David Brickley of Rebellion Developments, creators of upcoming (and, paradoxically, old school) Aliens Vs. Predator, has spoken out about the practice of releasing DLC locked on a game’s disc, and then asking people to pony up more money to access it.
Chatting to SPoNG, Brickley divulges a typical game’s development cycle and how there is no excuse for bleeding consumers for content that should have been part of the shipped product.
It’s quite simple to explain, but I do think players are entirely right – if the content is on the disc already there’s absolutely no justification for studios to offer DLC which is essentially an unlock key or something. But I guess what doesn’t come across to some people is that when a game hits the shelves, it’s probably been wrapped up for four or five months in any true sense.
The time between finishing the game and retail is usually spent on debugging – you can spend months and months just fixing errors and glitches to ensure the product is finished and ready for release. Then when you factor in the console approval and the manufacturing process, you’re talking about a substantial part of the game’s overall development time.
While all of that stuff is going on, it tends to free up resources at the studio, so they can make items that can be added on as DLC afterwards. I think people outside of that process assume that the development of a game and its DLC are executed in parallel, and that’s really not the case.
It’s important to note that DLC is not the devil. The concept of downloadable content is seen as a new tool publishers and developers alike use to dissuade consumers from parting with their games back to the likes of GameStop, EB and GAME; a way of combating the second-hand games market. Which is the devil, at least if you’re the likes of EA, Activision or any number of developers who receive nought when someone picks up your castoffs. DLC is also a great way for players to continue with a game long after the core elements have been finished. But when it’s used as a way to extract more money from someone who has already supported the product, many take umbrage with such a practice.
Unsurprisingly, Rebellion have their own plans for DLC after Aliens Vs. Predator is released. Plans we’re fairly confident will not entail telling players that there is some cool Marine skins or Predator weapons already on the disc – now, if you just send us £4.99/€5.99/$6.99, they’re yours to enjoy forever!
Via Kotaku (Thanks TSBonyman)