Rockstar focusing on smaller DLC in the future

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.

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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.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 18, 2011 7:45 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Rockstar focusing on smaller DLC in the future.

    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.

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      November 18, 2011 9:32 AM

      Both "The Lost and the Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony" were examples of a good sized DLC for the amount you paid. I think they under-performed because initially they were a Xbox360 exclusive and were later ported to the PC and PS3 after everyone had moved on. I think if they were released simultaneous on all three platforms they probably would have sold better.

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        November 18, 2011 10:41 AM

        the problem on PC is that the DLC was GFWL exclusive, and standalone elsewhere, leading to 32GB GTA4 installs

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      November 18, 2011 10:20 AM

      The mostly likely reason expansion packs--The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony--greatly underperformed was they weren't expansion packs. They were parts that were left out of the original launch. Playing GTA4 many players wondered where all the interesting missions were and why the game was shorter then previous versions of the series.

      Having people pay more for a complete game was bad, and many gamer resented Rockstar for it.
      At the time Rockstar released GTA4 they were on the verge of bankruptcy and need to put out a game.
      This meant putting out a game that wasn't finished. The DLC for GTA4 only reinforced that fact.

      DLC should only enhance games that are worth their original asking price, not make Gamers feel that they've had a incomplete experience to begin with.

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        November 18, 2011 10:23 AM

        yeah I beat GTA4 in like 5 hours what a ripoff. And then they released all those huge DLC packs right after that were obviously cut from the retail game to screw us!!!

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        November 18, 2011 10:32 AM

        I am sure some of the missions the other main characters were doing could have been done by nikko but most of the DLC content felt complete in its own right. You often saw plots from the main story from the other side like the diamond deal or a certain kidnapping and etc. I bought the complete edition not too long ago so I didn't get ripped off on content, but I can certainly see how others would feel as you do.

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        November 18, 2011 10:40 AM

        Did you really think that GTA IV was an incomplete game?

        How is this any different than Blizzard releasing StarCraft, then StarCraft: BW... or any other dev releasing expansion packs to their original games? TLATD and BOGT are similar in the same vein. It's not like you're paying five bucks for a weapon unlock -- TLATD and BOGT were rather substantial content.

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        November 18, 2011 1:19 PM

        I think you are the only one that feels that way
        I didn't feel that GTA4 was incomplete

        and I think that the episodes are the only DLC of any game that is worth the price you pay

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        November 18, 2011 9:20 PM

        frontpager (can we still say that?)

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      November 18, 2011 11:05 AM

      i'm pretty sure no one wants smaller overpriced DLC R*. I will only buy proper expansion packs for games and completely ignore the "horse armor" crap companies keep spewing out.

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      November 18, 2011 11:07 AM

      For 15$, they were overpeoduced. Heck, Activision charges that much for 5 maps, 3 of which are rehashes.

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      November 19, 2011 5:37 AM

      Hello Dr. Eisenfaust

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      November 19, 2011 11:36 AM

      Havent thought of DLC plans yet? What? Don't they know the way it works? Near the end of the game, hack out a chunk and sell it a week later as DLC! $$$$$$$ profit!

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        July 18, 2012 8:40 AM

        Yes, but just leave it on the original game disk, so people have to pay you more for everything they already paid for, and you don't have to provide anything more than an unlocking code, thereby saving your distribution bandwidth! And hey presto! The investors are happy! The shareholders are happy! The publishing CEO is happy with his big bonus (even though the company is failing)! The devs are happy... until they get sacked, so no longer get any royalties. And the paying customers? They are just the little people.

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      January 28, 2013 4:22 AM

      So sad, it just takes us a while to play it all--but it's still an awesome package.
      The two GTA Episodes are awesome!

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