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Hines: Parts Of The Gaming Audience "Don't Understand" Day-One DLC

Matt Gardner
Bethesda Softworks, Day One DLC, DLC, On-Disc DLC, Pete Hines

Hines: Parts Of The Gaming Audience "Don't Understand" Day-One DLC

Bethesda's PR man Pete Hines has suggested that many gamers don't understand the development process, particularly when it comes to day-one DLC, noting that there's often a few weeks between finishing a game and that game's release.

Hines' argument is that, given that creatives like creating, why wouldn't they continue to work on material for the game in question in the form of supplemental DLC now that the industry has reached a stage with distribution where this is possible?

"I mean, certainly the reaction to it is pretty apparent," Hines stated on the OXM podcast. "I'm not sure if I have an exact opinion, because we're not doing it. I try not to get into judging what other folks do, I certainly don't appreciate them chiming in on what we should or shouldn't be doing, particularly because, how would they know. I understand where it's coming from.

"I think there is, at least among a certain segment of the gaming audience, I don't think they quite understand the development process and the point at which you have to stop making the game and you have to finish the game. So, the content people stop making new content a fair amount of time before it ships; it's not like in the old days when it was like the day before or a week before.

"There's a pretty long gap where your artists and designers are fixing a bug if they get one, or they may be playing the game to find bugs, but they're not making a new anything for a long time, and you have creative people who are used to creating - so why would you make them wait some period of time, months in some cases, to start making new stuff so you can say it was after DLC?"

So how come Bethesda don't seem to be doing that? Well Hines suggested that if they could have turned around large expansion packs such as Dragonborn in three weeks, they would have done. But that just wasn't possible.

"If we could have created Dragonborn and put it out just as good three weeks after release, we probably would have," he said. "But that's not even remotely possible. It's a hypothetical that's not even worth debating.

"It takes a long time to make a Dawnguard or a Dragonborn - it's not the kind of stuff you can just turn around in two weeks or three weeks. It's not that we're trying to put it out much later, we're willing to do it later, we're willing to continue to support it because we continue to believe there's a demand and an interest in that kind of stuff. We're not stalling for stalling's sake."

Hines makes a good point, and it's one that BioWare made when folks got miffed over 'From Ashes'. Of course, 'From Ashes' was actually on the disc...


Add a comment3 comments
Late  Apr. 10, 2013 at 16:24

I think some parts of the industry don't understand the gaming audience's reaction to day one DLC.
[That was supposed to be a clever reversal of the header/quote, but doesn't quite scan right - sorry!]

If we get a complete game when we buy a game then we're happy. If we can then buy completely optional additional content - that'll add to a game if you love it, but the game is perfectly complete without it, then we're happy.
And if we don't have to wait long for our DLC then we're happy.

In fact, some of us don't really have a problem with day one dlc, so long as the game is complete without it. I don't mind if there's an option to pay £1 to unlock a gun that you wouldn't ordinarily get until later in the game. So long as I'm not disadvantaged by declining it then that's perfectly fine.

What really gets our goat, though, is when you appear to have made a complete game then sectioned a part of it off - to sell at a premium.
The recent superheroes fighting game springs to mind, though I can't remember which it was. (Marvel v Capcom?) Loads of characters in the game and on the disk when you buy it - but only around half are playable, and if you want to use the other half then you'll need to get your credit card back out.

Quietus  Apr. 10, 2013 at 19:45

^ What he said.

It's got nothing to do with when the DLC is made available, day one or otherwise. It's simply a case of what they're offering. Offer me additional maps, skins, weapons, or equipment, then I don't mind at all. Trying to get me to buy two additional levels to see the 'true ending', or whatever, is bull, and should just be included in the game.

In short:

X10  Apr. 13, 2013 at 17:29

I agree with the above 2 comments, however, how do you decide what is actually part of the 'complete' game and what is an added extra?

Take Assassin's Creed 2, there were 2 bits of DLC (The Battle of Forlì & Bonfire of the Vanities) on 360 and PS3 that were released after the game, which they knew they wouldn't have time to finish so created the main game with those sections 'locked'.
For the PC version these were included and felt like part of the game as it was intended to be played.

Using Late's example, what if the developers had originally planned on only putting in half the characters in the time they had, but intended to add the rest at a later date. Eventually they realised that they had enough time to add all the assets they required onto the disc, but for whatever reason they decided to keep the release strategy of creating the DLC unlock.

I remember when IBM were selling mainframes, and you could pay for an 'upgrade' to the processor speed. However, what IBM did was simply flicked a switch on the existing hardware and removed the restriction on the speed. Of course, they charged a huge amount for the processor 'upgrade' ;)

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