5 Games With Awesome and Exemplary Downloadable Content (DLC)
With the fallout still being felt by Capcom and Electronic Arts regarding their decisions in handling DLC, the ordeal as a whole just shows just how much of a tricky area it is to navigate. While some DLC manners should be fairly obvious, companies still have troubles making those correct decisions, which end up pissing off a lot of paying customers in the process, who feel like they're being taken advantage of.
But... What about the occasions where they do get it right? For some reason, these cases don't get as much attention as they should, even though they are shining examples of how DLC should operate: as ways of extending the gaming experience for a fair price.
With that said, let's take a look at some of the cases where games did do the right thing in handling their DLC.
Mortal Kombat 9
How do you make an incredibly awesome fighter better? Offer a regular release of new characters over the course of a summer season. How do you get your customers to think highly of you? Add in free compatibility patches with said characters, and give the people that download it two free classic costumes at the same time. How do you avoid pissing off your fanbase? MAKE SURE THE CHARACTERS ARE NOT ALREADY ON THE DISC!
There's a reason why the new Mortal Kombat won Fighting Game of the Year from numerous outlets, and respecting their customers is a good part of that. To further entice MK9 players into getting the DLC, they added a Season Pass offer, allowing players to get all the characters as they were released for a lower price (as long as you were playing on the 360 that is). Combined with regular, free balance tweaks to help keep everyone on an even level, NetherRealm Studios gave players a reason to stick around after the initial bloodbath.
Now, if we can just get them to patch in a way to make button configurations not take 10 minutes to accomplish...
If there's one thing Itagaki knew during his time with Team Ninja, it was how to please his audiences. And we're not just talking about having lots of jiggly parts in the Dead or Alive games, either.
When Ninja Gaiden was reborn on the original Xbox back in 2004, fans greeted it with open arms (and the occasional swearing in regards to the game's difficulty). Team Ninja repaid this in kind by releasing not one, but two downloadable expansion packages that brought significant changes, as well as new ways to play the game, both being titled Hurricane Packs. Best of all, both of these were free of charge! How's that for customer loyalty?
Of course, with Itagaki's departure already being felt in the reception to Ninja Gaiden 3, it's probably going to be difficult for Team Ninja to execute a repeat performance.
Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption is one of those few gems you get in gaming history; approachable gameplay, a fantastic story, and a likable main character in outlaw John Marston. To top it all off, Rockstar was generous enough to provide a steady stream of DLC that not only added some extra content, but even a new game mode or two as well.
While the Outlaws to the End expansion added new multiplayer elements, it was readily made available for free for both PS3 and Xbox 360 users. Over the course of that summer, four more expansion packs would come out that would further expand on the multiplayer aspects of the game, including the addition of multiplayer Liar's Dice and Poker. The game even celebrated the Halloween season by releasing Undead Nightmare, a new single player mode with its own horror story, as well as a new multiplayer survival mode where players would try to last as long as possible against an onslaught of zombies.
All of this culminated into one more DLC package, the Myths and Mavericks pack. This one added many more playable characters for multiplayer mode, all based on the figures from the game itself, including the legendary gunslinger Landon Ricketts. Best of all, this was made completely free, as a thanks to all the fans that supported the game since day one. Now, that's customer service.
Fallout: New Vegas
Surviving in a nuclear wasteland is hard work, and in Fallout, there's normally a lot to see and do. However, Bethesda was kind enough to release a series of four DLC expansions to further enhance the gameplay in Fallout: New Vegas. These packs helped to expand on the story surrounding New Vegas, as well as provide players with some new tools to mess with.
Starting with Dead Money, these would be steadily released over the course of a year, until Lonesome Road, which would conclude the Courier's story, and help fill in the gaps left in the original storyline. After the story packs, they also released a couple more DLC packages, Gun Runner's Arsenal, and Courier's Stash, both adding new weapons and weapon mods, as well as bonus content originally exclusive to those who pre-ordered the game. To top it all off, they even released an official mod, called J.E. Sawyer's mod, named after the project director, which added a slew of changes to the game that were never officially implemented, giving players another way to explore the lands of New Vegas.
It just goes to show that when you really love what you do, it starts to show in what you put out. The people at Bethesda must really do love their jobs if they were able to provide such a constant stream of content for one of their games.
When Rock Band originally came on the scene back in 2007, Harmonix had a simple plan for post release: constant, weekly updates with downloadable songs from different genres and different artists from all over the world. To this day, they have yet to miss a deadline. In fact, they even just recently released new offerings from bands like Slayer, Evanescence, and Three Days Grace.
In fact, they just love music so much that they even created a service for players to create their own Rock Band tracks! The Rock Band Network allows users to convert their own songs for use in the game, and it has since become another outlet for up-and-coming bands to take advantage of. Ever since its release, tracks have been coming in for groups In This Moment, and the LeetStreet Boys. There have even been silly extras, such as a song glorifying Raptor Jesus.
All of this has resulted in the Rock Band series having the most DLC out of any other game in the market, with over 3000 songs currently available for download in both the RB Music Store and RB Network, and still growing. They've even recently announced Rock Band Blitz, a single-player arcade title that will be compatible with all of the tracks you've downloaded from the main game, as well as having its own downloadable extras.
Not only does this escalade earn them respect in the gaming industry, it also earns them high marks within the music industry as well, as it helps to promote rising stars, as well as new releases from current favorites. All of this has solidified Harmonix's place as one of the most respected companies out there, and one of the best practitioners of proper DLC to date.
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