If you make a bad decision in life, you deserve the opportunity to make amends. This theory can be applied to many aspects of this world, video games included. Heck, I’m the guy who argued that reviews should be updated to reflect the quality of a product post-patches and not just post-launch. But this growing trend of “Apology DLC” being released and even the concept of it existing for games is a sickening one.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was an astronomical mess – we all know that. Last week, Ubisoft released the Dead Kings DLC for the game – a product that was originally intended to be tagged with a price, but became free due to the technical difficulties that the game suffered and as a sort of “please forgive us” plea to customers who bought the broken product on day one. Now I’m not against the nature of a product that was once going to be paid for becoming a free download, and it’s at least a nice gesture that Ubisoft decided to ignore the financial cost of making the DLC and put their customers first.
Some might argue that that was something that they had to do, especially given their recent history with other products published by the company in 2014, but the point is, “apology DLC” as it is now referred to, should not even exist in the first place. Especially if it’s as lame as I hear Dead Kings is. I mean, if you’re going to try to say sorry, at least provide us with something that might actually convince us that you put gamers first. You have no reason to trust me as I haven’t actually played Unity or the Dead Kings DLC, but from what I have been told and have seen with my own eyes, it’s certainly nothing to write home about and the fact that it was originally going to be a product that would involve customers parting with their cash just makes it look like another cash-in would have been. It might be free, but it’s mediocre and therefore just adds salt to the wounds.
If Assassin’s Creed Unity’s attempt at apology DLC fell flat, Dying Light’s is just humiliating, especially to the developers at Techland. At least Unity’s apology DLC was announced after the game was released. In case you didn’t know, it was confirmed by Techland last week that – for whatever reason – the physical boxed release of their upcoming, highly anticipated title – Dying Light – would be delayed outside of the US to a month later.
It was a fairly bizarre move considering that the digital version will go ahead with the original planned release date, therefore the product will have a sort of staggered release. Nevertheless, the topic of conversation here is to do with what Techland said after this announcement. The studio stated that the game would ship with apology DLC. Just take a minute to think about that. The game isn’t even out yet, and the developers/publishers are announcing apology DLC.
They’re apologizing in advance for a product that isn’t out yet. Tell me that’s not disgraceful.
So apparently as gamers we have to go into this game with the knowledge that the developers have already apologized to us about it – what a way to eliminate any faith in a product. Admittedly, they’re not apologizing about the quality of the product (at least not yet) like Ubisoft were with Unity, rather, they are saying sorry due to the delayed release, but the point is that gamers are being used and manipulated to listen to developer’s and publisher’s marketing rubbish. For instance, game X is releasing next week, but the creators have said sorry for a few things that might be wrong with it, so you will forgive them won’t you? Yes, I know that you invested a lot of hard earned money into this product, but they did say sorry, so please buy the game and don’t shout at them when it doesn’t work.
Maybe I’m exaggerating, but that is pretty much how games are being released these days. Developers know that they’re product might not be up to scratch due to time constraints from the publishers, so they feel that they should apologize in advance. Who is really to blame in this twisted scenario? That’s an argument for another day, but the point is that some group of people behind the game think that it is okay for the product to be stripped of certain features that might have a negative impact on its quality, as long as they apologize. “Gamer’s will forgive us” they might think. Well, we shouldn’t. We should demand more respect.
Unfortunately, it’s not just Unity and Dying Light that have fell victim to the infamous apology DLC. 343 Industries was among a number of other studios last year to release free DLC for their game, hoping that it might compensate for – in this case – the fact that Halo The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer mode simply didn’t function.
Publishers, next time you’re thinking about releasing apology DLC as an attempt to rekindle your company’s reputation, don’t bother. Instead, fix your damn game.