Witcher 3 Studio Doesn't Believe In DLC

By Pete Haas 2013-07-29 11:40:10 discussion comments
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Witcher 3 players won't be able to pay $5 for an Altair costume for Geralt or $2 for some diamond-plated shinguards. Developer CD Projekt RED says that they don't believe in selling premium content after a game's launch.

"We could sell extra content to gamers 'down the road,' but we donít believe in that," CD Projekt's Konrad Tomaszkiewicz told Examiner in an interview. "We believe patches, fixes and additional content should be provided to gamers free of charge. Only something REALLY big, and something that will not make you feel ripped off, justifies a price tag."

Both Witcher 2 and Witcher were followed up with Enhanced Editions bearing new content and game improvements. The Enhanced Edition cost the same amount as the standard edition and the new content included in it was free to people who previously bought the games. CD Projekt also released mission editors for each game for no charge.

CD Projekt must really bug some developers. Imagine saying in an interview that DLC is a necessary evil because it keeps gamers from trading in their games, and then reading the above quote from Tomaszkiewicz the next day. Or saying that always-on DRM is necessary to stop piracy and then reading another Tomaszkiewicz interview in which he says pirates are "just misunderstood customers" that you need to build a relationship of trust with. Other companies just end up looking like pricks.

Developers and publishers are keen on blaming used games or piracy or the rising costs of AAA development on anti-consumer practices like DRM or pitifully small DLC. I'm not unsympathetic to these companies' attempts to make a profit but they often ignore the fact that there are studios like CD Projekt out there that don't have to put the screws to gamers in order to make a living.

That all being said: I don't think that DLC is wholly evil. Dragonborn was a great addition to Skyrim and the Battlefield 3 expansions filled out that game nicely. These are exceptions to the rule, though. I've regretted most DLC that I've purchased over this generation. It rarely feels like it was worth the price tag.

Tomaszkiewicz doesn't rule out the possibility that CD Projekt will release premium content. However, if they do, it sounds like it will be something sizable.

"If we ever decide to charge you for something, we think you will appreciate what you get in return," he said.

I think one of the main measures of a DLC's worth is whether or not you need it to make the game feel "complete." For example, a developer who sells a big feature (such as multiplayer) as a separate add-on is inviting a shit-storm. The way to avoid that kind of a snafu is to make sure that the base game is sizable. CD Projekt seems to be doing just that, having previously promised that Witcher 3 is over 100 hours long.
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