(So, I wrote a comment on a news story today that ended up being long enough that I figured I might as well add a sentence or two for an intro and slap the thing into a bloggy blog. For posterity! And also for the quest I guess.)
Dead Space 2 announced its first forthcoming bit of DLC today - on the very day the game itself was released. An increasingly common move that has a tendency to feel, well, pretty gross, but one that I actually feel pretty good about in this case. I guess that has to do with the type of DLC it is, a free-standing story starring a different main character that takes place outside of the main story of the game.
(Now, you could make the argument that this is the kind of thing that games like Resident Evil 2 used to include in the retail game as bonuses to reward you for finishing them. And the kind of thing Valve offers its customers for free as a value-add. And well okay you might have a point. But that's a whole other... yeah. That's a whole other thing.)
As far as paid DLC goes, this is the kind of idea I can really get behind-- the kind of experience that stands on its own, tells its own story, and doesn't make you feel like you're having an incomplete experience without it-- a problem that even games with good DLC - like Fallout 3 - can suffer from. I hate being in the weird position of having to break immersion to speculate about design-- to try to decide whether an optional gun is going to break the difficulty balance, or where in the game's story arc a DLC side-mission will actually fit properly, or whether it's going to break the flow, and do I have to start it before I finish the game, and is any of this even supposed to be canon, and oh god whatever.
I like this type of DLC because I feel like I'm buying something that has its own discrete value. Its own beginning, middle, and end. It adds to the game it's attached to, but without competing for your attention or getting in the way. So yeah. Undead Nightmare, Minerva's Den, the GTA IV episodes... and hopefully this. I mean, I'm probably missing some other good examples, but the point remains: Standalone DLC. That's the way to do it.
Not this Dragon Age "bolt on a hundred flags and masts hanging off the side of your ship and hope it still floats" mentality.
Mass Effect 2, you're borderline.
You're just lucky all that stuff was good.