BioWare talked about their general philosophy on downloadable content and said that they planned for “Dragon Age” DLC to expand over one and-a-half or two years.
During my interview with BioWare at GDC, VP Greg Zeschuk also spoke about downloadable content and what that means for their new game “Dragon Age: Origins,” since “Mass Effect” only had one piece of DLC to fans’ disappointment. Here’s what he had to say:
MTV Multiplayer: Different game developers have had different strategies for DLC and gamers have had varying reactions. What’s BioWare’s philosophy on DLC?
Greg Zeschuk: We have a very strong philosophy — it’s got to be valuable. This is one of the most important things that we believe: anything we give to our consumers, like to sell to them, whether it’s smaller or bigger, if you’re selling something to someone it’s got to be good and it’s got to be a certain value for the money they’re paying for it.
“Video game consumers are some of the smartest, most connected people on the planet. You can’t trick them with anything, so don’t even try.”
You have to remember that video game consumers are some of the smartest, most connected people on the planet. You can’t trick them with anything, so don’t even try. I don’t think it’s so much as to trick them, as it is the strategy behind it has to be fully thought out. This is the reason that with “Dragon Age,” our DLC strategy is doing it in maybe a year and-a-half or two years, planning exactly when you’re going to do it and how you’re going to do it. Some of our fans would really like us to extend the world, so it’s going to be something that will make the world even bigger and more interesting. It’s not going to wreck it or break it.
MTV Multiplayer: So the DLC is something you now think about at the start of the project?
Zeschuk: You should if you want to do it. Just like if you want to be on different platforms you need to invest in that in the beginning as well. If you want to invest into technologies such as distributed computing, things like that, you need to consider them before planning a launch.
“The key is to make players feel like they’re getting good value… they should feel like they’re getting something that really enhances the experience.”
If you have a separate team working on it, in parallel, a year before the game launches and it’s timed to be ready a little bit after launch that’s really good value for the money. Maybe the first few are just interesting ideas to expand the experience but there’s a variety of ways to enable it. The key is to make players feel like they’re getting good value, and if you have to pay something extra for it, they should feel like they’re getting something that really enhances the experience. A brand new adventure or something that makes the whole game look cool.
Invest in it, and treat it like a separate project, because it is. It’s not the game being launched, but it’s linked into it.