An open letter to Creative Assembly

Dear Creative Assembly, I’m a huge Total War fan.  I’ve been a huge Total War fan ever since the original Shogun: Total War.  The games are epic in scale, and […]

Dear Creative Assembly,

I’m a huge Total War fan.  I’ve been a huge Total War fan ever since the original Shogun: Total War.  The games are epic in scale, and to this day no other game in the genre can replicate the feeling of commanding a cohesive unit of professional soldiers in a time of armed conflict.  Want to be a Roman Imperator?  Want to re-enact the crusades or even the American Revolution?  Go right ahead.

The downloadable content you release for their games are (usually) great, and I’m (usually) one of the first ones to eat it up.  But even I, the guy who plays your games into oblivion and swears that each sequel is better than the last, has to take a second and scratch my head.  Why?  Look at Shogun 2 Total War’s newest DLC, that you released just today.

That’s right.  For $1.59, you can add blood into my game.  Blood.  That’s right.  Give me a second to recuperate.

I mean what the hell?  You added Kill Bill blood effects for a game that’s getting closer and closer to a year old?  Shouldn’t that have already been in the game, considering that every one of your titles so far has had mods that added the same effects free of charge?  I mean look at this stuff.  It looks like tomato paste diluted with ketchup, and completely voids most of the realism you successfully established when you released the game in March.  Look at these images, Creative Assembly.  Look at them.

AsheMan, a regular poster on the Steam Forums sarcastically had this to say.  I found it fitting.  “NEWS FLASH! They’ve announced that the next DLC will be $2 and add an animation that looks like random soldiers have released their bowels upon death!”  At this point I wouldn’t put it past you.

But let me for a second explain my displeasure.  It’s not the DLC itself that frustrates me.  In fact the upcoming Fall of the Samurai DLC interests me and I’ll most likely buy it without a second thought, just as I did with all of your other DLC as they were reasonable in price and heavy in content.

However, it’s the state of the industry that annoys me.  DLC is everywhere nowadays for nearly every game, be they made by game giants like EA or Activision or by small indie companies.  Most of the time, the DLC is never any good.

I’m totally willing to pay for good content when it gets released.  But having this steady flow of content being released by your favorite developers, for the game you already own, and your inability to access said content unless you shell out a few extra dollars just so their shareholders are pleased with the bottom line, sickens me.

Maybe I’m just getting older, and pine for the long lost days of the reasonably priced expansion pack.  Those rocked, and I defy you to prove me wrong.  Back then they would deliver a ton of great, solid content, that would be so good it made it hard to imagine going back to the vanilla game.

Can you imagine playing The Sims without any of it’s myriad of expansions?  Red Alert 2 without Yuri’s RevengeMedal of Honor without Spearhead and Breakthrough?  The answer is yes, you could go back to those original games, but the expansion made the games that much more enjoyable.  In a way DLC provides the same feeling, and gives you the ability to pick and choose content, But half the time DLC is frivolous garbage like in game clothing and the ability to cheat, while Expansion Packs generally added pure content that was unique and satisfying.

So, Creative Assembly, I have only these words left to say.  When a team of civilians can take your game and recreate the entirety of Middle Earth and it’s various races, armies, and towering fortresses for completely free and extend the life of your already elderly game ten fold, then I don’t know what else to say.

I hope you make a ton of money off of this DLC, and use some of the profits to fund a better project like Rome 2: Total War, or maybe First World War: Total War.  If not, at least consider dropping your terrible, misguided attempts at downloadable content, and re adopt the good ol’ Expansion Pack.

Sincerely, your fan until death

John Metz