It has become incredibly commonplace for new games to place a heavy amount of emphasis on buying their DLC and season passes. I’ve actually called for all gamers to stop pre-ordering season passes due to the lack luster and consistent bad game launches. To my surprise and excitement, the developers of The Witcher 3 don’t want you to buy their extra content, “if you have any doubts“. This dramatic change of communication from a game company isn’t just refreshing, it borders on groundbreaking. I have yet to see this type of confidence and transparency from any pre-launch game communication to date. Why is this important?
Enough is enough
Hopefully the size and draw of this long awaited title can help fuel a standard for other games to see that all the nonsense with season passes and pre-ordering DLC needs to stop. Too many games put all their marketing emphasis on hype, cinematic trailers that misrepresent the game, and incentivizing pre-orders and extra content microtransactions. Hearing the devs from CD Projekt Red basically say, “Don’t buy our extra content until you’ve played our game” is like the hero moment of a long drawn out television series where you stand and slow clap as they finally have their epic monologue. This is seriously a bigger deal than many are probably making it out to be. In a way, they are saying a lot without saying anything. They are essentially saying, “Other games are worried you will play their game and not buy DLC, so they want you to pre-order. We are confident enough in our product to tell you to wait to buy the extra content until after you’ve experienced our game.” This doesn’t mean, however, that the game is going to deliver and convince people to chuck up the extra cash for more stuff.
Please don’t bury us
Unfortunately there is already some information coming out about the game that has some concerned it will bury us with side missions in what is being cleverly called “Assassin’s Creed Syndrome“. The article coined the “ACS” phrase and agrees with me about how Far Cry 4 balances a main story a extra side quests far better than other titles. The author also points out something about Assassin’s Creed that grated against my desire to complete everything: there is too much to do. The overwhelming extra missions just give you a feeling of exhaustion as you attempt to start checking them off until you realize that every new area has a new laundry list of carbon copy side missions identical to the area you just cleared. While I hope that The Witcher 3 doesn’t fall into this category, the comment from the devs about the DLC may come back to haunt them if they drown the user with too many side missions. It will be very unlikely that many people will take the plunge into extra content if they have a mountain of unfinished side quests and achievements.
Listen to the devs
I think it’s safe to say that it’s time for gamers to play it safe when it comes to DLC purchasing, especially when the devs are saying “hold off and play it first”. While the marketing approach from CD Projekt Red is certainly refreshing, the early press and information coming out about the game has me thinking they may be a bit overly confident about their game. I’m not saying it isn’t going to be an amazing and a quality release, but I think they may exhaust their player base and de-motivate them from buying the extra content if they follow the tired “content dump” that numerous other titles like Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed have already worn out. Time will tell, but I say take their advice, and wait on any extra DLC until you’ve sunk a good bit of time into their game.
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