Joystick: Sequels vs. DLC: Which way?

Published 11:01 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

his week’s releases were marked by a serious case of sequelitis.

Sequelitis isn’t just the next game in a good series. Sequelitis is when a company decided to market a brand-new game when downloadable content would do.

It’s when a company like Deep Silver decides to make another “Dead Island” game which feels like it’s a rehash of the first one, with enough variety to warrant a serious game build, but not enough of a spark to really warrant its own game. “Dead Island: Riptide” is serious sequelitis.

Email newsletter signup

Same goes for Capcom, which over the years had a few cases of sequelitis (*cough cough* “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3”).

This week, Capcom released “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.” Once again, a game which could have been a large DLC pack, as it adds an island, some new enemies, some new bosses, and a few new equipment and class upgrades. That’s. About. It. It retails for $40.

Sequels are definitely not a bad thing, but more and more companies are looking for quick ways to reintroduce content they’ve already made into the marketplace at a marked-up price. It’s not a bad thing when it’s an old, out-of-print title, but it feels awkward and weak when companies re-release newer versions of games you may have played a year or two ago with little to no changes.

Part of the issue is companies are taking the lead from titles like “Borderlands” and the “Battlefield” games, which release Game of the Year editions already packed with an extra $40 to $60 worth of DLC.

As shooters, it’s almost expected of those titles to remarket themselves like that, as enough time and energy goes into creating expansive DLCs. But the concept doesn’t go over well when you’ve got games that largely didn’t change, and don’t have much to add.

That doesn’t mean games like “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen” and “Dead Island: Riptide” are bad games — though last I checked, both are taking a bit of a beating by reviewers.

It just means companies are exploring their options to boost profits in a time when the gaming industry is in flux. That may not always benefit the gamer, though, and publishers should look hard at their titles and their bottom line before deciding they want to catch sequelitis too.