BioWare: There’s No “Single Right Time” For DLC

BioWare: There’s No “Single Right Time” For DLC

Day one downloadable content sucks, I think. Personally, it makes me feel like a chump. But there must be a reason for it in games like Mass Effect 3, right? BioWare’s Fernando Melo has an explanation.

Earlier this year, Kotaku broke the news that Mass Effect 3 had day one DLC. At a recent developer’s conference in Europe (during which Mass Effect completion rates were discussed), Melo offered this: “Contrary to what you might hear on the internet, fans do want more content. They tend to say, ‘I want it now.’ The problem with day one content and the challenge around it is that the right answer for now is different for every player. There is no single right time, there is no single now. It’s subjective, and it’s unique to every player.”

And what’s more, it’s not just unique to every player, but, according to Melo, it’s not even based on BioWare’s wants.

Continuing, the BioWare director of online development said, “It’s not based on us. It’s not based on some first-party release schedule. It’s there, if they want it they can pick it up day one. If they don’t, they can wait until they’ve finished their game.” This it’s-your-fault argument was made before by Forbes.

While day one DLC might make some players upset now (like with Mass Effect 3), that could change. “The only way that that’s going to go away is you fast forward a few more years, where this is just normal.” By “normal” meant that every game is digital and “an ongoing service”. So players can immediately buy more content if they like as part of a premium feature.

When this is just normal, huh.

BioWare Explains Day One Downloadable Content [IGN via GamesIndustry]


  • I think the sweet spot is week 2 with no presence on the disc. At least then it can be argued it wasn’t ready for day 1 and was part of the certification process.

    Of course content ends up on the disc because they want to cheap out on the cost of bandwidth used to download said content. Also given the state most games are released these days this is around when the first patch for game bugs should show up

  • If it’s on the disk, it should be in the game for free – if it was possible to get it printed on the disk itself then there is no reason why it should not be available to every player.

    If it’s not on the disk, and was developed during that “down time” before the game comes out, AND it’s not a vital part of the game )just some extra cool stuff) then i don’t care if it’s day 1 DLC.

    Seriously people, why is this so hard? If they ran out of time, and has to be a download, then boo-freakin’-hoo, get the download if you want it.

    BUT if it is VITAL to the story, then it should be FREE, regardless of when it is released.

    Hey look i just solver all the problems with DLC forever – Now, let watch everyone below me argue about my syntax and debate on what exactly i meant by VITAL or some stupid crap like that.

    People, be reasonable, the developers usually want to make cool stuff for you. BIOWARE screwed up with the Promethean thing ’cause it was kinda important, but day 1 DLC in general is not a bad thing!

    – Argus

  • Man, these guys are missing the point by a long shot.
    The issue is that your brand-new, untouched game, a supposedly complete product is being tainted by what is essentially a marketing scam – players feel the need to buy the DLC because they may miss out on the complete experience if they don’t. Publishers are just preying on this weakness.
    If you want to make extra content available to your players on day one, then make it free. Then, once people have had a decent opportunity to play the original game, you can add extra content for a price, which may entice players to revisit your game with the added content.

  • Personally I didn’t care about that day 1 DLC. What I care about is if the DLC is worth it or not. Most people felt that DLC about Proetheans (sp?) was significant enough to be part of the core game and not some attempt at selling parts of the game withheld from the core game.

  • I considered the Day 1 DLC as part of the value for ordering the Collectors Edition. Often Collector’s Editions provide nothing more than a fancy box, an artwork cell, and a custom weapon or outfit for your character. BioWare could have spun it that the extra content was provided primarily for the CE and offered as payable DLC as well. But they didn’t.–bad spin on their part. At this point, given all the free updates they provided on multi-player and expanded ending DLC I think they’ve shown genuine effort in extending an olive branch to the fans.

  • ‘gamers’ are the biggest bunch of whingers out there. Your big complaint, is that you can get more of a game you like, sooner.

    • I hate to break this to you, but gamers aren’t the “biggest whiners out there”. Yes, there are some people who whine to whine. Say the new DMC game. People complain his hair isn’t white, then some people, possibly like yourself would pick that remark up and make that your lone argument to why our comments are irrelevant. When in fact people have actual real criticism like the game-play isn’t on pair with series standards or how the character is drifting away from what made the series popular in the first place.

      The internet and everything that has opinion and dialog can have stupid and uninformed comments. Yours being one of those. From what I grasp from what you said is “if you want it, pay for it, no matter when it is or what it is.” then I disagree with it and say that context matters. Now, if I’m wrong, (which I hope I am) and you actually are trying to say; “Gamers shouldn’t expect everything for free and when they release extra content you should be forced to pay for it.” Then I take back what I said and I agree with you. If we want the content we should have to pay for it, but context and the quality of the product as a whole matters. As consumers just like any product in the world we have a right to voice our opinion and try to keep our relationship with these companies a healthy and happy one.

      • The context is very subjective, of course. If GT5 came out and you had to buy Ferrari as a DLC, I might consider that perfectly reasonable, and you might consider Ferrari to be so integral to the history of motoring that it was outrageous. DLC is something to be celebrated not whinged about – what you see as a way for companies to potentially ‘nickel and dime’ consumers I see as a way for devs to operate more fluidly, quicker, and take more risks. Either way, the issue of it being ‘on the disc’ or not is ridiculous. You pay for the rights to own certain data. You may own the physical disc of a movie, but it doesnt mean you own the movie: you own the right to display that movie, in certain scenarios. Same as a game, if I buy a game I purchase an experience that is accessible on that disc. There may be other experiences on that disc I can have, but it doesnt mean I should be able to have them just because I own the physical disc.

  • Day 1 DLC isn’t a “bad” thing. The problem comes when it was made and finished during normal development. Mass Effect 3 had a lot of “problems” from the unfinished endings, day 1 DLC that was semi important to the plot and was shamelessly yanked out of the story to punish people for not getting the collectors edition. To laziness with Tali face reveal being a Royal-Free stock picture. All this aside, it was just another thing to add on to a list of problems.

    To the main arguement that gamers want more content. This true. Because it’s just like meeting a girl for the first time. You want to see her again as soon as possible. Why? Because she’s something fresh and new. She’s on your interest list for whatever reason. That’s how the publishers look at us. We get a new game and we’re most interested when we -first get it-. My problem with this is if we enjoy the game and want to return say games like Fallout 3 and Skyrim, we will GLADLY not sell those games and buy the DLC even if it’s 2-3 months later. That’s the problem with this Day 1 DLC logic. It’s more of less just trying to get a extra dollar out of us because it’s new. We aren’t 100% sure if we even like the game enough to buy it a month or two later so they try to get us to do it now. It’s smart, but douchey.

    Now I know people dislike it because of the ending and what not, but please put that aside and look at the big picture. Was what EA and BioWare did right? With what kind of DLC it was and when it was released. Also the fact it was on the disc which says it was tested by Sony/Microsoft so it was done well in advance. My feeling is if I pay 60$ I should get everything. It’s a lot of money to put out and to demand more right off the bat is very rude in my opinion. If it is a major DLC like story mission. If it’s for fun or just for looks, then who cares. I do not. This “marketing” is just like what happened to Capcom with Street Fighter x Tekken. The game did very poorly when it was announced that it had 12 or so characters locked away on the disc. Then it would take 20$ to access them when they are already on the disc.

    Even if EA, Microsoft, Sony, or who ever says when they can or can not release DLC (Which I call some nonsense to these claims.) it still doesn’t allow these kind of practices. Do I say it’s all BioWares fault? Of course not. We all know how EA is with their high propriety titles. They will nickel and dime you till they can get no more. Even though, I still have to give BioWare some blame because they signed with EA. So even if EA has the final word, they didn’t have to partner with them in the first place.

    tl;dr = Day 1 DLC can be done right as long as it isn’t something that is a must. (Key to the story or key components to the game; Fighters, Race cars, Guns, etc.) DLC is a great thing as long as you put time and effort in to it. Examples: Fallout/Skyrim. DLC should be the last thing on a publish mind. It should be making the game polished first. Making a great game makes us want to come back. Examples: Fallout3, Skyrim, Witcher 2, Dragon Age, Mass Effect 1 and 2 *wink wink*.

  • I remember when people liked the idea of DLC, adding mini expansions onto the end of a game….then they just started releasing characters and weapons and cutting out areas that were clearly developed along with the game anyway…and used DLC to boost pre-orders, and they wonder why gamers think it’s a load of bullshit?

  • Is anyone else starting to view Bioware like that senile releative spouting conspiracy theories and occasionaly drooling, it’s like they don’t think before they speak anymore, but just press release everything that crosses their mind.

    • Yeah, time for them to go the same way as Bullfrog and Westwood…..Cannibalised by EA in an attempt to squeeze as much money as possible out of their fans, before being unceremoniously liquedated and merged with other EA divisions.

  • The problem with day 1 DLC is that its production probably ran parallel to the main game (or was even “stolen” from it) and that’s where the problem starts. It’s a huge problem because we have no way of knowing that it wouldn’t have been part of the main game had they decided not to make DLC.

    I’m a firm believer that, for the sake of the consumer, DLC should only ever begin production once the main game has been completed/has begun the certification progress. I don’t mind if they’ve started making DLC before the game ships, but I do mind if they start making it during the main game’s production process; what justification do they have to sell it separately if it’s being designed alongside the main game?

    An example of that is that I don’t mind what Gearbox is doing with their Mechromancer DLC, but I find Bioware’s action with Rise from the Ashes to be atrocious. Quite frankly, I can’t see how DLC shipped on the disk like that – especially when it’s content that is absolutely indistinguishable from an in-game sidequest on top of being developed at the same time – could be considered anything other than a cash grab.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!