Between the release of Layers of Fear: Inheritance earlier this week and the imminent arrival of Doom: Unto the Evil, August has two of the year’s most high profile DLC releases. This got me thinking about the somewhat divisive relationship between downloadable content (DLC) and the horror genre, which has struggled publicly to meet the growing demand for online functionality from a genre that typically prefers to isolate its players.
You might remember one of the more unfortunate phases the genre went through about a decade ago, when the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 effectively made online functionality a mandatory part of modern game design. This involved some tremendously clumsy attempts to introduce a competitive aspect to games like Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Dead Space 2, and Resident Evil 5, among others. And that was just the beginning.
DLC has been around for about as long as the Sega Dreamcast, and it’s far too complex to simply label as objectively good or bad. It’s a term that encompasses a wide range of topics, from free content updates to paid DLC, single-player vs. multiplayer content, standalone vs. add-on expansions, the worth of season passes, and so much more. Unfortunately, each of them is worthy of its own in-depth discussion, so let’s keep it simple.
Back in February 2015, I asked about the state of horror game DLC, to which nearly two thirds of those who participated in the poll agreed that DLC was still an obstacle for the horror genre — of which a startling 45% claimed it was a serious problem — with less than 7% who considered it a non-issue. Have the last 18 months done anything to change that opinion, for better or worse?
While we’re on the subject, which horror game(s), if any, do you consider the most successful in finding a meaningful approach to incorporating DLC? I’ve included some examples below to make this question easier to answer, but this list is in no way conclusive:
Alan Wake — The Signal, The Writer
Alien: Isolation — Corporate Lockdown, Crew Expendable
BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
Dead Rising 2 — Case Zero, Case West
Dead Rising 3 — Untold Stories of Los Perdidos
Dead Space 2: Severed
Dead Space 3: Awakened
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Dying Light: The Following
The Evil Within — The Assignment, The Consequence
F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn
The Last of Us: Left Behind
Left 4 Dead 2 — The Sacrifice, The Passing
Resident Evil 5 — Lost in Nightmares, Desperate Escape
State of Decay — Lifeline, Breakdown