Having played Skyrim’s newest and only DLC, Dawnguard, I found myself being visited by an unwelcome and saddening idea. What this idea was could not be put into words at the time but I felt it there, gnawing at my consciousness like the panic one feels after having experienced the unspeakable horror of a broken condom.
This elusive idea first took root in my mind upon the trivial realization that modern DLCs really have no objective standard to be held to; developers can do what they want.
Some DLCs are clearly exercises in highway robbery, a style that Capcom has become quite proficient at as seen in titles like Marvel vs Capcom and Dragon’s Dogma (Search all around Gransys for coins?! Really?). Other DLCs have content that is actually worth mentioning; The Elder Scrolls’ Shivering Isles was bonkers, Mass Effect 2’s The Shadow Broker was pretty sick as well (the adjectives just used are meant to suggest goodness despite the actual meanings of the word).
However, given the freedom inherent in this rather new practice, there is only one outcome that is available to the gaming populace.
Perhaps it is my cheery, pessimistic outlook on life or maybe it’s my contradictive, complimentary attitude but whenever I see the tiniest hint of freedom within big business, I panic. No matter how noble their intentions they will always wind up fucking the consumer; it’s in their nature, they exist to make money.
So Shola, you ask, how the hell does this relate to what you were ranting about several minutes ago?
Well, since the excrement that is intended to pass for DLC nowadays is held to no standard, we will eventually get to the point in which the cost of production will only be a microscopic fraction of the cost that is experienced by the consumer.
I’m talking some scientific notation type shit; the cost of production costs 10 raised to the power of -5 while the remainder represents what we, the consumers, pay.
This is extreme but the main idea is that without restrictions businesses will do whatever they can to save money. This ultimately leads to a reduction of quality. Pretty soon games will be thirty minute tutorial battles and the missing content will be split into 10 pieces and time released at twenty bucks a pop.
I sound crazy but it’s true.
It’s been a while since I played the Oblivion and Fallout expansions but Dawnguard felt crazy short to me. Maybe my memory isn’t as sharp as I’d like to think but content-wise I didn’t feel like Skyrim’s first DLC held a light to Oblivion’s. If this downward trend in regards to the applications of downloadable content by developers is any sign of our final destination as a gaming culture then we are all in deep shit.
However, this can all be the rantings of a madman who is afraid of his own shadow.
Either way, vampires still suck.