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Fallout 4’s DLC plans should be an industry standard

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Bethesda plans to support Fallout 4 post-launch in various ways, one of which is of course Downloadable Content (DLC). Most AAA titles see multiple DLCs post-launch, ranging from free content for example The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (which is amazing) to multiple titles that push out DLC content of just about any quality or size. 

Developers often create cosmetic DLCs and sell them to consumers, or even go the pay-to-win route, with a prime example being the PayDay 2 debacle where the developer announced gameplay altering microtransactions.

If a developer does plan to support a game post-launch with DLC content and do create a Season Pass, what should be the industry standard pertaining to creation plans? In my opinion, Bethesda has it spot on, shaping DLC content through fan feedback. 

Shaping DLC’s via fan feedback is the way to go

Earlier this year, Bethesda announced that you can purchase a Season Pass for Fallout 4 at the price of $30. However, the developer did not know what the actual DLC content would be. Not everyone is happy about a move like that or even Season Passes in general.

My colleague Tauriq Moosa wrote a brilliant opinion piece after the Fallout 4 Season Pass news broke entitled “Paying for dreams: Fallout 4 Season Pass and empty promises”. Handing over our hard-earned money to developers before we even know which kind of content will be available is generally not a good idea. Further, a developer might create DLC content that fans don’t want or are especially against, such as meagre alternative consumes or other cosmetic items.

The best way to go about creating additional content for a game is to see what fans like, dislike and what they want more of instead of just throwing together content they might not even enjoy.

Is there a good reason for a developer to create a Season Pass without actually telling fans what will be in it? Yes there is, if you have a plan like Bethesda’s. Fallout 4’s game director Todd Howard offered some insight into the game’s upcoming DLC content during the red carpet interview at the Fallout 4 launch party. Mr. Howard said that the direction Bethesda takes with the game’s multiple expansions will be shaped by fan feedback:

"This game is huge, but it's not just this launch. It's going to be well deep into next year. It's like the game is done [air quotes] but it's not done, because until everybody plays it, it's not really done. Because what they bring to it is really important; we're going to see what people like, what they want more of, what they want different, and we're going to do that. Our fans are amazing; they're super-smart. This is important to them, just like it is to us."

If you missed the red carpet interview, you can watch it below:

Listening to fan feedback is always important when shaping a game or additional content. Apart from testing technical matters, Alpha and Beta’s for games are there so developers can have an early look at what fans think. However, with DLC content it is definitely not an industry standard yet, but it should be.

It’s amazing to hear that a developer wants to take a deep look at what players like, what they don’t like and what they would like differently when shaping DLC content, especially in the form of a Season Pass.

Although I was sceptical about a Season Pass with no clear content path set out, the reasoning behind Bethesda’s DLC content plans now become much more apparent. The intention to shape content via fan feedback is an excellent reason to not have a plan laid out for all the DLC content coming to the game.

Do you think more developers should shape their DLC content through fan feedback? Is the Fallout 4 Season Pass a little bit more attractive now? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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