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BioWare: 'Fans Want Day-One DLC'

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
BioWare, Day One DLC, DLC

BioWare: 'Fans Want Day-One DLC'

It 'Makes Content Available On Their Time'

Bioware's director of online development Fernando Melo believes that launch DLC can be an important part of a game's growth, and that fans want it more than they'd have you believe. However, the key is apparently to foster open and honest communication with the fanbase to ensure that they don't say "you're lying to us."

"Contrary to what you might hear on the internet, fans do want more content. They tend to say, ‘I want it now,” Melo said during a GDC panel attended by IGN. "The problem with day one content and the challenge around it is that the right answer for now is different for every player. There is no single right time, there is no single now. It’s subjective, and it’s unique to every player.”

Melo posits that launch DLC "just means you're making [content] available on their time. They choose when to pick that up. It's not based on us. It's not based on some first-party release schedule. It's there, if they want it they can pick it up day one. If they don't, they can wait until they've finished their game." Essentially, consumers can decide whether to get involved on release, to wait or simply to ignore it - especially since a whopping proportion of players never even reach the end of a game.

The online development director also clarified that launch DLC is usually developed after a game goes into certification, i.e. that the game is shipped off in a finished state to platform holders a couple of months before release, thus freeing up the developers to work on entirely new content. Going forward, Melo believes that only a "culture" of communication with the fanbase will help to shatter some of the myths surrounding the controversial content delivery model.

"If you have a consistent culture of how you’re communicating to your fans, that will increase the number of people that are more likely to believe in your explanation. You’re not lying to them, but they will take whatever you’re saying as like, ‘you’re lying to us.’ That will always be there. The only way that that’s going to go away is you fast forward a few more years, where this is just normal."

“Every game is digital from day one. Every game is an ongoing service, almost like an MMO, where on any given day new content shows up. Maybe that’s part of the base package, and maybe it’s a premium feature.”

Many fans took umbrage with Mass Effect 3's Prothean character DLC, not to mention Street Fighter X Tekken's (reprehensible) on-disc characters. We take an incredibly dim view of on-disc DLC, but the day-one debate is likely to rage on. What's your take on it?

Add a comment3 comments
Kopite211  Aug. 14, 2012 at 10:45

If its free then go for it but something feels a little wrong to have to pay two fees for one game on launch day especially if the day one DLC may be game changing, granted on disc DLC is a far worse kettle of fish. However if a company was to confirm the game went gold and that they were then working on additional DLC I guess it puts a different more acceptable spin on it all. Now where's all those classic SSX tracks and THPS HD maps please?

Korma  Aug. 14, 2012 at 12:10

The arguments get lost because people keep talking about different DownLoadable Content and Disc-Locked Content as if it's the same thing. It doesn't matter if it's available day 1 or not, being on the disc already is something Cheat Codes or gameplay used to be able to unlock. Now you have a sliding scale of exploitation, the line for everyone is in a different place but the fact you need to be drawing a line is a bad thing itself.

Dirt 3 had badly integrated DLC. In the game menus you had floating pyramids that had events on each side and once you completed all the races in those events with a gold medal that trangle turned gold. So you would progress and make the whole pyramid gold as you completed more of the game.

Eventually you could have everything gold, but only if you did it before the first DLC came out. When the DLC arrived it un-golded the pyramids by adding in events to the sides of them. This was for everyone, whether you bought the DLC or not, so it ruined the progression reward for the main game, unless you bought and completed all the DLC.

DLC of any kind gets a bad reputation because of things like this. Publishers need to understand specific problems people have with DLC and not just ascribe complainers a generic "They think we're lying to them". We know what you are doing with the DLC, sometimes it's just the DLC price/effect that we don't like.

phil16  Aug. 14, 2012 at 13:31

No - I don't. I got so fed up with all the DLC around ME3 I've stopped playing it. Just make a decent game with a 'complete' story Bioware.

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