Rocket League. The game shocked the gaming world last summer when it showed us just how much fun slamming rocket-boosted cars into a giant soccer ball can be.
Constant post-launch support helps keep the community coming back for more. And, the latest DLC appears to take it to the next level. Gamespot nabbed an exclusive look at what’s coming in the February update. It’s called Rocket Labs and brings three new insane maps to a dedicated playlist. Check out Mary Kish’s story for more.
DLC’s new face
We are seeing a shift in DLC. Developers like Psyonix (Rocket League) are opting for free DLC to keep the player base from fragmenting while also offering premium cosmetic DLC. And, it’s working brilliantly for Rocket League. Hell, I bought several cars. Partly because they look cool, but also as a way to support Psyonix for making a fantastic game.
Major publishers are also adopting similar models. Halo 5: Guardians made headlines when it announced all maps would be free. 343 Industries and Microsoft make extra money by selling REQ packs (cards that give you skins, power weapons for Warzone, etc). The proceeds from the REQ packs help fund additional DLC and support Halo 5’s resurgence back into competitive gaming. A portion of all REQ backs purchased goes to the tournament prize pool, which now sits at $2 million.
You know shit’s getting real when Ubisoft adopts a similar model. Ubisoft knew Rainbow Six Siege was their opportunity to bring the franchise back to life 8 years after the last entry. But to do it, they needed to keep the community together. They continued using a season pass model, but all maps, operators and updates are free. The season pass gives players 7-day early access to Operators, exclusive skins, and a small permanent boost for progression. It’s there if you want it, but not necessary to get all the content (outside of exclusive cosmetic skins).
EA also dipped a toe in by announcing free DLC coming to Battlefront. That came as fans voiced their displeasure at the amount of content in Battlefront. Battlefront’s season pass is still there, but EA/DICE also plan to release free DLC alongside it.
Will this trend continue?
I hope so. But realistically? I see publishers approaching it on a case-by-case basis. Certain games just lend themselves to premium DLC better. Take The Division for instance. In a perfect world, free DLC would work. But, I don’t know if that’s feasible given how massive the world is. It all depends on the scope of the DLC. I just don’t see Ubisoft offering huge chunks of new open world environments for free. As it stands, Ubisoft plans to offer three expansions via a season pass.
Besides open-world games, there are two games that can hold out. Call of Duty and Battlefield. I don’t have a problem buying DLC for either game. Why? They’re known quantities. Both games already offer a ton of value, and both have proven they can provide compelling premium DLC. In Battlefield 4’s case, DICE LA is releasing free new maps and major updates two years after its release.
Free DLC is the perfect marketing tool. Everyone perked up when they heard Halo 5 and Rainbow Six Siege was getting free DLC. I was buying both already anyways, but free DLC solidified those purchases.
I see more developers and publishers going this route, especially for multiplayer-centric games. Plus, it keeps those still embracing premium DLC on their toes. If they don’t deliver incredible DLC, fans will point to games like Halo 5, Rainbow Six Siege and Rocket League and wonder – ‘why am I paying for DLC?’