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Remembering the Pre-DLC Days, When Free Unlockable Content Flowed Like Wine

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Back in the day we'd spend countless hours unlocking every hidden character, special costume, or magical weapon in our video games. Today we simply buy them outright. Commenter Superlocke laments this unfortunate evolution in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.



What exactly is going on with unlockable content in games these days? It's like instead of cramming extras and unlockables into their games, every extra thing that CAN be cut out, IS cut out and sold back to us at a premium.
And how exactly did this happen, I really have to wonder. I have no idea when we all became totally okay with this sort of thing, but it's running RAMPANT right now in gaming.


Case in point for me right now: Tales of Xillia.

I love the Tales of series as much as the next guy, because they're always awesome gameplay wrapped in an epic story, riddled with awesome little cameos and bonuses (costumes for your playable characters in this case) that you can unlock by doing extra dungeons.


Tales of Xillia has roughly $144 worth of costume DLC.

That's coupling in the exchange rate, and a rough calculation at best, but really. REALLY. Almost twice the game itself in DLC - that one generation ago, would have been included on-disc. (There is about 2-3 costumes per character that I know of included in-game. Tales of the Abyss had 7-10 per character for comparison's sake.)


Some DLC I'm okay with, I mean, in philosophy it's BONUS CONTENT to extend a game that you can pay for if you want to keep playing and want something new - Rock Band content, for example, 2-3 bucks a song that's developed and released after the game is all finished, so you can add more of your favourites to your song catalog and have even more fun with friends.

Awesome. More power to them.

But the rest of them... oh the rest of them. Some key perpetrators have been known to cut the REAL ENDING out of a game, and sell it back to us as a 'bonus chapter' of sorts (Prince of Persia I'm looking at you) and somehow... they're getting AWAY WITH IT. Fighting games too, Blazblue to name one - 7.99 per extra character. Which sure, is totally fair for an extra character, but then they go and release a new edition/remix of the game, costing less than all the DLC characters combined, and the new edition has been rebalanced plus other extra tweaks.


Like how does this make sense, how did we get to this point. I could understand to a point. To a POINT. Like if say the fighting game DLC had been timed with patches and such so that we can avoid the whole 'next TURBO SUPER ULTRA GIGA IIDX AWESOMESAUCE edition of the same game and just tweak the current release, I thought that was the POINT of DLC this generation. But apparently it's not. They release both, and for stunted price points so it's hard to tell what the best course of action is sometimes.

I'd love to hear your comments on this one, my fellow Kotakuites. Because I can't figure it out alone. I envision a future where for our base price, we're getting the MEAT of the game, the very bulk, with extras, just like we used to. And DLC is there. It is.. but as a seasoning. The salt and oregano on our very fine cuisine of gaming, supplementing it in a totally optional, yet fun way for those who want it.


What say you?

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.