Rockstar Games, like the rest of the industry, has been learning about what makes DLC successful. For example, the sizable expansion packs for Grand Theft Auto IV may have been too big and too expensive for their own good. "Maybe $10 is a more exciting price point," Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser admitted.
Grand Theft Auto IV's two expansion packs--The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony--greatly underperformed, in spite of critical acclaim. "I think the two GTA episodes, from a creative standpoint, were absolutely fantastic. We are very, very, very proud of them."
Houser suggests that the ambitious plans for the two downloadable episodes were partly set by Microsoft's initial exclusivity for the DLC. "We are kind of compelled due to various other business factors to make them that size," Houser coyly told Gamasutra.
With these lessons learned, what can we expect as downloadable content for Rockstar's next game, Max Payne 3? Houser admits that DLC is definitely coming, but says that the company is not "as organized or cynical" to have determined DLC plans yet, especially with the game not scheduled for release until March. "We will get those plans in order in the next few months, but they are just not sorted out yet."
Because Max Payne 3 will feature a multiplayer mode, it's possible that whatever add-on content arrives for the game will be relegated to the online offerings. "If you want a vibrant multiplayer community, you have got to provide content frequently and fairly quickly after release, which we tried to do with Red Dead." Red Dead Redemption featured a number of expansion packs, some paid and some free. The popularity of the game led to Rockstar releasing one final expansion pack a few months ago as a "thank you" to the still-active online community.