“Dead Island” DLC On The Way ALREADY?

 

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

Well, how nice. Deep Silver isn’t wasting time pumping out some Dead Island DLC. You’ll excuse me if that actually hacks me off a little bit.

The anticipated undead-slaying, action-adventure/RPG mash-up just hit shelves Tuesday – and many are probably only barely shin-deep in the game by now – but publisher Deep Silver has already announced that players won’t be waiting much more than a few weeks before the game’s first new maps become available, reports Eurogamer today. Pardon my saying so, but whoopity-crap! It’s great that the Bloodbath Arena package includes four new maps, for which buyers who ordered from online retailer ShopTo received a voucher to unlock them immediately upon the package’s release, but the cart has been placed so closely before the horse, that the horse is concussing itself face-planting into it.

I’ve got a great deal that I must say about the con of DLC (and how if some developers and publishers were more dedicated to better finished products hitting shelves, gamers would get better games and DLC would still be a perfectly lucrative cash-cow.) But there’s so much ground to cover, that I’m already developing a three-article series and maybe even my first vlog bitching about how DLC has only birthed new ways gamers get fleeced regularly.

For now, a few things to get straight.

I get the business rationale behind how publishers play the DLC card: they nickel-and-dime players with trinkets like map packs, weapon upgrades, new characters and interchangeable character skins because they can, and given the proof that to paraphrase Blues Traveler, both sides know that no matter what the waitress brings, the gamers will drink it and always be full and never question the big picture, it makes too much sense not to play the consumers this way.

I get the fact that – though it’s central to my gripe about the great DLC hustle – the replay value of many games sinks like a stone without periodically rolled-out extras.

Conversely, I get why gamers eat the stuff up with a spoon. The best DLC is the cherry atop an already “finished”-feeling game like Batman: Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed 2, to name my two favorite example. The “Arrival” mission DLC that closed out Mass Effect 2 might not have blown me away the way it did others, but it was rolled out far enough after the fact that it did what it was supposed to: expanded a story that already felt complete by the time I’d finished it, did so in a satisfying way, built Mass Effect 3 anticipation and extended the game’s already expansive replay value.

I understand those factors. But the game just hit shelves Tuesday. That means these maps have probably been ready a good while – at the latest, they were completed once the main game had been finished, tested and erroneously given a quality-control stamp of approval. This smacks of piss-poor resource allocation.

An errant bug here and there? That happens. That could be understood. The way some feature or another functions unexpectedly engenders broad player complaints? Companies usually throw together a patch, and that quells the frustrated masses. But consider the complaints about Dead Island already, and these set aside entirely that for such a hotly anticipated game, it’s getting some surprisingly low review scores from credible critics like the 6.5/10 that the U.S. version of Official Xbox Magazine gave it, the 7/10 that the U.K. version gave it or the Metacritic scores of the 81, 71 and 72 (all out of 100) critical scores for respectively the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.

Also worth noting, many user Metacritic scores fall even below those.

That’s not even addressing the 3.5/10 that Edge magazine gave it. IGN, on the other hand, scored it an 8/10, but both complained about many of the same issues with glitches, presentation and game-play issues.

Reviews should be the least of Deep Silver’s worries. Complaints have arisen a whopping three days since the U.S. release about the incorrect version that Steam launched, warnings about the game erasing PC saves upon updating (which should be considered nigh unforgivable), and the publicity nightmare that could’ve been the discovery that a code line references a “Feminist Whore” skill. Developer Techland has already apologized regarding that last point, and explained to Kotaku that it was a private joke-name for Purna’s unlockable “Gender Wars” skill, but in a post “Hot Coffee” era, that’s just a headache that one must think common sense could avert easily.

So with all that evidence taken into consideration, it makes one wonder: could this have been avoided, had the right people had their heads in the right places? Namely, had they made sure they weren’t putting out a game that chanced becoming more frustrating trouble than it was worth because of aggravating glitches instead of having the first slate of DLC completed and release-dated before the faulty main game had even hit shelves?

Quite frankly, hitting people up to spend more money on DLC for a much-hyped-but-severely-glitched game takes some balls. Really? You let consumers buy an inexcusably flawed game, then have the nerve to actually charge for the DLC that you’d set to hit shelves only weeks after your inexcusably flawed game hit the market?

At the very least, admit that more priorities were misplaced, and maybe resources should’ve been shifted toward more thorough testing and away from nickel-and-dime DLC whose very presence that soon after the release just makes one wonder, “If it’s out this soon, why not just include it in the game?”

Just know this much, developers and publishers: it can look really, really bad on you, rolling out DLC for purchase that quickly after an anticipated title rolls out and reviewers and players alike point out the many ways the game you sold them played like shit and didn’t work the way it should.

That’s when, instead of a cash-cow, your DLC should become an apology.

Friends! GamerXChangers! Countrymen! Most of all, PlayStation Network users! Please help us help a friend of GamerXChange…

Fellow gamer, blogger and all-around righteous babe SarahTheRebel is among finalists that could compete on the upcoming third season of PlayStation Network’s The Tester for a shot at a job with God of War developers Santa Monica Studios. But you know how this works, I’m sure: she needs your votes! 

Follow her question to be the next contestant (and if she wins, I wouldn’t bet against WINNER) of The Tester by following her on Twitter @SarahTheRebel. Join the conversation using the hashtag #GoRebel. But most importantly of all, once a day, go vote for her at https://casting.thetester.com/SarahTheRebel!

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