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BioWare Planning 2 Years of Dragon Age DLCs

Greg Zeschuk of BioWare proclaims that continuous DLC content is a big part of the Dragon Age release.

The Ultima VIII Sound Pack was my first experience with expansion content
MTV Multiplayer has an interview up with BioWare VP Greg Zeschuk where he mentions that they're planning for up to two years of DLC content for Dragon Age: Origins, the multi-platform RPG set to be released later this year. Here's the quote.
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.

If you're interested in more of what Greg has to say about Dragon Age check out the special BioWare Bombcast Brad and Ryan did with him a week ago. It's a good listen.

Being an old-man PC gamer I remember the previous name for DLC content -- Expansion Packs. You remember, those physical boxed copies of CD / DVDs or floppies where you'd install new content onto your existing game. While I know some people think we hit the zenith with DLCs when horse armor for Oblivion came around I challenge you to remember a time when you'd actually pay for sound pack additions (dude, when you step on the grass it makes noise!) in games like Ultima VIII: Pagan. In any case, do you guys think the traditional physical expansion pack is a thing of the past? With games like Dragon Age potentially escewing the physical updates common in the genre (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights...etc) I wouldn't be surprised if players could only get expansion content digitally within the next two years. While I'm all for that in concept I wonder if we'll get to the point where DLC content will cost $30-$40 like their expansion pack brethren. For the most part, the norm has been for DLCs to include small updates and moderate pricing but with content like Lost and Damned for GTA4 I think the lines are getting a little blurry. What do you think? Is is simply a question of the delivery medium? Dave Snider on Google+
31 Comments
Posted by snide
The Ultima VIII Sound Pack was my first experience with expansion content
MTV Multiplayer has an interview up with BioWare VP Greg Zeschuk where he mentions that they're planning for up to two years of DLC content for Dragon Age: Origins, the multi-platform RPG set to be released later this year. Here's the quote.
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.

If you're interested in more of what Greg has to say about Dragon Age check out the special BioWare Bombcast Brad and Ryan did with him a week ago. It's a good listen.

Being an old-man PC gamer I remember the previous name for DLC content -- Expansion Packs. You remember, those physical boxed copies of CD / DVDs or floppies where you'd install new content onto your existing game. While I know some people think we hit the zenith with DLCs when horse armor for Oblivion came around I challenge you to remember a time when you'd actually pay for sound pack additions (dude, when you step on the grass it makes noise!) in games like Ultima VIII: Pagan. In any case, do you guys think the traditional physical expansion pack is a thing of the past? With games like Dragon Age potentially escewing the physical updates common in the genre (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights...etc) I wouldn't be surprised if players could only get expansion content digitally within the next two years. While I'm all for that in concept I wonder if we'll get to the point where DLC content will cost $30-$40 like their expansion pack brethren. For the most part, the norm has been for DLCs to include small updates and moderate pricing but with content like Lost and Damned for GTA4 I think the lines are getting a little blurry. What do you think? Is is simply a question of the delivery medium?
Posted by lamegame621

Hmm...I've never really pondered the transition from expansion pack to DLC..

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

DLC, just like physical extra content, should be priced based on content. As long as developers don't charge $30 for half an hour of content (if I pay $30 for DLC, and th game itself lasted me 12 hours, I will expect to get atleast 3 hours out of it), then I say we should move to DLC, but still make it possble for people who can't get DLC to get the content some other way.

Posted by unangbangkay

It really depends on the game. I suppose the real line between expansion packs and DLC at this point is presence at retail (i.e. none with some exceptions), and quantity/quality of content.

For example, Operation Anchorage and The Pitt for FO3 are DLC for their lack of size and retail presence, but Shivering Isles and Storm of Zehir for Oblivion/NWN2 are definitely expansion packs. A line-straddler in the case of Oblivion would probably be Knights of the Nine, whose size is closer to The Pitt and does not include an all-new campaign or areas. KotN also had no retail presence except as a DLC compilation.

Despite my preference for digital distribution these days I hope that DLC or compiled DLC continues to have a retail presence, if only for reasons of preservation and the used market. You can't distribute DLC (without pirating it), but you can sell an expansion pack/DLC compilation to a friend.

Posted by zityz

Im sure Bioware will put more effort into thier DLC than a certain OTHER company has recently.
Also, I'd have to say that bioware is possibly my favorite RPG company now, moreso than Square-enix now-a-days.

Posted by raidingkvatch

You should pay for what you get, as for delivery mode, I think we'll continue to see a shift towards digital delivery for extra content, as it becomes universally available, simply because it's most convenient for the consumer

PS Starcraft: Brood War = best expansion pack ever (not that I'm at all biased by how much I love Starcraft)

Posted by LordAndrew

As long as we're not going to be paying for sound packs.

Edited by ahoodedfigure

I think there will always be people who can't DL DLC, so it's up to the companies who want to reach a wider audience to maybe include DLC installs on existing games in later releases in order to reach those people and others who may have not bought the game when it first came out.

The problem I have with expansions/DLC is that they tend to justify shoddy releases on hyped games.  When Dragon Age promises DLC it makes me hope that the original game is going to be worth getting in the first place, and the anal retentives who need to have every little thing won't make the company feel safe by spreading out their game over many expansions instead of getting it right the first time.  (See?  I can't help but call them expansions.)

That, and horse armor.

Edited by Linkyshinks

If pricing hits that $40 dollar mark, I would consider that dubious, depending on the content in question of course.  DLC is meant to keep distributions costs at a minimal, allowing developers to put out content at cheaper cost. We are told, or at least it's implied by developers, that if they can reduce such distribution costs the prices they charge for content can be kept low.

The way I see it, the only thing that can see DLC reach a worrying prices is a substantial increase in developement costs. Games may well cost more to make in the future as the technology improves, not easier. The latest CPU's and GPU's may be a lot more labourious to design for, and this could hike up costs significantly.  Not in the near future, but certinly in the next five years or so with the next generation of consoles and  large projects. I think DLC for such games could easily hit a price range that would shock many, today.


Cannot wait for this game :D





Posted by dagas

My first expansion was the WarCraft 2 expansion. As I see it, most DLC is more like what they used to call an add-on than a full blown expansion, but I guess there is no reason why expansions cannot be DLC these days, however most 360 owners are still limited to 20GB of which only 13GB is unlocked and there are plenty of things to fill that space with so I rather have a disc.

Edited by Jayzilla

i think with the advent of onlive, everything is going to change. the guy that ryan interviewed from onlive said they, "solved" the packet issue. if that is indeed the case, we will all be playing on netbooks here within the next 5 years, and console makers might be up a creek so to speak.

Posted by name_generated

"DLC content"...redundant much?  :P

Edited by Al3xand3r

Digital distribution overlaps with conventional distribution methods so much there's really no distinction between DLC and expansion packs, except for the fact DLC tends to offer much less content for not quite as much less of the price. If BioWare prefer to just rush out content every 1 or 2 months, quest by quest or something, instead of create a meaningful complete experience that could be called an expansion pack without shame, well, whatever works for them. I'll only buy meaningful content that justifies its price.

Not all companies go that route. I'm very much looking forward to the Mount&Blade and King's Bounty: The Legend expansion packs and those deserve to be called that whether you buy them in a box or over some digital download service.

Of course, nowadays, companies would rather call things like that sequels and charge a full 60 for them.

Me, I like seeing them acknowledge the fact the expansion pack won't take as much work or time as the original game, since the technology and a lot of the actual content (the models, textures, buildings, characters, sounds, etc) is already done and PAID FOR by the consumer, and therefor dub the continuation an expansion and charge less for it, as long as you have the original.

Posted by Rodiard

Good news, unless it only means they are planning to release one three-hour DLC quest 1.5-2 years after the release of Dragon Age.  I'm still not sold on Dragon Age, so part of me wishes this news was for Mass Effect 2.

Edited by Metal_Mills

Their last 3 games they claimed to be adding a lot of DLC. We got 1 for Mass Effect...that's it. Hell for ME they claimed it would be a constant stream of DLC leading up to ME2.

Bioware suck at DLC, we'll see 1 bit of it for Dragon Age if we're lucky.

Posted by Systech

Damn, son. That's really, really awesome.

Posted by atejas

My love still goes for CDProjekt. They remastered their game and added a few new quests and released the soundtrack, all for free.

Posted by MeatSim

two years? that's quite a commitment.

Posted by SheikYerbouti_Strikes_Back

As you pointed out, DLC and "Expansion Pack" boxes are more or less the same thing. Of course, being that DLC means not having to run down to the local store to grab a box, then head back and sit through a mandatory installation process.

Essentially, DLC = "Expansion Pack" boxes with the middle-man cut out. So, yes, it will remain the norm. Hardly a grand revelation.

Posted by Media_Master

I wonder why the dlc was not part of the game.

Posted by coonce

love me some dlc

Posted by dillinger

is that saying they're going to put out DLC constantly for 2 years? or is it saying instead that they're going to take 1.5-2 years to make quality DLC then release it

Posted by Ghostin

I agree with the comparison, but expansion packs were reviewed as a standalone product... we knew what was in them, and if they were worth the money.  I can only think of two pieces of DLC that have ever been treated like that, until the quality and value of DLC can be assured before purchase I will still be skeptical.  Especially as we will no longer own the content.

With the old exapnsion packs, we - as a group - had an idea of the minimum we would expect for £15.

Online
Posted by Undeadpool

Not to be a naysayer, but wasn't there supposed to be a bunch of DLC for that OTHER Bioware game...about the Effect of Mass?
Don't get me wrong, still gonna run out and gleefully buy this, I just hope that their two years of DLC is more than a single (though HIGHLY satisfying) two hour mission.

Posted by DrRandle

I'm just going to add to the people who point out that Mass Effect was supposed to get DLC and so far has gotten one piece of junk.

Posted by Arkthemaniac

Can DLC be pluralized?


Downloadable contents?
Posted by TripMasterMunky

BioWare makes the only RPGs I like nowadays. KotoR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect...

Posted by mracoon

Hopefully it's proper stuff and not what happened to Mass Effect, where they released one ok add-on and moved on.

Not to be picky but the title isn't gramatically correct as '2 years of DLCs' means '2 years of downloadable contents', when it should just DLC.

Moderator
Posted by Jimbo7676

You can still call the big ones expansion packs. Even if you are downloading them that does not necessarily mean they have to be cheap, small updates. I mean I download full games off of steam all the time. Downloading will phase out or at least reduce the purchase of physical copies of games anyway. The first things to go would probably be expansion packs. It's good to see you posting more often lately Dave.

Posted by MattyFTM

It's not really a surprise that they're moving from retail expansion packs into the downloadable market.

Moderator
Posted by Snail

Holy crap, that seems to be what Take Two is doing with GTA IV.

TALK ABOUT INNOVATION EH?