Anger a 'misunderstanding' over how the development cycle works
The debate surrounding the acceptability of day-one DLC stems from a misunderstanding from consumers of the development process, says Bethesda VP Pete Hines.
Speaking to OXM, Hines said that with most triple-A games, development of new content would stop a long time before the title’s actual release.
He explained that given there was also a long gap between finishing the creative work on a game and finishing it, so it made sense for artists and designers to work on DLC, rather than wait for months on end not creating.
Hines suggested that consumers and developers should just do what is best for them, and that players have the decision to buy or avoid DLC as they see fit.
"I think there is [a misunderstanding], at least among a certain segment of the gaming audience," he said.
"I don't think they quite understand the development process and the point at which you have to stop making the game and you have to finish the game. So, the content people stop making new content a fair amount of time before it ships; it's not like in the old days when it was like the day before or a week before."
He added: “There's a pretty long gap where your artists and designers are fixing a bug if they get one, or they may be playing the game to find bugs, but they're not making a new anything for a long time, and you have creative people who are used to creating - so why would you make them wait some period of time, months in some cases, to start making new stuff so you can say it was after DLC?"
One studio that has been on the end of a player backlash in the past for day-one and on-disc DLC is Capcom.
Last year it released Street Fighter X Tekken which shipped with locked content on the disc that users had to pay to access.
After a wave of complaints, Capcom responded by stating that there was effectively no distinction between DLC being locked on the disc or only being available for download at a different date.
"While Capcom is sorry that some of its fans are not happy about the chosen method of delivery for the DLC, we believe that this method will provide more flexible and efficient gameplay throughout the game's lifecycle," read a statement from Capcom.
"There is effectively no distinction between the DLC being ''locked'' behind the disc and available for unlocking at a later date, or being available through a full download at a later date, other than delivery mechanism."