Ubisoft’s AC3 DLC Content Appears To Get It Right
Once upon a time, before the realization that I was being ripped off began to sink in, I was a big fan of DLC. This is obviously a hangover from the days when true expansion packs for PC games added to the experience of the game, could be enjoyed separately from it, and didn’t contain content clearly cut from the original release. I have now come around to the idea that if I’m going to pay for additional content, it had better be for either aesthetic, optional perks, or for content that is big enough to feel relevant and exists somewhat separately from the launch version, which should have been complete anyway.
Just for example, Saints Row the Third has been an exemplar of how to do this right: Most of their DLC was nothing but cosmetic buffs, like new vehicles and costumes (plus some hilarious abilities), none of which were necessary for full enjoyment. In fact, most of the vehicles were simply reskinned versions of those you’d eventually earn access to during normal gameplay, they just become available to you much earlier in the game (which makes your 80th playthrough a hell of a lot easier.) Their three story-based DLC packs were just brilliant. None of them have anything to do with the main storyline, they’re just insane and hilarious (one involves filming a movie, the other a game show, and the final one a science fiction monster movie parody.)
Assassin’s Creed 3 also seems like it’ll be handled correctly, with the first major DLC packet taking place in an alternate continuity unrelated to the main game itself, in which George Washington becomes a dictator after the Revolutionary War. It’s an extremely cool idea that gives players real value but isn’t actually necessary for enjoyment of the main game, and I approve. Speaking to OXM, Lead Designer Steve Masters explained Ubisoft’s approach to the game’s DLC, and it’s promising.
“For me, the DLC has always been a touchy thing for putting important story moments into,” he told them. “Ultimately it fractures the audience and makes it really difficult for people to keep up with what is the canon of the series. For us, we want to have a little fun with it, and have a less serious experience, a less earnest experience, and setting it in an alternate history environment gives us room and freedom to play around with things in a more whimsical manner.”
“We think people are going to enjoy it, have fun with it – we’ve just got to remember it’s not part of the canon, it’s just there as something for players to enjoy.”