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DLC... a lot of gamers groan whenever it pops up in a headline, as the focal point of a story, and especially when the words “Pre-Order” and “DLC” are used together in the same sentence. Well, this is probably one of the few times where “DLC” might receive a finger to the chin and a few moments of pondering and deliberation.
IGN picked up some choice quotes from an interview that NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon had with the very popular Angry Joe, where Boon talked about the upcoming DLC for Mortal Kombat X and how you won't have to buy it to actually get a taste of it. Yes, that's right... Mortal Kombat X will feature try-before-you-buy DLC.
Boon explicitly and emphatically states...
“Every day when you come on, there's going to be three Towers in the Living Towers section. One changes every hour, one changes every day, and one is called a Premiere Tower, which is like an event tower. So for instance, if Jason comes along, we're going to have a Jason Tower, where you play as Jason and fight up in it--and you can even use that tower if you didn't even purchase Jason. So it's really cool, it gives players a taste of what the character is like to play."
I can live with that... I can... except when the DLC is finished before the game comes out. I mean, essentially if you pre-order the DLC that's already finished then you're buying finished content that's stripped from the main game. Worse yet is that if this is the case it's just a more slick alternative to Capcom's disc-locked content method, where they packaged in 12 characters, colors, costumes and gems onto the Street Fighter x Tekken disc and charged people extra for all of the content.
After Capcom's little stunt many gamers worried that publishers would get slick and announce that the DLC wouldn't be included on the disc but would still be finished before the game launches. In this case, it's hard for me to imagine that if they're already talking about Jason Voorhees – one of the special DLC characters part of the Kombat Pack – being part of the Living Towers mode, it almost makes me think he's a lot further along in completion than I first thought.
However, at least there's a compromise here. Allowing players to take DLC for a spin through the living towers mode is a heck of a lot more enticing than forcing people to pay for DLC before the game comes out or having them pre-order from specific retailers to gain access to exclusive content.
Even if you don't pay for Jason or the Kombat Pack, you still have an opportunity to give him a test run in Mortal Kombat X. It sure beats having him locked on the disc and not being able to play him at all.
Of course, the compromise here is that you have to play online and during the time of which Jason's cycle on the living towers comes around, otherwise you're fresh out of luck. I'm kind of torn on this, because for games where DLC actually isn't finished before launch and the developers release the characters or content post-launch, having the opportunity to demo out DLC before you buy is a grand idea. I love it.
On the flip-side, this method could also encourage publishers to push developers to finish up DLC and release alongside the rest of the game and then push really hard with the DLC trial access. There will come a time where you're paying $60 for a base game and then $12 through $20 for every small piece of extra content. I know some people think that's bogus, but never forget that Capcom actually charged people for the true ending to Asura's Wrath. Never forget.
Mortal Kombat X is set for an initial release on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC on April 14th. The game is set to release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 this summer.