellreceived. The paid DLC for R ocket League is largely cosmetic whilst the free updates tend to contain more gameplayrelevant things like adding new maps and ‘mutator’ functionality to the game. Psyonix’s strategy of lifting new cars from other properties like Back to the Future and Halo to be a winningone and it’ll be interested to see what other cars hit the field in 2016.[divider] [/divider]
Bioware have often been rightfully criticized for their inconsistent track record when it comes to downloadable content but they hit the mark with Mass Effect 3. From Ashes added a new companion, L eviathan e xpanded on the series’ lore in huge ways and O mega l et you revisit and reclaim Mass Effect 2’s most iconic nightclub.
When it came to DLC, Bioware listened to their fans expanding the main story experience in major ways, addressing concerns about the game’s ending and adding bucket loads of free content to its multiplayer mode. There’s so much to dig into here that it still makes me mad that EA haven’t bundled together all the DLC into a proper combined edition for fans.[divider] [/divider]
It’s fair to say that Arrowhead’s cooperative castemup Magicka was a bit of an unexpected indie hit. It’s impressive then, just how well the developers of the game managed to capitalize on this success and deliver this much downloadable content in its wake.
Arrowhead pumped out DLC expansions for the game themed around everything from the Vietnam War to Star Trek. Their widereaching approach to postrelease content provided something for everyone, and never for more than a few dollars apiece.[divider] [/divider]
Eurogamer’s Chris Shilling once described S aints Row IV as “the Sistine Chapel ceiling of stupidity” and developer Volition definitely lived up to that legacy when it came to the game’s postrelease content. First with the fourthwall breaking E nter the Dominatrix, and then with the festive How the Saints Saved Christmas.
While plenty of games do skinpacks, Volition really outdid themselves with Saints Row IV. Alongside new weapons, characters and vehicles, they even added new powers. Even the standalone expansion G at Out Of Hell feels like a significant addition to an already pretty expansive title though the writing isn’t quite a sharp as that of the main game.[divider] [/divider]