Most gamers draw their own line when it comes to putting down extra cash on top of the base RRP of a game for extras that become available later. In some cases the additional cost feels completely justified, for example with the recently-released Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (for which the original game isn’t even required) or the Knife of Dunwall DLC for Dishonored, both of which were created later as expansions that allow the player to continue playing the game they enjoy without having to wait for a full sequel.
On the other side of the coin (with many examples of DLC that fall in between the extremes) are ire-magnets like on-disc or day-one DLC, which in essence require customers to shell out extra just to access content that they’ve already bought, and microtransactions that charge a small cost for certain weapons, skins or customization options. Some gamers are completely happy to pay for additional or locked content every time, but often it can feel like game content is deliberately being taken out of the product that is bought on release, just so that game publishers can force their customers to put down extra coin later on. One developer who disapproves of this approach is Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, game director of upcoming fantasy sequel The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
In an interview with Examiner, Tomaszkiewicz explained that CD Projekt RED has a strong policy against charging customers extra for additional content that becomes available:
“We could sell extra content to gamers ‘down the road,’ but we don’t believe in that. We believe patches, fixes and additional content should be provided to gamers free of charge. Only something REALLY big, and something that will not make you feel ripped off, justifies a price tag… If we ever decide to charge you for something, we think you will appreciate what you get in return.”
Tomaskiewicz has spoken on this issue in the past, explaining that the free expansions are CD Projekt RED’s way of thanking gamers for buying the games instead of just pirating them. The game studio has apparently held these beliefs for a long time, and the issue last came to the foreground after the release of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. As extra content began to be made available for the game, development director Adam Wakowski made a clear statement about CD Projekt RED’s attitude towards DLC in an interview with RPS:
“All DLC for the PC version is and will remain FREE. That’s not likely to be the story for the Xbox version, because of certain Microsoft policies that need to be followed. But on PC, once you buy our game, you don’t need to worry about any additional costs — we will provide all updates, including those featuring new content, for free.”
Badowski mentioned at the time that if CD Projekt RED was ever to charge for additional content, it would be reserved for, “a more classic expansion pack along the lines of, say, Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast.” Based on this, and on Tomaszkiewicz’s more recent statement, it sounds like any additional content that CD Projekt RED decides to charge for will come in the form of a pretty massive mission pack or game expansion. The Witcher 2 later received a 10GB patch of tweaks and additional content, all free of charge, so it would presumably take a good deal more than that before we start seeing a price tag on such content from the studio.
Do you agree with CD Projekt RED’s policies, and do you think it’s likely that larger publishers will take the cue from them and begin easing up on the demands for extra money?
The Witcher 3 will be released on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in late 2014.