Mass Effect Andromeda single-player DLC drama is a sign of the changing games industry

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Andromeda

The first Bioware game that I ever played was Dragon Age: Origins. Don’t judge me – I went back and played their older stuff after the fact, but Dragon Age was my introduction to their storytelling and gameplay. I loved the Dragon Age experience, but even then I remembered quite a bit of acrimony around DLC. People were upset that extra story elements and even characters were only available if you paid to download additional content.

This became the norm with Bioware games, to the point where I found the best experiences with their titles came a few months or even year after release – wait until all the content was available, buy a definitive version of the game and enjoy. While season passes might allow access to all content, when that content includes side missions or extra characters, you can only really appreciate them when you play from the beginning, which would then only improve the replay experience. But fans were still always upset and moaned about the presence and price of DLC, but that seems to be turned on its head at this point.

Last week, rumor started circulating that Mass Effect Andromeda’s DLC had been canceled. Bioware and EA slammed the rumors, but it came out over the weekend that more sources confirmed that the single-player story DLC had been canned, albeit for a different reason than originally rumoured. Many fans were outraged at the original rumour and continue to be furious at the idea that EA and Bioware isn’t continuing to support the franchise in the coming months and years with DLC.

I totally understand the outrage, and I can get on board with it. I’ve finally started playing Mass Effect Andromeda, and it’s a lot more fun than I was led to believe when previews and reviews first started dropping for it. It’s a gaming universe that I adore and I want to see more and more content for it. I’m also a serious fan who is currently sad I can’t justify buying five different hoodies from the Bioware store. But this all points to a shift in the gaming industry.

Fans are happy to spend money on games and franchises that they enjoy. Games are bigger and more costly to create than ever, and fans are increasingly aware of this. They no longer expect the game bought at retail to be the full experience. Instead, they budget and plan to spend money on the same title for a few months in order to get maximum game time. They are willing to spend money on merchandise to support developers they like, to buy DLC. Games are increasingly viewed as a service, one you pay for periodically in the form of microtransactions or DLC purchases. Of course we will all get up in arms if DLC is overpriced or micro transactions are too pervasive, but it’s intriguing to think that maybe EA was right, maybe this was the future all along. Plus, the fact that people are now moaning at EA and Bioware that they must release DLC feels far too ironic.

Wait, was this all just a ploy to get us to ask for DLC so that EA could finally be vindicated? Was this all just a giant manipulation?

Last Updated: July 4, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • konfab

    They probably got the writers of the Illusive Man to design a marketing campaign for their DLC.

  • Hammersteyn
    • lol

    • Please don’t equate EA to Raptors. Raptors have some tact

      • Hammersteyn

        LOL!

  • I am enjoying the MP big time! Pity the guy I play with, NanaMoron, is so bluudy terrible though…

    • Hammersteyn

      I’d join but I can’t tear myself away from HZD, plus I haven’t had much time for gaming lately 🙁

      • Plus, you suck tehehehe

        • Hammersteyn

          XD

  • Milesh Bhana

    personally see single player games as a full experience and have no issue if there is no additional content. I do buy DLC but not fussed if there isn’t any because there is that constant battle of getting extra content vs moving on to the next title in that unkillable backlog.

    I am sad that ME:A won’t get DLC because it would have given EA/Bioware a better indication to continue making ME games.

  • I disagree. You don’t just casually mention in the game that DLC is on the way then not release it. I can’t go into specifics but yeah a DLC is promised in the game.

    This is on par with leaving a game on a cliffhanger and promising the conclusion 3 months later that we are still waiting for 14 odd years after the deadline.

    HL3 CONFIRMED!

    • Guild

      I’m waiting for the day someone asks what is Half-Life

    • Matthew Holliday

      Also annoyed, they resurrect Mass Effect, a game which was finished and people where fine with.
      Then they go and cancel the DLC and shelve the sequel?
      Dick move.

  • Nope. I still can’t get behind the idea. I understand why it’s happening, but still can’t get behind it. Maybe I will if they start releasing games that aren’t broken at launch.

    I can’t justify myself spending money on something that was released as garbage to make it fun.

    I want the original item to be fun. When I buy it. Not months down the line

  • BakedBagel

    “They no longer expect the game bought at retail to be the full experience.”
    ^and this is why gamers constantly feel they never get what is promised.

    LOL. Time to buy a car. 1 tyre at a time fam.

    Edit: If you ever had to sell a product, in almost any other industry, that is not considered complete “on release” you would be laughed out of business.

  • Eric Humphrey

    I’d like to see a full fledged expansion to ME:A instead of some piddly DLC. A new planet and the quarian ark.

  • Deceased

    Gwell – I think people that raged over a “Canned DLC” are people that just want to rage over everything.
    ( Mob-mentality )

    If there’s anything to rage about – it’s the start of all this mess, namely Horse-Armor DLC

    || Ponders if people still remembers the meaning of the word “Expansion” ||

  • Chugs 1984

    I don’t understand how DLC isn’t profitable? Its money for jam. All of the assets are pretty much created except for a very small amount required for the DLC. Expensive things like gaming mechanics and engines are all built and only require a small amount of tweaking.

    Look at Bethesda. They’ve been churning out DLC for Fallout 4 and will be launching, four years after they made the game a $79.00 VR update.

    Mass Effect Andromeda VR! Why not? But again it seems like EA and Bioware are bored and want to work on another project.

    Its a bit like Valve and how its clear they’re bored crapless with the Half-Life series. The same for Mass Effect. It a way it seemed silly to make a another Mass Effect. The series was done. There was no where else to go. No more story arcs and nothing else that anyone really wanted to see.

    The idea of Andromeda is inherently silly. I mean they travelled over 2 million light years in six hundred years meaning they were travelling at a rididonkous speed of 3,333 light years a year. There were no Mass Effect relays to use. They should be pulverised into dust the moment they hit a bit of dust.

    And at that speed when they got to Helesus, why didn’t they just jump to the second cluster. Oh look the scourge….lets not even worry about that.

    The whole thing was silly but know they’ve made this game they need to finish the damn thing and make the DLCs

    I’ve stopped by Valve games because of their arrogance of dropping Half-Life. And I can promise EA that if they drop Mass Effect DLC I won’t bother buyinhg another one of their games.

    In fact i’ll be happy to go back to pirating

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