Nitpick: Downloadable Predicament

Now, there’s the possibility the developers were working on the DLC simultaneously with the main game, or the fact that there are two development teams — one working on the main game and the other on DLC. I’ve seen and heard people using this as justification for a game’s day-one DLC, but I cannot accept this. Why does day-one DLC using this justification exist? It shouldn’t be allowed. Why are developers separating teams rather than dedicating all resources to the completion of the main game?! It just doesn’t make sense. Then there’s the infamous reason of developers having nothing to do once the game goes golden — which means it’s being printed. Usually, a game goes gold a few weeks or up to a month and a half prior to launch. I can’t imagine a developer creating a feature-filled DLC with only that small of a window. 


What games are guilty of this? When it first launched, Mass Effect 3 received DLC called From Ashes, which was highly controversial due to its day-one presence. Additionally, it sparked more flames because the content was included part of the collector’s edition. Doesn’t it scream to you that the collector’s edition is the proper packaged deal, rather than the main game? It does to me. As a result, I stress that proper DLC is created after the game goes gold or after its launch. This means that the content will be given proper treatment. These are the reasons why I can’t stand day-one DLC practices and why it shouldn’t be allowed in the industry. 

Let’s move on to my second nitpick with DLC: on-disc. Capcom is the biggest offender for on-disc DLC, and it’s extremely laughable when they try to justify it. As you already know, I believe that content is best created after the game goes gold. Unsurprisingly, on-disc DLC is content that is on the game’s disc but locked out of the player’s access. By buying an unlock key, players are able to access the locked content. Capcom’s methodology is that unlocking the DLC on the disc using an unlock key and downloading the content off of the internet is the same thing, except they’re saving the players the trouble of downloading large amounts of data. Doesn’t this sort of defeat the purpose of DLC? I mean… the word downloadable is in the name, right? 


Street Fighter X Tekken is one of the latest releases of Capcom, and it was bold enough to hold a large cast of characters on the disc, yet players couldn’t have access to them until the DLC was released. Technically speaking, the DLC was released in the sense that it’s already on the disc, but you would have to wait for Capcom’s permission to access it. Why would you do this to the player? The content is already done, it’s essentially being rubbed in your face by existing on the disc, yet you can’t do anything about it until Capcom gives you a key, letting you finally have a go at it. It’s a mediocre practice. This act is essentially ripping out the main game and sectioning it off so players can’t access it, and then having the balls to release it as a fully-featured whole game, when it clearly isn’t. 

Downloadable content is something to be enjoyed. I’m not saying day-one and on-disc DLC can’t be enjoyed, but the methods employed to release such content can ruin the experience. Sure, they shouldn’t impact how one plays the game or critiques it, but it can easily skew a person’s perspective of the game and the company that created it. For me personally, I dislike Capcom’s DLC practices, and as a result, it’s hard for me to look at them in a positive light. It’s rather disappointing. My nitpick with DLC is as thus: if you’re not going to release it properly, don’t do it. 

While I do nitpick about various gameplay elements in video games, I like to take a break and nitpick about things in the industry as well. This week, I want to share with you my gripe about downloadable content (DLC). This method of distributing content to lengthen a game’s lifespan and playability is something that has become extremely prominent in this generation. While there are various hotly debated issues regarding DLC, I want to primarily focus on only two types of issues regarding downloadable content: day-one DLC and on-disc DLC.

Before I begin, I want to give a brief background concerning my belief in DLC so you don’t misunderstand any of the problems I have regarding the previously stated issues. I believe that DLC is meant to primarily lengthen the game’s playability. If you enjoyed a game, surely you want more content so you can enjoy it even more, right? One great example is The Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I absolutely enjoyed exploring, talking to people and questing through the various storylines in Oblivion. However, I wanted more of Oblivion after going through everything. Lucky for me, there was a DLC called Shivering Isles that made my wish come true. This lengthy additional content was like a second helping a delicious meal that I absolutely needed more of. 


Another focus of DLC should be to give players a reason to come back to the game after a break. Spending an exorbitant amount of time on a single game can wear someone out, and I’m no different. Sometimes I want to come back to the game, but there isn’t really anything new that makes me want to play it again. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is a perfect example for this situation! It’s been almost a year since Dark Souls came out, yet there’s new content. I’ve been craving more Dark Souls for a while, and Prepare to Die was the answer. 


So what exactly about day-one DLC can I not stand? I believe that a game should be feature-filled and not missing pieces. Day-one DLC almost feels like it goes against those principles since it’s content that could’ve been in the game, yet it was released separate from its primary release. Why would you have additional content available at the game’s launch? If I was a consumer, I’d feel as if the content was removed from the main game and sold separately just so the developers can make more money. Whether the developers did remove parts from the main game and sold it separately or not, the fact remains that people will look at the game in a bad way.