There’s been plenty of discussion over downloadable content ever since it became the norm during the last console generation. Older gamers didn’t like the idea of paying more than the $60 price tag for extra content, especially when they grew up unlocking new stuff by completing tasks or entering a cheat code.
Some gamers also began accusing developers of intentionally holding back content in the main game so they could later sell it as DLC. It certainly didn’t help when content was being placed on the main discs but kept restricted in order to be made available later for extra cash.
But despite all the arguments against it, DLC has proven to be a huge moneymaker for developers. When gamers enjoy a title, they’re willing to pay a few more bucks to squeeze more entertainment out of it— but only if the DLC is good.
The following are examples of story-driven expansions that proved to be well worth the hard-earned cash of loyal fans.
- A Completely Different Scenario
We love getting a new chapter that fits into the main storyline, whether it was before or after. The Last of Us: Left Behind was a neat story campaign that let us learn more about Ellie before we met her as Joel in the game. But sometimes developers go a completely different route, and it works.
There’s no better example of this than the Undead Nightmare content for Red Dead Redemption. The original storyline was known for its serious tone, which made the idea of venturing through a zombie-infested Wild West ridiculous to imagine. Of course, Rockstar made it work and Undead Nightmare is considered one of the best DLC offerings of all time.
- New Mechanics
Adding new mechanics to a game can be difficult from a technical standpoint. Ever since Blizzard introduced flying mounts to World of Warcraft via their “The Burning Crusade” expansion, fans wanted use those same mounts in the original areas that weren’t designed to support it. It wouldn’t be until several years later that Blizzard would make it possible via another expansion.
Of course,the extra work can pay off immensely since gamers love seeing something new in a game they consider to have already mastered. A fantastic example is the Dragonborn add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Among many other awesome things, it introduced the ability to tame and ride Dragons.
- A Look Into The Past
The best part about DLC is that developers often have more freedom. This is because the content they produce doesn’t necessarily have to tie directly to the main storyline in terms of chronological order. Instead, we can experience prequel story DLC that takes us back to an important event that happened before the beginning of the main storyline.
There are many excellent examples of this. “RAAM’s Shadow” for Gears of War 3 let us see what it was like as soon as the infamous Emergence Day occurred. Perhaps one of the best prequel DLC of all time was Bioshock Infinite’s “Burial at Sea,” a two-part expansion that linked Infinite’s story with the beloved original BioShock title.
- Locations Worth Visiting
Creating captivating areas is a bigger challenge than most people realize. This applies even more to DLC since buyers may feel cheated if you give them more of what they already saw in the main game, even if it’s great. That is why many developers put extra effort into creating new locations for their DLC that feels fresh and satisfying.
FromSoftware accomplished this with their expansion to Dark Souls, Artorias of the Abyss. Players can explore a unique environment where they will meet new enemies, bosses, and NPC characters. There was also a ton of lore to discover within the long-lost land of Oolacile, allowing players to learn why it was swallowed by the Abyss long ago.