These days, it seems as though almost every game has some sort of downloadable content (DLC) planned well before release. In some cases the DLC is advertised before we know much about the main game. With the rising costs of development, it’s one way that developers and publishers make extra money off their products while simultaneously offering more value to the end consumer.
DLC has been criticized many times in the past. Some stories, such as the infamous horse armor from The Elder Scrolls series are more outlandish than others. The main issue with most DLC is that it’s simply an extension of the original game. Many gamers feel as though 10 years ago that kind of DLC would have been included in the main game at no additional cost. However, when it comes to DLC, Ubisoft is making waves and may be able to change this negative mentality.
With the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ubisoft will offer a season pass for $29.99 that provides a 30 percent discount on all of the DLC items available for Assassin’s Creed Unity. While some of the DLC included in the season pass bundle is more traditional DLC that simply expands the main game with new missions set in Paris, that’s only the beginning.
For players who enjoy Assassin’s Creed Unity, the additional Paris-based missions will provide several hours of gameplay, but it’s just more of the same. What separates the Assassin’s Creed Unity DLC from the DLC that most companies offer is the Dead Kings campaign and the side game, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. Both of these offer something different from the main game and add considerable value to the idea of DLC.
We covered Dead Kings and ACC: China in-depth, so be sure to check out our coverage for extensive details on each. What’s important about both of these DLC items is the fact that they’re not simply an extension of the main game. Dead Kings takes place outside of Paris and features gameplay that focuses more on solving puzzles than the traditional Assassin’s Creed style of play. You’re still playing as the main character of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Arno Dorian, but the location and some elements of the gameplay have changed. Given the fact that Unity takes place entirely in Paris, that’s a significant change from the main game.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China takes this concept one step further. While the game is still an Assassin’s Creed title at heart, it has virtually nothing to do with Assassin’s Creed Unity. Arno isn’t the main character, the DLC doesn’t take place in Paris and it’s not even a third-person action-adventure title. ACC: China is a 2.5D sidescrolling adventure game that’s more akin to the classic Prince of Persia titles than it is to Assassin’s Creed Unity. Many excited gamers have even stated they’re more interested in ACC: China than Unity, going as far as to say they’re buying Unity just to play ACC: China.
Ubisoft isn’t stopping with Assassin’s Creed Unity. If you take a look at what the company has in store for the Far Cry 4 season pass, there’s a similar experience to be had. While it doesn’t offer quite as much value as ACC: China in Unity, in addition to the extension of the main game, players can pick up the new player vs. player (PvP) mode called Overrun. This isn’t a complete departure from the main game, but a considerable addition that goes above and beyond what most companies consider DLC.
While $30 is half the price of a full game, you don’t need to buy the season pass to enjoy the value of what Ubisoft is offering with this kind of DLC. The company has yet to announce individual pricing, but with the Assassin’s Creed Unity season pass offering a 30 percent discount, and the Far Cry 4 season pass offering a 20 percent discount, we put our high school algebra skills to work. If you purchase every piece of Unity DLC separately, it would come to roughly $43, which probably means ACC: China will be somewhere in the realm of $10-15. That’s basically the same price the game would be if it was a standalone release on Xbox Live or PSN.
Some companies offer DLC value that rivals what Ubisoft is offering with Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, but it’s certainly not standard practice. Hopefully other publishers pick up on what Ubisoft is doing and continue to add more value when it comes to DLC. In the meantime, expect a complete walkthrough of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China and FarCry 4 in the coming weeks.