Bethesda VP Defends Day-One DLC

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xptn40S:

Ukomba:
In fact on disc stuff isn't new. Unfinished programming exists on old cartage games. Resourceful players have found some interesting unfinished stuff on Ocarina of Time for example. KOTOR 2 also had a bunch of unfinished stuff on it that players were later able to patch back into the game.

I get what you're thinking, but I don't think that "Unfinished content still left in the game that is inaccessible through regular means" could easily be considered the same as "Finished content in the game (that may or may not already be on the disk) that's been placed behind a paywall or something similar".

Y'know, just saying.

That's not what I'm saying. The way the current culture is, that if those games were developed today, rather than being unfinished, they would continue developing those unfinished areas after the development deadline and that content would then be complete but require you to buy the dlc to activate. The HK-50 factory in KOTOR 2 would have been a dlc level, possibly a day 1 dlc level, but they had to cut it short and level it out because they didn't have this new distribution and monetization ability. I could have easily seen 'From Ashes' in ME3 suffering a similar fate if ME3 was released a decade ago.

Recent developments allow them to not waist those partially created sections. That additional content might even be done in time to make it onto the disc but that content is beyond their basic development costs and they would need to recoup that investment somehow.

Getting rid of the day 1 dlc wouldn't mean you get that content free, it means you'd have partially created content on the disc you'd never get to experience. It's a return to the way things use to work and that was the fate of that content before.

DVS BSTrD:
Yeah, because nobody was ever able to ship a complete game before. Nope! There has ALWAYS been DLC.

Oh wait, this is Bethesda: the one developer who actually has never been able to ship a complete game :P

I swear to god, about 99% of the people in this thread did not read the goddamn fucking article.

His point was that THEY HAVE FINISHED THE GAME ITSELF BUT ARE WAITING FOR IT TO SHIP, meaning that in the meantime they can work on side-content like DLC.

Get it? THEY HAVE SPARE-TIME UNTIL THE GAME IS OUT AND CAN THEREFORE WORK ON OTHER STUFF. Super simple stuff.

ObsidianJones:
Well, that's a good point that he's making...

If we didn't have a robust online gaming market. If that's the case, why couldn't they just ship it as free DLC? I mean, if he's saying that these things are being developed while the team is still technically being paid for processing, coding, and then shipping out the finished product, well.. it seems to fall into the scope of what the team was initially paid to do.

OK, I'm talking about software development in general, but I doubt the games industry is radically different - 1. employees get salaries. Yes, they do - in the software development, people still get paid monthly. OK, most of the time - although some are paid for the work they do (usually they aren't permanent employees but hired for just a project or, say, for a couple of months on several projects). While not uncommon, more on that just after 2. the companies are paid per project. There are lengthy discussions between people, most probably in suits, who pin down and describe what the project is in details. There are big thick documents written that go at length on the matter - project specifications, functional requirements, drafts, proposals but bottom line is, a project isn't "make a game" or similar the scope of it is wa-a-a-ay better mapped. At the very least, you'd come up with a list of FR (functional requirements) after the initial meetings but usually, you'd also get a project specification talking about it in general. Once you have those, you're ready to start actually planning. And after brief planning, the developers would be able to tell how much it actually costs. It's not uncommon to pay per man hour expected (that would be an estimate, of course) or sometimes the final price may be presented after the project finishes - if there were 1000 man hours poured into it, the customer pays for those, if it amounted to 1500, then that's the final price. Maybe with some extra cost included (you could have a start sum plus whatever you choose to charge per man hour). Or there could be an alternative payment method - per feature, for example, or similar but bottom line is, the company is not expected to just add random stuff as they go along. There is a term for that - feature creep. And it's bad, it's very bad for a software project.

There is a common misconception that software development is "oh, just add this". It's not, and I don't think I can properly explain the full reasons why is that. There are books written on the matter that are tackling this from different sides.

And your analogy is very flawed. What you described there is referred to as implicit requirement - one, that's too simple to properly convey the actual complexity of the task involved, two, it's just stupid. What my old boss used was a much better analogy - imagine starting to build a house and you hire some people to do that. Now, if you suddenly decide you want an extra room, is that not extra work for the builders? If you want an extra floor, is that not extra effort and time? Heck, maybe the house is more or less finished on the outside but if you decide you want changes in it, like putting more windows or something, "while it's not complete yet", how is that not extra stuff to do? I've also worked at a building site, and I'm telling you - if somebody came and said "Oh, good work chaps, I'm liking how the thing looks. But can you just erect a wall here and change the ceiling? Oh, I won't pay you for the work and I still expect it to be finished at the time we agreed." they'd probably get a slap.

Whoa.. this is Bethesda we're talking about here. BETHESDA!

Y'know... the guys who make games that frequently lasts you 100 hours or more. If anyone should be tolerated to have day-1 DLC, it's these guys. It's hard to accuse them of holding back content when they provide such vast amounts of it right off the bat. And singleplayer, too.

These are the good guys, people. The hilariously overpriced horse armor debacle aside, I've never felt cheated by their DLC schemes.

I do agree that I'll never particulary LIKE the practice though, and the locked-on-disc-DLC thing should just burn in hell regardless of who does it, but it's the sign of the times so I'll just have to "dealwithit".

ie, not buy it on day 1.
Because I don't. ever.

Hyper-space:
I swear to god, about 99% of the people in this thread did not read the goddamn fucking article.

His point was that THEY HAVE FINISHED THE GAME ITSELF BUT ARE WAITING FOR IT TO SHIP, meaning that in the meantime they can work on side-content like DLC.

Get it? THEY HAVE SPARE-TIME UNTIL THE GAME IS OUT AND CAN THEREFORE WORK ON OTHER STUFF. Super simple stuff.

So I assume that you think I'm the 1% as this is what I said in my post in the first paragraph for why Day 1 DLC is not inherently evil unless it is on a disc (in which case, damn them).

Again though, the consumer does not know if the DLC was held back on purpose or even generated alongside the main code regardless of what the developer claims. They will lie to our faces (*coughEAcough*). So even if a person like me (you know, a person who actually works in software development) understands the development cycle I am still left with the suspicion that it was purposefully held back even if I like and trust the company. For no other reason than to squeeze a couple dollars out.

Likewise, for people who are not in the software developer cycle, it is not their job to know the development cycle and so even if Bethesda (a company I genuinely love) thinks the complaint is because of ignorance, that's too bad. The consumer's job is only to pay for things they want, not understand how it was put together. From their perspective they're getting charged for non-premium condiments. If the consumer feels like it's evil,then that's a legitimate PR issue regardless of whether or not it is.

I'd say, one possible way to overcome this would be to publically document DLC as it's being made. But, you can only do so much and reach so many people that way.

loa:

Earnest Cavalli:
Remember: The people who make videogames have no idea who you are and largely don't care how you feel. They're in business to make money, not to make you smile, and every decision these companies make is aimed toward pulling in as much cash as possible, regardless of how a noisy online minority might feel about it.

That's pretty funny considering how we're talking about the entertainment industry here.
But sure, keep telling yourself that. We'll see where that leads in the not-so-distant future.

You seem to be missing the minority part. A company that sells three million copies of a game is really not going to change their dlc practices because 10,000 people on the internet who may or may not have bought the game dont like it.

Pfbt, I was making horses and horse armour for DLC before Bethesda.</hipster>

ObsidianJones:
If we didn't have a robust online gaming market. If that's the case, why couldn't they just ship it as free DLC? I mean, if he's saying that these things are being developed while the team is still technically being paid for processing, coding, and then shipping out the finished product.

DoPo:
What my old boss used was a much better analogy - imagine starting to build a house and you hire some people to do that. (snip)

I like to use the cake analogy for game dev and DLC. You have a bunch of bakers for a bakery making cakes (games).
You've got some making the filling, another that decorates it, someone handling the orders, etc. Obviously, different departments work at different schedules of the game/cake making, and then at some point they start putting it together.

During the game content lockdown / cake decorating phase, it becomes harder to add new stuff, since it ruins the icing on the cake. And the console makers don't like that, as during the certification process, they don't want you to constantly add more stuff to the eventual disc image (otherwise it implies you weren't finish and were hoping to insert and extend the dev time).

During that, however, you'll always end up with extra ingredients / cut content to make your deadline. So you make a muffin to offer as extra.

It's not like they were deliberately cutting the cake in half to sell you, which is the often incorrect belief of DLC that people hold.

I could understand Mr. Hines' sentiments... -IF- I hadn't been playing video games since getting an original Gameboy for my birthday when they were new, nor remembering the industry before even the SNES came out. Developers should be thanking their lucky stars for the modern luxuries of being able to patch their products afterwards (in lieu of actual rigorous playtesting), being able to add game content after sending the game to the disc-manufacturer, being able to inconvenience the customer through Online Passes/DRM/etc. exclusively for their own sake, and being able to have a constant revenue stream beyond the initial game purchase via DLC.

[sarcasm] How did the industry -ever- get to this point when, for the last decade+, developers had to eventually cease development of games at some arbitrary point (read: "going gold")? [/sarcasm]

Also, get off my lawn.

Ukomba:

xptn40S:

Ukomba:
In fact on disc stuff isn't new. Unfinished programming exists on old cartage games. Resourceful players have found some interesting unfinished stuff on Ocarina of Time for example. KOTOR 2 also had a bunch of unfinished stuff on it that players were later able to patch back into the game.

I get what you're thinking, but I don't think that "Unfinished content still left in the game that is inaccessible through regular means" could easily be considered the same as "Finished content in the game (that may or may not already be on the disk) that's been placed behind a paywall or something similar".

Y'know, just saying.

That's not what I'm saying. The way the current culture is, that if those games were developed today, rather than being unfinished, they would continue developing those unfinished areas after the development deadline and that content would then be complete but require you to buy the dlc to activate. The HK-50 factory in KOTOR 2 would have been a dlc level, possibly a day 1 dlc level.

Recent developments allow them to not waist those partially created sections. That additional content might even be done in time to make it onto the disc but that content is beyond their basic development costs and they would need to recoup that investment somehow.

Getting rid of the day 1 dlc wouldn't mean you get that content free, it means you'd have partially created content on the disc you'd never get to experience. It's a return to the way things use to work and that was the fate of that content before.

Granted, I was thinking more about "Test-areas" (the kind of areas that were never meant to be anything) that people would dig up in older games, so I suppose we were just thinking of different things. :>

But yes, I guess that's a more valid thought than what I interpreted it as at first.

DoPo:

ObsidianJones:
Well, that's a good point that he's making...

If we didn't have a robust online gaming market. If that's the case, why couldn't they just ship it as free DLC? I mean, if he's saying that these things are being developed while the team is still technically being paid for processing, coding, and then shipping out the finished product, well.. it seems to fall into the scope of what the team was initially paid to do.

OK, I'm talking about software development in general, but I doubt the games industry is radically different - 1. employees get salaries. Yes, they do - in the software development, people still get paid monthly. OK, most of the time - although some are paid for the work they do (usually they aren't permanent employees but hired for just a project or, say, for a couple of months on several projects). While not uncommon, more on that just after 2. the companies are paid per project. There are lengthy discussions between people, most probably in suits, who pin down and describe what the project is in details. There are big thick documents written that go at length on the matter - project specifications, functional requirements, drafts, proposals but bottom line is, a project isn't "make a game" or similar the scope of it is wa-a-a-ay better mapped. At the very least, you'd come up with a list of FR (functional requirements) after the initial meetings but usually, you'd also get a project specification talking about it in general. Once you have those, you're ready to start actually planning. And after brief planning, the developers would be able to tell how much it actually costs. It's not uncommon to pay per man hour expected (that would be an estimate, of course) or sometimes the final price may be presented after the project finishes - if there were 1000 man hours poured into it, the customer pays for those, if it amounted to 1500, then that's the final price. Maybe with some extra cost included (you could have a start sum plus whatever you choose to charge per man hour). Or there could be an alternative payment method - per feature, for example, or similar but bottom line is, the company is not expected to just add random stuff as they go along. There is a term for that - feature creep. And it's bad, it's very bad for a software project.

There is a common misconception that software development is "oh, just add this". It's not, and I don't think I can properly explain the full reasons why is that. There are books written on the matter that are tackling this from different sides.

And your analogy is very flawed. What you described there is referred to as implicit requirement - one, that's too simple to properly convey the actual complexity of the task involved, two, it's just stupid. What my old boss used was a much better analogy - imagine starting to build a house and you hire some people to do that. Now, if you suddenly decide you want an extra room, is that not extra work for the builders? If you want an extra floor, is that not extra effort and time? Heck, maybe the house is more or less finished on the outside but if you decide you want changes in it, like putting more windows or something, "while it's not complete yet", how is that not extra stuff to do? I've also worked at a building site, and I'm telling you - if somebody came and said "Oh, good work chaps, I'm liking how the thing looks. But can you just erect a wall here and change the ceiling? Oh, I won't pay you for the work and I still expect it to be finished at the time we agreed." they'd probably get a slap.

I'll study up on what goes into DLC making. As of now, I will keep an open mind, but I still hold it in question. Especially with the plethora of On-Disc DLC that stands out there.

ThriKreen:

I like to use the cake analogy for game dev and DLC. You have a bunch of bakers for a bakery making cakes (games).
You've got some making the filling, another that decorates it, someone handling the orders, etc. Obviously, different departments work at different schedules of the game/cake making, and then at some point they start putting it together.

During the game content lockdown / cake decorating phase, it becomes harder to add new stuff, since it ruins the icing on the cake. And the console makers don't like that, as during the certification process, they don't want you to constantly add more stuff to the eventual disc image (otherwise it implies you weren't finish and were hoping to insert and extend the dev time).

During that, however, you'll always end up with extra ingredients / cut content to make your deadline. So you make a muffin to offer as extra.

It's not like they were deliberately cutting the cake in half to sell you, which is the often incorrect belief of DLC that people hold.

Is it such an incorrect belief when we now find out there are more than a few games that have on-disc dlc? As much as developers equate all pc gamers as pirates just because some people use pirate bay, it's equally hard to ask us gamers to trust that we're not being milked when we find some developers charge us for content we literally already bought.

ThriKreen:
I like to use the cake analogy for game dev and DLC.

That works, too. I think people just have a better grasp at how building more or less works, so my boss found it shorter when explaining to clients why requesting something extra was dumb and we had to charge for the changes. He would go "Well, what you're suggesting is like adding a new window, but we already built the wall, so we have to make a hole in there" or maybe "Well, what you're asking is to put a different roof".

But the cake one works better when explaining DLC, I suppose. I like muffins :)

Agayek:
It's not something I'm terribly fond of, but I've seen the kind of delays that come from having to make physical copies of software and everything. It makes sense that the dev team would be doing nothing for the month or two between "finishing" the game and releasing it.

I have a wonderful idea! They could use that time to actually finish their games and release a PATCH when the game comes out so we don't have to play beta versions with countless bugs anyone testing the game notices within a few days. This is especially true for anything Bethesda released in the not so distant past.
God forbid! The idea of giving something like a little dlc made in this time for free!? Only dirty communists would come up with this kind of idea! Like those filthy CD Projekt RED commies!

Therumancer:
snip

I feel with you ^^
It's especially this attitude game developers show which pisses me off.
You know in other businesses companies try to be nice to their costumers e.g. restaurants, hair salons, car dealers, assurances(as long as you don't want anything in return), banks, whatever. Every business I know tries to please their customers so they buy stuff from them and don't run to others; or at the very least don't make public statements to piss their costumers off.

Hyper-space:

DVS BSTrD:
Yeah, because nobody was ever able to ship a complete game before. Nope! There has ALWAYS been DLC.

Oh wait, this is Bethesda: the one developer who actually has never been able to ship a complete game :P

I swear to god, about 99% of the people in this thread did not read the goddamn fucking article.

His point was that THEY HAVE FINISHED THE GAME ITSELF BUT ARE WAITING FOR IT TO SHIP, meaning that in the meantime they can work on side-content like DLC.

Get it? THEY HAVE SPARE-TIME UNTIL THE GAME IS OUT AND CAN THEREFORE WORK ON OTHER STUFF. Super simple stuff.

Yeah, because if they could put it on the disk there is absolutely NO WAY they could have included it IN the actual game now is there? Cause you know, they shipped it with the rest of the game? And it's not like they could have cut it out deliberately to charge us extra because the ONLY proof we have that they came-up with this content AFTER they finished the game itself is their word.

hazydawn:
I have a wonderful idea! They could use that time to actually finish their games and release a PATCH when the game comes out so we don't have to play beta versions with countless bugs anyone testing the game notices within a few days. This is especially true for anything Bethesda released in the not so distant past.
God forbid! The idea of giving something like a little dlc made in this time for free!? Only dirty communists would come up with this kind of idea! Like those filthy CD Projekt RED commies!

Like I said, I'm not terribly fond of the practice, but I can recognize that the logic behind it is not inherently invalid.

I would greatly prefer bug fixes or any other kind of free patch be made with that time, but I'm not going to begrudge people wanting to make an additional product for the consumer to purchase if they like the game and/or as part of a pre-order bonus. It didn't take anything from the actual game development and is just an additional product the developers made that ties into the game.

But also like I said, if such a product was clearly cut from the game, or actual game-development time was spent on it, or it was finished in time to ship with the game, then it is quite clearly not something the devs put together after the game was done and is therefore bullshit.

Day One DLC in and of itself is not inherently evil.

A large percentage (possibly even a majority) of the content offered as Day One DLC is nine different kinds of bullshit though.

Lightknight:
I'd say, one possible way to overcome this would be to publically document DLC as it's being made. But, you can only do so much and reach so many people that way.

That actually would be an idea, be a bit more open about the dev process. There's a huge gap in what goes on to what people think goes on (Nerf wars don't break out THAT often), but like you said, not that many will read it or care, they just want their game and have it feel complete.

And the potential PR image and backlash could be horrendous:

"Oh no, they're cutting content that should be in the game!"
"Hey, I like that content, why not cut that other content out!?"
"What? I like that other content, this content is fine!"
"Why not take longer to finish the game?"

It's a tough line to stride though, because then people will be so judgmental on your process, being backseat, armchair developers.

As if they weren't already.

Agayek:

Like I said, I'm not terribly fond of the practice, but I can recognize that the logic behind it is not inherently invalid.

I would greatly prefer bug fixes or any other kind of free patch be made with that time, but I'm not going to begrudge people wanting to make an additional product for the consumer to purchase if they like the game and/or as part of a pre-order bonus. It didn't take anything from the actual game development and is just an additional product the developers made that ties into the game.

But also like I said, if such a product was clearly cut from the game, or actual game-development time was spent on it, or it was finished in time to ship with the game, then it is quite clearly not something the devs put together after the game was done and is therefore bullshit.

Day One DLC in and of itself is not inherently evil.

A large percentage (possibly even a majority) of the content offered as Day One DLC is nine different kinds of bullshit though.

Well, I can agree with that. =)
If it really is true that there's such a huge amount of time between the point to where they have to wrap things up and the release date. I mean I don't know. I have no information and knowledge on that. But he could also be feeding me bullshit.
Is it relly enough time to finish a complete dlc? Like you said I think a huge percentage of that custom is bullshit(time not used for the actual game).
Well it was nice arguing with you ^^

ThriKreen:

I like to use the cake analogy for game dev and DLC. You have a bunch of bakers for a bakery making cakes (games).
You've got some making the filling, another that decorates it, someone handling the orders, etc. Obviously, different departments work at different schedules of the game/cake making, and then at some point they start putting it together.

During the game content lockdown / cake decorating phase, it becomes harder to add new stuff, since it ruins the icing on the cake. And the console makers don't like that, as during the certification process, they don't want you to constantly add more stuff to the eventual disc image (otherwise it implies you weren't finish and were hoping to insert and extend the dev time).

During that, however, you'll always end up with extra ingredients / cut content to make your deadline. So you make a muffin to offer as extra.

It's not like they were deliberately cutting the cake in half to sell you, which is the often incorrect belief of DLC that people hold.

If the cake is good and the muffins are good no one will complain about the process, customers probably wont even be aware of it.

If one or both are lacking in some way customers may start to get suspicious about the process, especially if the cakes used to be better.

Developers keep talking about how the cake is made, why it's necessary to do DLC the way it's done. But that is not the consumer angle. The consumers are wondering why the quality is dropping, and why games used to be better.

hazydawn:
Well, I can agree with that. =)
If it really is true that there's such a huge amount of time between the point to where they have to wrap things up and the release date. I mean I don't know. I have no information and knowledge on that. But he could also be feeding me bullshit.
Is it relly enough time to finish a complete dlc? Like you said I think a huge percentage of that custom is bullshit(time not used for the actual game).
Well it was nice arguing with you ^^

Typically, in my experience anyway, if a software developer wants to ship a physical product (Read: disc, manuals, etc), you have somewhere between two weeks and three months of time, depending on the volume of your initial release and the talent of your manufacturer, after development is done but before the product is on store shelves.

Manufacturing is a time consuming process, and it can take a substantial amount of time.

There's nothing inherently wrong with using that time to develop add-ons for the product while it's being manufactured. If anything, it's a sensible use of resources that you have to pay for anyway.

That said, if there's no physical release, you really don't have an excuse for shit like that.

Earnest Cavalli:
If you hate day-one DLC that's your choice, but filling random internet forums with grammatically bankrupt complaints won't do a thing to change the practice. The only way to truly make your voice heard is by not buying the stuff.

The conclusion of the article completely ignores the fact that was established in the beginning. That with DLC in general and day one DLC specifically, there is an incentive to cripple the game and release features that should/could have been in the game as DLC.

The "vote with your wallet" argument doesn't really make sense here. As a true fan of the game or franchise you will want the game as it was meant to be. DLC leaves that bitter taste in the mouth that you might be missing something, unless you pay extra.

The only reasonable way -for a fan- to deal with it is complain and whine and bitch about it and hope that they will finally -get it- how unhappy DLC makes him.

Note that nobody has a problem with "expansion pack" DLC which adds a sizable, real new experience to a game which is already integral on its own. But launch day DLC does seem very bullshitty to me. Some of that stuff should be part of a free patch.

This same fucking argument again. We understand that day 1 DLC was probably developed after the game went gold, but the fact that it is often included on the disk or even released on the first day is what's the problem.

Why can't you make the DLC, and then hold on to it for a month? That way, no-one feels ripped off, and the game is still fresh enough that people will want to buy DLC.

This is why I try to wait until games go cheap, Bethesda.

#dealwithit

Steven Bogos:
This same fucking argument again. We understand that day 1 DLC was probably developed after the game went gold, but the fact that it is often included on the disk or even released on the first day is what's the problem.

Not gold - between content lockdown and certification to gold. Gold to store shelves is about 2-3 week turn around time for pressing of the discs, manual, and shipping to the stores.

Lockdown to passing certification (when you can claim it is gold), can be from 4 to 6 months. That's when DLC is worked on.

Steven Bogos:
Why can't you make the DLC, and then hold on to it for a month? That way, no-one feels ripped off, and the game is still fresh enough that people will want to buy DLC.

It's the strike while the iron is hot situation - even announcing it a month later, let alone releasing it, would players still care?

Don't get me wrong, I don't like having to spend extra on games either, but the non-linear, overlapping aspect of game dev has resulted in this system.

Previously, it was release a game, later MAYBE release an expansion of the cut content+new. But with consoles, you'd notice PC style expansion packs have essentially been phased out since you get the resource problem of which disc to load, what if the console doesn't have a HDD or it ran out of room to install, etc., etc. Hence the migration to smaller DLC stuff, letting people pick and choose what extras they want.

I would at least prefer to go back to the project $10 "Buy new, here's extra for being an early adopter. Buy used, pay for some non-essential things like online passes."

Andy Shandy:
Eh, my problem isn't so much with Day One DLC (due to the aforementioned reason of they have something to do while waiting), but with any "DLC" that is locked away on the disc, so they could've easily have let the gamer have it, but have decided to charge them even more for it - most of the time anyway.

Yes this my feeling too. I could care less about day 1 dlc, I don't usually get games day 1 anyways, but I think its bullshit if you're going to lock shit away on a disc I paid for. If I'm paying you for the product that's on the disc that means I'm paying you from the start of the game to the time you sent everything off for packaging. That means I except to have access to everything that was made between that time.

DVS BSTrD:

Hyper-space:

DVS BSTrD:
Yeah, because nobody was ever able to ship a complete game before. Nope! There has ALWAYS been DLC.

Oh wait, this is Bethesda: the one developer who actually has never been able to ship a complete game :P

I swear to god, about 99% of the people in this thread did not read the goddamn fucking article.

His point was that THEY HAVE FINISHED THE GAME ITSELF BUT ARE WAITING FOR IT TO SHIP, meaning that in the meantime they can work on side-content like DLC.

Get it? THEY HAVE SPARE-TIME UNTIL THE GAME IS OUT AND CAN THEREFORE WORK ON OTHER STUFF. Super simple stuff.

Yeah, because if they could put it on the disk there is absolutely NO WAY they could have included it IN the actual game now is there? Cause you know, they shipped it with the rest of the game? And it's not like they could have cut it out deliberately to charge us extra because the ONLY proof we have that they came-up with this content AFTER they finished the game itself is their word.

I...I think you two are talking about two very different forms of DLC. You seem to be talking about on disk DLC(which is contradictory by name, if it's on disc, you don't download it anyway, it's just a horsepiss name), and Hyper-space seems to be talking about day-one DLC that you actually have to download, that wasn't put on the original disc or in the original game.

So basically, we have this guy's word for it that no launch DLC has ever been cut from a game to make extra money.

I don't believe him.

Well there we are, that was quick wasn't it?

Pete Hines has some of the worst PR abilities I've seen in the game industry.
The guy just does not know how to talk to the customers in a friendly and respectable manner.

Bostur:

ThriKreen:

I like to use the cake analogy for game dev and DLC. You have a bunch of bakers for a bakery making cakes (games).
You've got some making the filling, another that decorates it, someone handling the orders, etc. Obviously, different departments work at different schedules of the game/cake making, and then at some point they start putting it together.

During the game content lockdown / cake decorating phase, it becomes harder to add new stuff, since it ruins the icing on the cake. And the console makers don't like that, as during the certification process, they don't want you to constantly add more stuff to the eventual disc image (otherwise it implies you weren't finish and were hoping to insert and extend the dev time).

During that, however, you'll always end up with extra ingredients / cut content to make your deadline. So you make a muffin to offer as extra.

It's not like they were deliberately cutting the cake in half to sell you, which is the often incorrect belief of DLC that people hold.

If the cake is good and the muffins are good no one will complain about the process, customers probably wont even be aware of it.

If one or both are lacking in some way customers may start to get suspicious about the process, especially if the cakes used to be better.

Developers keep talking about how the cake is made, why it's necessary to do DLC the way it's done. But that is not the consumer angle. The consumers are wondering why the quality is dropping, and why games used to be better.

As someone who's been gaming for the past two decades, no, games did not used to be better.

Earnest Cavalli:
They're in business to make money, not to make you smile

They're in the business to make a product that is supposed to make me smile, which is how they make their money. If I'm not smiling, then they've failed at their business because I won't buy any products from them.

Did you not think about this statement when you wrote it?

Welcome to the Escapist, I guess.

SecondPrize:
I guess I don't understand how game development works. For instance, I was sure there was a period during development when "testers" went through the game looking for "bugs" and then having them fixed. Then I played some Bethesda games and realized that I must have been mistaken, as such a part of the development cycle obviously does not exist.

On a related note, I used think that there were these people called "animators" and "graphic artists", graphic artists would make the in-game models for NPCs, hostile and non, and make the game world, and animators would animate the fucking NPCs, obviously we were wrong about this as well. Likewise I used to think there were these people called "writers" who would write the fucking story for the game, Bethesda has proven me wrong here too, instead some the designers just print out a LOTR fanfic and buy a copy of Twilight then rip out some pages and all of this was done by one extremely retarded moron instead of professionals. Now where is that photo...

image

Oh there it is!

Earnest Cavalli:

Remember: The people who make videogames have no idea who you are and largely don't care how you feel. They're in business to make money, not to make you smile, and every decision these companies make is aimed toward pulling in as much cash as possible, regardless of how a noisy online minority might feel about it.

*slow applause for genuine praise of statement*

And thus I no longer purchase anything produced by CAPCOM or EA games, barring it being on the 'bargain sale' rack or a used shoppe. Yes, I know the majority don't care and will continue to fund these companies who couldn't care less about them if they were made of dog ends, but this is where integrity meets the road and my dollar is worth a bit more than they've proven willing to offer.

There are 2 obvious solutions to this from the developer perspective.

Ship the new DLC on launch as a "free bonus!" for people purchasing on release. Creates goodwill.

Delay the DLC, perhaps packaging it with other DLC to avoid "day 1 DLC" stigma. First option is probably better.

Though if it's a quality DLC that isnt a rip, I would consider buying day 1 DLC, not that I've ever bought any.

Reading between the lines, what Hines is saying here is: I do not believe games are priced high enough. $60 is not enough for our full game, $75 is a more realistic price.

To get away with that publishers break the game into two parts and charge the full game price for 80% of the game. Then charge us for the other 20% of the game as DLC.

The end of development cycle argument is really not a good one as many of us (myself included) are employed in the software development industry (commercial software in my case not game software). Once the software has been fully tested and accepted and released to manufacturing there is only a two week period before the software is on the shelves and available to customers. Testing continues in this period and any bugs found then are shipped in a downloadable update soon after or in tandem with the release.

To create Day 1 DLC as Hines describes it you would have to have your base software finished some months before release then artificially delay that release in order for the Day 1 DLC to be ready on Day 1.

synobal:
Poor Bethesda, they will be haunted by horse armor for years and years to come.

I really don't think horse armour was that bad, not compared to half the shit we've been faced with since. Anyone remember Fable 3 charging you money to dye your clothes black?

Even though I always found this to be a weak argument, since there's NO way to prove you worked on the day-1 DLC after everything was all finished and done, you could still make it free dlc. It doesn't really matter if it's not directly tied to the main story, it was content created with the original budget.

At least do what other developers have learnt and wait for a convenient 1 month later to start with the major penny-pinching.

ThriKreen:

Lightknight:
I'd say, one possible way to overcome this would be to publically document DLC as it's being made. But, you can only do so much and reach so many people that way.

That actually would be an idea, be a bit more open about the dev process. There's a huge gap in what goes on to what people think goes on (Nerf wars don't break out THAT often), but like you said, not that many will read it or care, they just want their game and have it feel complete.

And the potential PR image and backlash could be horrendous:

"Oh no, they're cutting content that should be in the game!"
"Hey, I like that content, why not cut that other content out!?"
"What? I like that other content, this content is fine!"
"Why not take longer to finish the game?"

It's a tough line to stride though, because then people will be so judgmental on your process, being backseat, armchair developers.

As if they weren't already.

Right, that idea would only be beneficial in certain situations. Such as when the team is working on DLC after code cut-off (so it can be clearly documented that the coding was done by developers who were no longer working on their project). But documenting DLC that was coded for during development of the main game would be a bad idea for the reasons you mentioned.

That being said, do you think live-customer feedback on your work would be a bad thing? It could serve as a potential market research and gain your team a valuable resource for ideas and potentially missed desires. Additionally, you're talking about another source of advertisment for the game, particularly if the DLC is highly desireable. It could be the kind of thing that other companies have to pay marketing firms to achieve. Just because some people don't like what you're doing doesn't mean you have to do something differently. But if someone gives you a genuinely great idea that you can run with, wouldn't that be worth it? Perhaps not, maybe it's too much noise to wade through for the gems.

You and I both know that reality in a software dev cycle is a lot more complex than it appears. We know that developers toss in quick fixes and new code well after code cut-off and into the final QA cycle. Code cut-off should practically be said with quotation gestures each time a project lead says it. We also know that some developers finish their work before others because not all developers do the same thing (far from it), so one developer may be completely free and capable of starting work on DLC well before code cut-off is even mentioned. If documented in this way with a clear explanation of why this developer isn't still working on the main game it may serve as a way to educate the masses via people like me who would actually follow such things and become an advocate for the company when people say bad things about it.

But DLC that is being produced by developers alongside the game, which happens all the time, will not be appreciated by the consumers. They will (correctly) see it as developers splitting time between products and reducing the quality of the main game for the sake of DLC that may have been included anyways.

Good luck to whatever companies try with regards to this. It's a serious PR landmine.

Translation: Shut up. Consumer complaints make us look bad and hurt sales. Baa Ram Ewe.

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