The release of the first Assassin's Creed II DLC is the perfect excuse for me to recline once again inside the Animus and don the dashing cape of Ezio de Auditore.
I'll be diving into the Battle of Forli, the 12th "sequence" of Ezio's story. I know there's been some consternation regarding this DLC, namely that it was deliberately held back from the original game to be released as paid DLC. The theory goes that Ubisoft are charging you extra for content that "should have been in the original release".
It's nonsense, of course. Ubisoft has been quite candid about the development process, admitting that the Battle of Forli and the Bonfire of the Vanities (to be released in February) were planned as sequences 12 and 13 in Ezio's story. When you complete sequence 11 in the original release, it skips ahead several years to sequence 14.
Content is cut from games all the time. There isn't a game released today that hasn't had entire levels and stages culled from its design. The reason? Money. Games have to be made within budgetary constraints. The games industry is a business, after all.
In this case, Ubisoft took the decision to cut two levels from the game so they could hit their intended release date without going over budget. Again, this happens all the time. Yet prior to the rise of DLC, we'd rarely get the chance to see such content. Unless the game saw an expansion pack it would likely remain on the cutting room floor forever.
Instead, Ubisoft were able to go back and finish these two levels in the knowledge that they would be able to justify the development costs by selling them as DLC episodes. I, for one, am glad they're able to do so.
It also gives me reason to return to Renaissance Italy and collect the rest of those damn feathers.
What are your reasons for playing your chosen game this weekend?