Downloadable content has seen great additions like completely new single player episodes and areas to explore such as The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion expansions or Mass Effect episodes. However, they’ve also seen bare bones changes to customization options or run of the mill map packs such as Street Fighter costume packs or Call of Dutyt multiplayer map packs. To say the least, gamers have mixed reactions to the different strategies used when developers release new in-game content via online marketplaces.
When I first saw that console games were going to receive downloadable content during the last console generation, I imagined that the days of user created content (mods) or game expansions were soon to follow. Though that isn’t necessarily the case, unfortunately. Even today gamers have to hope and pray that their favorite game is ‘properly’ supported.
But what kind of support is ‘proper’? Well, personal preference is certainly the word and most companies will gauge the activity of a game’s community forum to determine the level of interest as well as the type of DLC that they’ll work on. Though, since this community represents the die hards, what is probably the better strategy is what would entice new fans to try the game.
With this in mind, I figured I would take a few of my favorite games and attempt to explore a wish list for future downloadable content.
This one is a simple one. Pinball FX2 is a great XBLA title that simply has the addition of more tables as its form of downloadable content. So far, the Marvel tables have been a huge success and the release of tables reflecting the movies that have been released is a great idea. I would love to see tables for X-Men and Hulk.
This makes you wonder if another franchise would make sense to release. Since the days of arcades are over, you no longer have tables from Williams or any other pinball machine company that would release movie-related pinball tables. Why can’t we get a Harry Potter or Star Wars series table?
Then, let’s take it way back and get sports related tables (licensed pro leagues or not; I’m sure they’d do well regardless). Fans would certainly love to play pinball games themed after their favourite sports, events, teams or leagues. It’s a popular entertainment medium and healthy activity which is always very popular in each of its versions.
Thinking up DLC for L.A. Noire seems easy enough. The easy answer, of course, is to simply add more cases. Truthfully, what this game needs is a bit more action. They should have a “Crime Fighter” DLC pack that adds a slew of random beat cop style encounters.
These could be thieves on the run, car chases, gang fights, and more. Essentially, it would be more of what is already in it, only without the cutscenes and such. Instead, you would just get calls over the radio for officer assistance. Sounds simple enough but simple is best.
Though, if you really want to sell some copies, an idea would be to do a New York City or Chi-Town expansion with a whole new set of cases. Sure that would border upon a sequel but, this is the ULTIMATE wish list, right?
Dynasty Warriors 7:
Koei tends to do the same thing over and over as well. More maps, more weapons, and more costumes. Most times these things are in the form of new games entitled Xtreme Legends or the like. It would be nice if these additions were thrown in as DLC instead. Adding Empires as an all new mode rather than a separate game would be nice as well. Though, since we know that isn’t going to happen, let’s go a more sensible route. If you are going to add characters and such, try adding fictional characters like Jet Li’s Black Mask or any of the characters from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. You could even do an exclusive US release of the Wu-Tang Clan of hip hop fame or Bruce Lee with some nunchakus.
Energy for this game was high at first and quickly faded in the midst of other games that simply did what Brink does better. So, to bring people back, there is a need for more weapons, more maps, and maybe even a system where some of the outfits actually affect the character’s performance as a certain class or with certain weapons. To make things a bit more challenging, they could add an ADHD mode where health is reduced and headshots do more damage as well. This will certainly speed up the sometimes lengthy games.
Red Dead Redemption:
Rockstar has steadily added some great elements to this game already as downloadable content. The Undead Nightmare pack was a stroke of unexpected genius and works out amazingly well in the western genre. So, what else could be added to make this game better? A Rough Riders or Young Guns pack!
Ok, ok. Just hear me out here before you roll your eyes. This game always has you running around to disband or deal with bandits and their hideouts. What if you were allowed to recruit your own bandits and set up your own hideout? You could organize bank robberies or take down rival posses and so on! It could add a whole new dimension to the single player experience, incorporating elements which were previously only available while playing with a friend or strangers online.
Despite the addition of the Onslaught Mode and the Vietnam expansion, I feel as if EA missed out on a great opportunity to build upon this amazing game. Just as they did with the PC version of Battlefield, they could have added other themes like a futuristic version (using the same engine of course), a WWII version (just to make it old school and a bit deeper than the Battlefield 1943 title they released), or a G.I. Joe version!
Yes, people. How many thousands more copies would this game sell if they did a red and blue laser battle theme where ‘knowing’ is half the battle?! They gave Lord of the Rings and Star Wars their own versions back in the day and yet G.I. Joe is the logical choice!
Even better, how about the return of AI troops on the battlefield as well as the user controlled ones? Talk to me, EA!
Call of Duty:
Ok, so it is hard to argue with Activision on the direction that this game has gone. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And to their credit, the maps that they’ve added to the fray from iteration to iteration were well received and quite enjoyable. Even the addition of the Zombie mode was an interesting change-up despite how odd it was to see.
Just as with Battlefield, adding themes to the game that are bit more than just a re-skin could be an excellent way to boost the worth of these titles. Futuristic themes with new weapon types, classes and even skills would make things so much more interesting than new maps in a theme park or a warehouse. They could even add bonus killstreaks or environmental affects that could tip the scales for either team to dominate further or turn the tide.
Regardless of the game, I think it is safe to agree that most games on the market approach downloadable content simply as a way to make more money. One can only hope that DLC standards raise so that the age of console mods can begin. Until then, I guess I’ll be happy with a few maps, some new costumes, and prequels that don’t affect the main story. Let’s just hope that this new trend of paying for DLC ‘bundles’ means that gaming companies are promising stronger efforts in the realm of digital expansions and furthered content.