A Truly Fascinating Phenomenon
We spent quite a bit of time trying to determine how we felt about the Dragon Age situation described in today’s comic - a character appears in your camp who offers a questline that is only available in downloadable content. The character is literally a salesman. Is this an act of abominable evil? Or is the mass of this evil sufficient to unfold itself - like a Popple - into a creature capable of love?
The very moment that the Collector’s Edition became available for purchase, I did so. You might imagine that, having done an eight page project for the title, we might have received some kind of consideration in this respect - but as a site that does not offer numerical scores, indeed, as a site which finds the entire notion of numerical scores abhorrent, we don’t manifest near the top of that particular queue. But there’s never been a possibility that I would not purchase Dragon Age, from the moment we saw it in an elemental form at the Electronic Entertainment Expo five years ago. Then, in my mind, I set aside an inviolate amount which would always be oriented toward this purpose.
We are apparently at a point now where the Collector’s Edition is not the ultimate manifestation of a game. Modern Warfare 2, which is the most important product ever, has offered up a Veteran Edition, a Hardened Edition, a Prestige Edition, and presumably a Tumescent Edition. Back when I purchased my Dragon Age, though, I think I had a reasonable expectation that it would be a definitive product. A trailer emerged for Warden’s Keep, and something scratched at the base of my skull when it did so, something about what version would or wouldn’t include it, but I felt confident that this didn’t apply to me.
It turns out that this content comes with the quote Digital Deluxe edition - which they might consider calling the Complete Edition, or perhaps The Entire Game Edition, as it includes the Entire Game. You know perfectly well that I don’t have a problem with the concept of “premium” game additions, I’m unique among amateur industry observers in that I don’t ladle up populist bullshit in an effort to make myself appear a man of the people. I like buying things. But jeezy creezy, guys. The timing, execution, and decision making here are fucking cavalier.
Like Oblivion, the scope of the Dragon Age experience provides some built-in protection from assertions that the base experience is incomplete without the content. There was a time when companies demurred when discussing downloadable content at launch, other than the most routine assurances that maps - of some kind - would be forthcoming. Now, we’ve reached a new threshold, where Day One DLC and the promise of Two Years of unrelenting premium offers are the goal - where pitchmen emerge unbidden in our role-playing games and try sell us valor a la carte.