Evolve Is a Perfect Example of Hidden Costs and Poor DLC Policy

Evolve Is a Perfect Example of Hidden Costs and Poor DLC Policy

By now you probably already know about the Evolve DLC controversy. The game will launch with a “Season Pass” DLC that costs about 25 dollars. It includes three monster skins and four playable non-monster characters. What this season pass won’t get you is DLC monsters, which will retail for about 15 dollars apiece. You can get one by pre-ordering the game, but reports say that two more may be on the horizon. This has made people more than a little bit angry.

We have become very used to the idea of DLC in our current market. The notion that all of a game’s content will not be available at launch has just become something that we accept. The existence of a Season Pass has been there to help offset the burden of buying each individual piece of DLC. The idea behind these Season Passes is that you purchase the pass up front, and you’ll simply get every piece of DLC the game has to offer, so it’s kind of just like purchasing a full game.

But in recent times, the definition of “Season Pass” has started to waver. Instead of giving you access to all the DLC the game has to offer, it now gives you access to all the “planned” DLC that the game has to offer. In other words, you get any content that the developers decided that they were going to hold back when they were originally developing the game, but any other “special” DLC has to be purchased separately. So you aren’t really getting a whole season. You are just getting a DLC bundle.

Sometimes this is permissible. Borderlands 2 actually used the Season Pass strategy somewhat decently. The Season Pass gave you all the extra story content. You then had to pay extra for character classes and special raid bosses. Yes, it was a little annoying, but players did feel like they were getting their money’s worth.

Evolve , on the other hand, feels more than a bit disingenuous with its DLC policies. Let’s examine the game for a second. First of all, it is a multiplayer game with no single-player component and is releasing at a full 60 dollar price tag. This alone makes some gamers feel a bit put off. Maybe even a ten dollar discount would make them feel like they are getting something more worth their value, but multiplayer only games seem to be stretching their cost to worth ratio when they charge 60 dollars.

Still, Evolve was a fantastic game when I played it at E3, and I would love to play it again. So maybe it can make up that extra cost with plain old quality. However, now we have to examine the Season Pass. The fact that the Season Pass includes four playable character classes, and that the game is entirely based around teamwork, means that most serious players of the game will have to get the Season Pass, coming in at 25 dollars, or 30 dollars if you buy each piece of content in the game individually. This brings the game’s real cost up to 85-90 dollars.

Not only that, but the game will only feature 3 monsters to play as, that is, unless you pre-order it. Alone, this pre-order monster, the Behemoth, will cost 15 dollars if you don’t pre-order. So now we are looking at an 85 (pre-order and season pass)-105 (no pre-order or season pass) dollar game.

And then there’s the fact that two monsters will be coming out later, each retailing for 15 dollars. This adds ANOTHER 30 dollar price tag onto the game, increasing it to 115-135 dollar game, and this isn’t including any further DLC that may come out down the line.

Evolve Is a Perfect Example of Hidden Costs and Poor DLC Policy

There is a reason why I say “serious players” will need to purchase this DLC. To be able to play against certain monsters or hunters, you need to be able to play as them. Some of the most effective strategies in the game will be locked if you don’t have certain characters that can combine their powers effectively. That’s just how emergent gameplay works.

But that’s all subjective. Let’s break this down to sheer math. Considering all the content that has been announced so far, the game will launch with 4 hunter classes, each with 3 hunters in them. That’s 12 hunters all together, and 3 monsters. Another 3 monsters will be locked via DLC, as will another 4 hunters. So that’s 15 playable characters on all sides from the beginning, and 7 unplayable characters locked as DLC. That means approximately 31 percent of the game is DLC that you’ll have to pay for, and you are paying nearly as much for that 31 percent as you paid for the original game!

There is a word for this: presumptuous. I will say it right now, Evolve is a great game. I see myself getting addicted to it in the near future. But this is a sure fire way to take a great game and turn people off to it. This is Evolve assuming that it is great, assuming that it has monetary worth before it even hits store shelves, and that is problematic. It’s crafty, but problematic.

You see, to save money, people are being encouraged to pre-order the game so they get the Behemoth, the pre-order monster, rather than having to drop 15 dollars on it later. This kind of corners people who do want to play in full, even if they might have waited to see review scores before their purchase otherwise. 2K and Turtle Rock now have these players in their pocket and will likely get them to purchase all further DLC just to keep up with the game. It’s a way to push people into getting your game not via their own critical decision to do so, but to save money on the off chance that it DOES become a breakway hit.

I’m excited about Evolve and I want to see it do well. But these DLC policies are frankly somewhat disappointing to me. The game could have stood on its own merit, in my opinion, but this pricing scheme feels more than a bit manipulative. I will, with a deep sigh, purchase the game’s DLC, but I sincerely hope that this does not color DLC policies to come.

What do you think? Should Evolve’s DLC cost so much? Is it ok for monsters not to be included in the season pass? Let us know in the comments.

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