The video game industry has really embraced the DLC and freemium models, and why shouldn’t they when there are so many success stories. I need not point out the sheer amount of money games like Candy Crush Saga or League of Legends are earning. Truthfully, it does irk me that companies are able to pull this kind of thing off. I have utmost respect for games that still put out proper expansion packs or even a decent sized DLC. But then you have the embarrassing cash grabs, the shameless display of corporate greed, and the case and point here is the Blood & Gore pack for Total War: Rome 2.
This is the second time that Creative Assembly and SEGA have decided to shove down graphical options as a DLC. It is a sad day when something that was obviously removed from the game are force fed back to gamers for a price. We have heard every excuse in the book about DLCs but this is a tough pill to swallow. There is no conceivable way where this game was developed without consideration for blood. There is no way that Creative Assembly put in extra hours to produce this. I genuinely believe this is a core part of the game that was carved out to be sold later on to gouge their customers.
So what is the official excuse right now? As I mentioned, this is the second time this has happened, and the first blood pack was released for Shogun 2 Total War. At the time, Creative Assembly claimed that this was a way to get around the mature rating for the game. If the DLC was offered for free, the base game would have gotten an M rating, but instead only this blood pack was given the mature rating. They charged a token price that was negligible so that they could distribute blood and gore to a mass audience. I didn’t buy that story, but evidently enough people did, and then subsequently bought this insult for 99 cents.
Creative Assembly is sticking to their guns, but what’s interesting is that the price has been raised from $0.99 to $3.00. This is hardly a token price anymore and constitutes 5% of the actual price of the game. What happened? Well they still claim that this is to circumvent the rating system, and certainly the folks from Eurogamer have no problem believing them, but I think we can see it for exactly what it is: a cash grab. I’m embarrassed that the gaming industry has stooped to such tactics. It’s one thing to sell decorations or even power-ups, but this is by far the most shameful… visual effects, a core part of the game.