Monday, February 02, 2009

It's my game and I'll cheat if I want to


About a week ago, EA announced that there would be some downloadable content for Skate 2 that, if bought, would unlock everything in the game.

This seemed to kick up quite a fuss online, with the usual cries that EA were ruining everything.

Personally, I don't really see what the problem is with this DLC.

Now, just to make clear - this isn't unlocking stuff that without the DLC is unobtainable. This is unlocking the things that anyone with enough time and skill could get on their own.

From a game design point of view - if a player wants to unlock everything from the start, that's up to them. Usually games use unlockable content as a series of carrots to lead you through a game, but honestly, if a game needs that to keep players interested then it has serious problems anyway. And from everything I've heard Skate 2 is a good enough game anyway. Players having the best weapon, all available outfits, or the fastest skateboard at the start of the game shouldn't break your game design. At worst it should unbalance it, but anything more serious is a cock-up on your part.

From a business point of view the DLC obviously makes a lot of sense, getting some extra money for little extra work.

From a customer point of view, I can see it's a little muddier. But plenty of games, both contemporary and retro, contain no cheats at all to unlock all of the content. Saints Row 2, for example, has a wealth of missions, weapons, upgrades, and clothes. But no cheat code to unlock them all. So someone who has bought that game will be required to play for however many hours to access all of the content.

The thing is, what if they don't have the time? Why should a player who has a lot of spare time or skill get access to more of a game, when they have paid the same amount for it?

In short, what is wrong with money rich, time poor, players accessing the whole game?

PS - I have eventually buckled, and bought a copy of Left 4 Dead that wasn't in a sale. So if, like me, you were waiting, it'll probably turn up in a 2 for £20 offer any day now. If you already have a copy though, hit me up when I'm on Live, and I'll play at shooting zombies with you. If you weren't even thinking about buying it - why the hell not? It is very good indeed.

1 comment:

JamesMcParker said...

Nice work captain price-o-reduce:

Left 4 Dead only 25 quid