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A lot of gamers have been peeved this generation about this whole DLC thing. Essentially, it's about the same as content expansion packs for free-to-play games or premium items from a cash shop, the only thing is a lot of the DLC that gamers have become disgruntled with is attached to premium-priced retail games. Well, the rabbit hole goes deeper.
After sniffing through files on the disc, a pesky hacker found out that the day-one DLC for Mass Effect 3 was already stored on the disc and that the "From Ashes" squad mate was completed along with the other characters already in the game before the game went gold.
Escapist Magazine came across the news thanks to Crystal Prison Zone who had a file-investigator peek into the disc to scrounge, sift and pry away at the contents. On the base of it all, the file sizes, sound files and voice files are already stored on the disc and are complete, however due to their encryption it's difficult to tell how complete or incomplete they are. One thing is for sure, BioWare's Casey Hudson lied about the content not being ready to ship with the gold version of the disc, since it did.
In this case it's looking like the Mass Effect 3 situation is quite similar to the Capcom situation with Street Fighter X Tekken. However, we won't know for sure until the rest of the encrypted files are further pried open to see just how complete they are, but for the most part it's looking like the file structure of the "From Ashes" DLC was as complete as the rest of the files on the game's disc, which you can view over at the Crystal Zone (Warning: spoilers are given away on the website due to the files being exposed).
According to the Official Xbox Magazine, former BioWare employee Christina Norman, who now works with Riot Games on League of Legends, further defended the day-one DLC measure, saying...
"Building good DLC is really hard, and developers are constantly trying to find a way to develop that DLC better, get it out to players, and to reach players" .... "There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game comes out when most people have already sold it back to Gamestop three times. So, that means getting it out early. That means day one DLC."
Well, Rockstar actually did release DLC well after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, a year after the game was already on store shelves. A better argument would be, if you make the game complete enough you won't have to worry about gamers trading it in at GameStop three or more times within a six month period. That tells you a lot about the quality of the game, no?
Added to this, Bethesda usually waits three to six months before any DLC appears for their games and it's usually greeted with a well-welcomed response from a community of gamers who haven't traded in their copy. Again, it's telling if gamers still own a title six months to a year after its release and still support it by purchasing extra DLC. It's not the consumer's fault that a $60 purchase has a week long shelf-life before being traded in or dumped.
Norman wasn't done ranting, though, the ex-BioWare employee had this to say...
"Game developers are not evil... we just want to release awesome stuff. So players, please give us a chance, judge our games based on what they are, judge the DLC based on what it is, and stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."
Well Tim Schafer doesn't mind you telling him where or how content should be, but then again gamers don't care about giving Double Fine Productions input after giving them $2 million up front for their next project. They simply trust that Double Fine will deliver.
In the end, though, it's looking like consumers will have less and less of a say so on the ownership of content they purchase within the game industry. The trends many people feared would expand into a monopoly of microtransaction content contained within premium retail goods has actually become a reality. It won't be long before you're paying $60 for a four-hour game, and $10 for every extra hour of gameplay.
Be sure to check out the entire blog and the findings of the Mass Effect 3 on-disc DLC find over at Crystal Zone or learn about whether or not the DLC is worth the purchase.