Downloadable content, even years after its first appearance, is still a divisive issue among gamers. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim director Todd Howard says that the timing and execution needs to be handled well.
"There’s this weird line between – if you do DLC too early everyone’s pissed off. We have found, if you wait too long, they’re pissed off," Howard told Joystiq. "We have a very smart audience. We do feel the pressure to make sure it fits into the game smoothly."
DLC has always had image problems, it's true. Some of that is the game companies' fault; more than one developer has been caught charging players for "new" content that actually shipped on disc. Still, even when they don't do that, gamers are cynically enough to condemn any DLC released in close proximity to the game's launch. "It should've been included with the full game," etc.
Does anyone really get pissed off over late DLC? It's been over half a year since Skyrim's launch and Bethesda hasn't released any new content yet. I wouldn't say that players are angry with them. If anything, it's only increased the anticipation for the content. Skyrim's an unusual case, though, because it's so long. The sheer size of the game kept players busy while Bethesda worked on Dawnguard.
Dawnguard, the first downloadable content for the game, won't be presented as a standalone adventure. Instead, the new content will simply be added to the world. Players will have to track it down on their own.
"One of the potential negatives to like 'Joe Consumer' is they'll buy it, they'll load up Skyrim, they'll be like, 'Where is it?' Well, you gotta go find it," said Howard.
Dawnguard puts players in the middle of a war between vampire lords and their hunters. The content will debut on the Xbox 360 on June 26th. Bethesda is currently accepting applications for the beta test on that platform.