I love Capcom. I really do. They were my favourite Japanese third-party back in the 8-bit days, and they still are, just about. But bloody hell, they've been hard to defend at times this generation. My main problem has been the big C's attitude towards DLC, which has frequently offered little more than paid-for content that really should have been nothing more than unlockable extras, accessed through gameplay.
Quite a few of you have been up in arms over the fact that two of the Marvel vs. Capcom series' most iconic characters, Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath, are coming to MvC3 as downloadable paid-for extras, unless you buy the Collector's Edition. And now Capcom has responded. And it's not too sympathetic. So I'd like to respond to that response.
Speaking in an interview with fighting game community EventHubs, Capcom's Christian Svensson tackled the accusation that DLC characters in MvC is "just wrong" thusly:
"Suffice to say, there are differing views on DLC. Everyone needs to decide whether there's value in the offering or not and make your purchasing decisions accordingly. That's true not just of MvC3, but of all games.
"As I've stated in prior interviews, DLC is part of the business model these days given the massive costs of production and can be the difference between a profitable product and an unprofitable product"
A fair point on the surface of it. Games are insanely expensive to make these days, and publishers need to do everything they can to maximise revenue. And done right, DLC is a solution that benefits company and consumer alike. Gamers get more value out of their games and publishers get more value out of their investments. With the game assets already in place for the main game, a downloadable addition takes far less time and money to produce, and can add a tidy profit without ripping anyone off.
Above: Marvel vs. Capcom 3 looks awesome. But shouldn't we get all the awesome when we first buy it?
What Capcom has so often done so far though, has often felt more like the ransoming off of standard in-game content. Remember Resident Evil 5's extra multiplayer game modes? Street Fighter IV's costume packs? And now we have extra MvC3 characters being released a tiny period of time after the game launches? This isn't adding value to a game. It's cynically milking a title by adding artificial charges. It's removing value and demanding extra money for its reinstatement.
Of course, Capcom isn't alone in this practice. Publishers will charge for anything they can these days. But look at something like the just-released Joe's Adventures DLC for Mafia II. That's a developer leveraging its existing work to add something significant to an already complete game experience, and as far as I'm concerned, that's how you do it. A fighting game essentially is its character roster, and restricting that from day one for more cash just feels cheap, as well as having the effect of splitting the community. And community is what Capcom traditionally excels at.
What do you think? Storm in a teacup, or is this a bit of a piss-take?