Published on May 12th, 2020 | by gareth0
Will Gamers See More DLC During This Time Of Isolation Due to Production Challenges For New Games
Out of college I worked for both Monolith and Sierra and got a real look at how gaming works over my years there. My media work continued to grow and Sierra was supportive of it as I got to see multiple aspects of game design, promotion, marketing and support.
I recently spoke with the head of publicity for a major publisher over Social Media and they discussed how despite having successful launches while isolation was happening; it is much harder as there are steps to the design process that cannot be done easily in a remote setting.
I remember the rush to launch where developers, testers, and support would be going over the latest build trying to iron out as many issues as they could. I still remember going over Tribes 2 the day before it went Gold despite the objections of pretty much everyone outside of the executive level. I had to identify potential issues with the game and find solutions so the support team could have something to tell customers who called and e-mailed needing help getting their game to run.
While this could have been done remotely, there are aspects which are easier to resolve with people all in one area versus sending them online and waiting for replies.
I was talking with a staff member the other day about the wave of upcoming Virtual events and had an idea that perhaps in this wave of isolation we may see more DLC from companies than originally planned.
I suggested that a game that is already out has many issues such as network, art, engine, and such already resolved as there is a final game that has already been launched and patched.
For designers it can often be easier to add on to an existing product than to create a new one. Imagine a team of developers who are working away on a new game and they reach a point where they can no longer continue their work until another part of the team does their part. Instead of wasted productivity that team can help plan, design, and develop new DLC ideas which in turn can be given to other teams when they reach a down point of production.
I remember working on Get Medieval where we would often wait hours and in some cases days after evaluating a build for the developers to evaluate the bugs we located and make necessary fixes and adjustments.
Most of that time was spent waiting, playing other games, and browsing the web as we waited to be told the latest build was available to download and install so we could first check if the bugs had been fixed and to look for new ones that had arisen.
When I worked on a later project; I used that down time to suggest new content for Blood 2: The Chosen including a level segment and level design that made it into the final build.
My point is that developers with time on their hands who may have an extended wait under the current situation may be tasked with creating new DLC content. Few people expected new DLC for Borderlands 2 with a new game coming but new content did indeed arrive years after the release of the first game. I also remember how RAGE got new content well after the release of the game so this idea is possible.
DLC also allows developers to cut down production costs and increase revenue as now down time is being used to create something with a smaller budget to increase revenue.
Time will tell as even DLC has had to deal with delays while in Isolation. Both Zombie Army 4: Dead War and Fallout 76: Wastelanders saw delays in their planned launches but even under the best of situations; delays do happen in the gaming industry.
One thing is for sure; there are some very talented people who are working away to ensure we have plenty of gaming options for the future.