After sifting through coding for Capcom’s big budget crossover, locked away content was found; content that had originally been announced for Fall’s PS Vita edition of the game, and implied to be DLC. We’re not only talking costumes here. There are a total of 12 additional fighters to play as hidden on-disc, and Capcom says you’ll have to pay for the pre-made content to put it to use.
“The playable characters will make their debut on the PS Vita system when the game is released this fall, with the console and PC versions receiving them as DLC soon after. The character information and files were intentionally included on retail versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360 game to save hard drive space and to ensure for a smooth transition when the DLC is available, allowing players who choose not to purchase the content the ability to play against players that did.”
So goes the official statement which can be found on the Capcom Unity blog. Exact pricing details and a narrowed down date is said to be imparted later this year before the statement reiterates producer Yoshinori Ono’s blood oath that the game shipping to stores is the only retail version fans will need to buy in order to avoid the necessity of a “Super” edition and the backlash that automatically follows.
To execute this promise, DLC updates were planned to support Street Fighter X Tekken. But this isn’t technically downloadable content. This is a pizza that arrives at your door, held by a delivery man who’s crammed two slices into his pockets, holding them hostage until you tip him. Capcom’s argument of matchmaking equality – in which they wish players to experience fights with all characters regardless of whether or not you bought them – would hold water if it weren’t for another critically acclaimed fighting series having already set a thought-out precedent when it comes to this issue.
Last year’s Mortal Kombat offered four extra characters for Netherrealm’s fighting reboot in the months after the game’s launch. The content was downloadable, as co-creator Ed Boon promised, but unfortunately at $4.99 a character, the cost was too steep for a lot of fans strapped for cash. In order to balance matchmaking, ensuring everyone was still getting the same experience online (unlike the limited matches available after maps drop on games like Call of Duty), Netherrealm Studios came up with the perfect concession: offer compatibility packs that allow you to contend with a DLC fighter without buying them. For free. Also, the downloads were cherry topped with unique, exclusive costumes as an incentive for players stubborn about queuing the, again, free DLC.
The DLC equation is a complicated issue. The concept is simple: extend the life of a game by giving players more. That’s it. The execution, however, is where things get bug-eyed fucked because every publisher solves the DLC equation differently but to the same effect: to their benefit. Isolating fighting games and fighting games alone, it must be said that Netherrealm – a studio that has proliferated a series sections of the fighting community still have trouble taking seriously – have done DLC right.
The 12 fighters in question: on Street Fighter’s side; Blanka, Cody, Dudley, Elena, Guy, and Sakura. On Tekken’s side; Alisa Bosconovitch, Bryan Fury, Christie Monteiro, Jack, Lars Alexandersson, and Lei Wulong. Adding to that, coding for the PS3 exclusive fighters Mega Man and Pac-Man are entombed on the Xbox 360 disc, their existence confirming the characters are timed-exclusive. The data on disc for all of these characters is not incomplete. We’re not talking about wire frame foundations waiting to be finished via download and your credit card. They’re fully functional characters and you can watch several of them in action online if you dig hard enough. This wasn’t content developed based on fan feedback after the game’s launch or cool additions the development team just couldn’t fit in the final game. This is deliberate withholding.
I’m excited for the game, definitely. I agree with the sentiment that there’s a ton of content being dished out at launch, enough to keep me satisfied for months to come. But Capcom’s solution to the DLC problem is wrong. If they’ve adapted to understanding fans detest re-editions that cancel out their older versions of a game, there’s no sound, logical reason they can’t find a happy balance with DLC that doesn’t come off as greedy.
I’d truly love to know your feelings on the matter, dear readers. Tell me, what in the livid hell do you think about this and how does this inform future purchases for you?