Dragon Age: Inquisition won't have DLC characters because of on-disc controversy

"We've decided this time to not go that route. There will be no DLC party members," BioWare says.

As was rumored, BioWare's upcoming fantasy RPG Dragon Age: Inquisition will not offer new DLC characters, creative director Mike Laidlaw told Official Xbox Magazine. This is because doing so would require them to be on-disc, and BioWare won't do this in the wake of the on-disc controversy that dates back to 2012 and Mass Effect 3.

"Because of how deeply enmeshed in the system companion characters are, we can't just add them on the fly; part of them has to be shipped on the disc," Laidlaw said. "Which has led to criticism that we're forcing people to pay for content they already own. It's not the case, but we've decided this time to not go that route. There will be no DLC party members."

According to former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski, on-disc DLC is an "ugly truth" for video game development. For various reasons, including compatibility issues, some content does need to be on-disc from day-one, Bleszinski said in 2012. BioWare itself caught flak in 2012 when users discovered that parts of an upcoming Mass Effect 3 expansion were already on-disc from launch day.

Dragon Age: Inquisition will feature nine total party members. Six are known right now: Cassandra Pentaghast, Varric, Vivienne, Sera, Iron Bull, and Solas. It has been rumored that Alistair and the original game's Morrigan could also be featured as playable characters.

Due out this fall, Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

168 comments
chunkbasker
chunkbasker

They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar and they try to guilt the players instead of admitting to what they were doing?  Pretty shameful but at least they won't lock shit up on the disc anymore...


Don't feel guilty players, bioware was doing something shameful, and they know it.

oldtobie
oldtobie

This is all PR, just like every other DA:I article/quote, but whatever.  Good job I guess.

erik_r_nelson
erik_r_nelson

Thanks video game fans for bitching about another innocuous practice that means we will get less extended content for games we purchase. Like all the bitching about day one patches. Because we'd rather developers stop supporting their games after they've gone gold. Seriously, gamers love shooting themselves in the foot.


I don't care if part of the DLC is on the original game disc. What difference does it make? DLC means they continue supporting the game for a few years after release, I get more content if I want it, and if I don't ... I don't buy it. I know there are DLC haters out there, but no one is forcing them to buy it.

starjay009
starjay009

**Spoiler Alert** 

Good for them. I can still remember Javik the Prothean for ME 3 on day one. Gosh I almost smashed my game disc upon hearing the news. I played the entire game without that character. Turns out I did miss a lot of lore in game without that character and ended up purchasing the DLC for an extra 10 bucks anyway. However, I vowed to myself never to buy any DLC characters for any games and so far haven't bought anything along those lines. Good for Bioware they finally heard out the fans. Make DLC storyline expansions if you want, but ensure all the characters are present in the original game. 

notfrylock1987
notfrylock1987

"INSTEAD....We will just do DLC quest instead.....Which is TOTALLY not on the disc....Nope. Totally not on the disc at all.....not in the slightest.... *looks around*"

zerohournow
zerohournow

Even a reasonable, clear explanation still cant get through people's ignorant attitudes...bitching about on disc DLC is like bitching about having to pay for a trailer because your car already came with a hook on the bumper.

Granatar
Granatar

well this does make sense.  Bioware is going to be designing for the new xbox and PS, why keep DLC going on on a game with tons of different formats.  I suspect the true next gen game they make will have a different policy.  

allenspellwaver
allenspellwaver

This is the only game that I'm gonna preorder this year. Yes I just said that. Everything about this game is on the right track so far. Haters still gonna hate. They only show how obnoxious they are.

Pelezinho777
Pelezinho777

Having no DLCs is actually a good thing.

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

This translates to "We've seen how much fan backlash Capcom received from on disc DLC so we decided not to do it". But rest assured that they would of done it again if Capcom wouldn't of fucked up. 

EA has their mits all up in Bioware's business and they decide how they will monetize their game(s). I've heard Dragon Age Inquisition will sport multiplayer..that's going to be a "fun endeavour" won't it?

vadagar1
vadagar1

wow

ur not complete morons then Bioware 

bravo 

Fire_Wa11
Fire_Wa11

Heh.  The gist of this article reads like, "Even though it would be tooooooooootally cool if we put DLC companions on the derp derp, we're not going to.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!  Because it would be totally cool if we did.  But we're not.  But we could.  And we might.  Later on.  So.  Don't get used to it, kids."

AwkwardTurtle42
AwkwardTurtle42

Good, it's a step in the right direction anyway. We can cross that one off the list. 

We just have: 

- No tacked-on multiplayer or "Inquisition readiness" meter

- No microtransactions

- No mandatory internet connection requirement

left on the list unless there's something else I missed. Hopefully EA have realised that BioWare can't make games as good as Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect if they only have 1.5 years and half their regular team to do it in. Dragon Age II had a lot of missed potential and could have been a lot better if not for that.

blackothh
blackothh

Sounds like you are learning from your stupidity, but will it hold water? Time will tell.

nedsig7
nedsig7

then again EA cut the complete storyline in half, make another half into 4 DLC with the label "extras" . . . . hopefully not

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

At least they are learning from their mistakes, I hope.

isshiah
isshiah

Fair enough. 


Moving on, then...

nurnberg
nurnberg

Don't worry, EA will find a new and original way to screw the customers with shady DLC for this game.

PowerDingALing
PowerDingALing

All DLCs should be free imo.

When DLCs started showing up, it was one thing. But now almost EVERY SINGLE DLC is planned and developed during the game development. It's absurd, it's not something extra, it's something planned from the very beginning and not given to you just to make you pay more.

I would feel literally robed if I bought a DLC.

Zloth2
Zloth2

What is this "disc" thing?  Wait, weren't they used way back in the day to distribute games?  I think I might even have a couple in the back of the closet somewhere...

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

In a way I am disappointed. A big attraction of DLC for me is meeting new characters in new situations. Bringing them back to the core game isn't so important, but taking existing companions along feels less exciting.

I don't agree with the criticisms of on-disk DLC, as long as locked content is not advertised as a part of the core purchase. Instead of thinking the dev cheated you by locking something on the disc you bought, think of it as something extra you didn't even want, and that is possibly hackable by someone industrious enough.

The one danger I do see is a future where you go up to a door in a game you bought and see "Coming soon to a digital retailer near you!" I promise myself I will abandon the franchise, possibly the company, the first time I see anything remotely like that.

Garnog
Garnog

Alistair... what a whiner. I seem to remember he ended up drunk and unemployed, while I boned Morrigan before turning her out on the streets with her demon child.

Red_Frog
Red_Frog

Uh, yeah, some content should already be on the original disc. Like maybe some grass textures or the model for a tree. Y'know, bits and pieces of global assets. An enterprising tinkerer shouldn't be able to unlock the fucking thing without a download, that's called a ripoff and apparently neither EA nor Bioware understand the concept of "download" content. Protip: Think expansion pack.

akaikoru
akaikoru

I have never regretted any purchase of DLC from Bioware. Everything for ME2 and ME3 was more than worth the price I paid. There is no greater storyteller in gaming. The idiot rants can't change great writing and amazing game play.

chunkbasker
chunkbasker

@erik_r_nelson nah erik, they can release additional content without locking it behind a disc and they know it.  Your just being brainwashed and guilted into thinking its your fault this happened.  IN fact they were nickle and diming you.


Whats sad is you don't even realize it and you've fallen for this guilt trip they're dishing out.

robotopbuddy
robotopbuddy moderator moderator

It's worth making a differentiation here: some games, such as alice: madness returns, have on-disc DLC that is (almost) entirely on the disc, as such, you can access the entirety of the DLC - all costumes/weapons, the only part not there on all copies is the Alice 1 game, which is understandable as it would significantly bulk up the game install size. It that case, the DLC was 100% ready prior to game release and was in the game code already, such cases are nothing more than charging people for things that they already had from the start, merely hidden away; of course for the PC you can just access it for free without even really having to edit much - literally one line in a unencrypted text document basically. Heck, it's hard to even call it DLC in that case, as there's not really much of a download involved. Capcom's case with 'downloadable' characters being on the discs for all systems yet announced as a PS Vita exclusive is a similar case, they were already there, merely held back for the sake of marketing/charging for them. Of course, it's not normally until a while after the game arrives on PC that these things come clear - by which point it's normally too late to rectify and the backlash commences.


On the other hand, if the only part on the disc is something necessary for compatibility of future add-ons, then it suggests that DLC was planned and production had already begun, but was probably not finished on release day...that is mildly controversial in itself when they charge for it still, but isn't nearly as bad as when the entire thing is finished prior to release. For consoles and other disc-based distribution it could even be argued as necessary quite easily, as has been done.


Of course, whose to say it wasn't finished and they merely held back the parts that could easily be added via DLC downloads? EA (among some other big publisher names) doesn't exactly have a good reputation, and we're all familiar with the way they appear to consistently ask things of their devs that tend to involve making them even more money, one way or another. The real problem here isn't that it's there, it's simply that people don't trust most companies to not hold such things back just to charge them more, regardless of how necessary they may be. DLC is generally associated with MTX as well, which have a bad rep all round, unfortunately mostly for good reasons. In a way, a lot of the reaction comes down to consumer trust in the end - a lack of trust combined with somewhat suspicious occurrences can easily result in a lot of complaints, warranted or not. 


Mandatory internet connections for games that simply don't need a net connection to run is somewhat of a big no-no that some companies appear to be pushing as well. Even the fans of the games tend to dislike such things, and understandably so. Even steam doesn't require that you remain online to play such games, nor will it complain in the slightest should net connection be lost, despite relying heavily on it to work properly. Of course, steam is also a well trusted non-intrusive DRM that grants the user additional features, unlike the vast majority of DRM methods. High-speed reliable internet isn't all that widespread yet either - a lot of places are stuck with slow, unreliable net connections, and some places are even stuck with dial-up at best.

Jugistoteles
Jugistoteles

@AwkwardTurtle42 The readiness meter was horsecrap but ME3 multiplayer was solid, I thought it was a great addition and well executed. That said, I wouldn't want a multiplayer mode in DAI, heh.

smurfa1
smurfa1

@PowerDingALing Some parts are developed before release but far from all. If you want it free then you can start by not complaining when release is delayed and give them time to finish it. Even then this is how a game is developed:


Planning of what should be in the game (mostly consist of a smaller team, like game designers and concept artists). Implementation, depending on how development is going some planned parts may be cut or new ones added (more people are added to the team such as programmers, Tech-artists). Finishing, during this face the large team is not needed. Now what should the company do with those? Alternative one is to let them go, not optimal for the future and I doubt the people that would lose their job would like that too. Alternative two is to let them work on other things, this could be a new game or some expansions. Since you really can't start implementing code for a new game without the game being planned at first, expansion DLC's tend to be what you place those people on while a new small team starts of with the planning of the next game.


tl;dr Game development is difficult because you want your staff to have something to work on all the time. And as surprising it may come to you, those people actually don't work for free.

zomgilost
zomgilost

@PowerDingALing  

not a fan of DLCs, I do not buy DLCs because they are pitch meal additions to the game. However, even full pledged expansions are planned ahead of time. Blizzard does that, they remove contents from base game so they can eventually add those features back in the expansions. The thing is, everything should be planned, even DLCs. So to that point, I agree with the developers

KBABZ
KBABZ

@PowerDingALing That's probably because, like the rest of the game, a lot of planning needs to be done in order to get something to work in a video game. DLC needs to be planned ahead of time because you can't just sit up and go "Right, new characters and maps!". Not with a AAA game, anyway.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Zloth2 Oh yes, in the days of yore when things were things, i.e. actual physical objects. It seems like a lifetime ago when my eyes last beheld a CD, which could either be used to summon music or to play videogames.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@Unfallen_Satan Or maybe I'll think of it as the marketing division getting the people with authority to sign off on unethical practices.  It's not the little guys in there doing the work and creating the content that get to make these choices, it's their boss.  You know, the guy that hasn't played 15 minutes of video games their entire life?


I refuse to think of it as something I didn't want.  If I make the choice to spend money on a title I'd like to enjoy the WHOLE title.  I'm not saying ALL DLC is garbage, but a majority of it is.  Even companies I want to support are pushing me too far in this arena.  Loved Borderlands 2, bought the season pass and played through it several times.  They keep releasing another 5 lvls to the lvl cap for 5$ or some playable character (LOL WONDER IF IT WAS ON DISK?!) to the point that I'm ready to tell Randy to stop blowing the gd money on loud t-shirts and hookers.  At least BL2 was a huge game with plenty of content and I do believe their DLC was made AFTER the fact they released a fully functional/great game.

Another problem with DLC thats in production before the software even releases is that when encountering a bug with such software I have a really hard time not thinking they could have used those man-hours actually polishing their work.  Too much quantity and not enough quality.  You don't watch a movie that hangs up 15 minutes into the show, live in a house thats got walls but only 1/2 a roof or a bath-tub that fills with sewage instead of water do ya?

You already walk up to a door that says "Coming soon to a digital retailer near you!"  It's called Origin, Uplay or Steam, etc.  Marketing minded people are already thinking of ways/testing the water to generate revenue via ads IN YOUR GD GAME.  The more complacent people that don't mind advertising tickers across the top of their screen, the worse this garbage is going to get.  If just one of those adverts told the gd truth, or at least something resembling truth it might not be so bad.  It's not truth though, its deception, agendas and half truths for anything ranging from a box of fucking cereal to your retirement plan, not a damned thing you see in any advert is honest and thus I do not consider it a honest days work for a honest days pay.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@akaikoru Like how you find similarities between people complaining about a business practice and idiots, then go on to give us your OPINION about a game like it's a fact.  I'm glad you enjoyed your purchase and I agree that some DLC is certainly worth the money.  Unfortunately there's precious few examples of 'good DLC' and plenty of examples of Just Cause 2 selling two dozen extra vehicles and weapons, each as a new DLC purchase.  It was bullshit before horse armor and it's still bullshit.  That's my opinion, feel free to disagree.

pound-u
pound-u

@akaikoru The only idiots here are people like you defending this garbage. Also, you can have great storytelling without nickel and diming your customers.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@akaikoru"There is no greater storyteller in gaming."

The people who made Planescape Torment work for Obsidian.

jdt532
jdt532

@akaikoru  Except the end of ME3 when it seemed their storytelling ability seemed to fall off the table...

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@smurfa1 @PowerDingALingthe people mashing the keyboards actually typing up the code are over worked and underpaid @ most AAA studios.  I'd be a lot more inclined to listen to their DLC bullshit if I knew those employees were getting benefits and health coverage.  Instead I only hear of Bobby's 69million per year and that pretty much stops me giving two shits what the hardships of their industry is.  Not to mention they keep trying to treat the populace like total idiots.  Can't add in new player characters unless they're on the disc?  Sorry, Imma have to call bullshit on that one.  One of the wonderful things about computers is that literally everything is possible, mayhaps it would be a PITA but as other games in the past have added playable characters to their games without on-disc DLC makes me wonder what stipulations the manatee's have in their contracts this time.  Doesn't matter, haven't bought a EA game since BF3 and I regret that purchase.

All industries have their pros and cons and software development is hardly the only one that requires planning.  The only difference I see is in the quality of the finished product which by today's standards can just be patched later.  Or if you're WB you can tell everyone to go fuck themselves, you're not fixing your games glitches and bugs but instead focusing on DLC to add a little more revenue.  Maybe hire a handful of gamers to actually play the software and point out things that need fixing and then, oh I don't know, maybe fucking fix them?  

Could be that I grew up in a different time when the programs were much smaller and easier to code, but this whole selling partially done product or dividing your product up into neat little sections of bullshit (hello 5 different versions of the same Windows7) has got me screaming "PULL YOUR PANTS UP" at the top of my lungs.  If you lack man-power, funds or talent to produce what you're advertising on the box, that's not my gd fault.


It's not the consumers fault when shitty management breaks things, it IS the consumers fault for buying shitty broken things.

notfrylock1987
notfrylock1987

@KBABZ @PowerDingALing  

Tell that to every single PC Developer who makes Expansion packs....They release a game, and if the game is good enough and has high demand and a great player base, They will create new content and work a year on that new content and release it as a stand alone purchase, with a great amount of content, going no more then $40 most of the time.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Tuckpoint I also have my share of complaints against the system behind Origin, Uplay, and Steam, but not due to ads since I play retail single player games pretty exclusively. I am also a firm believer in truthful advertising though, again, I haven't seen any balantly false ads in my games.

My concern is not against ads in some games, perhaps F2P, but rather developers planning to withold content during the earliest stages of game development and build those missing chunks directly into the game. For me, Shepard's going on a side adventure with a new NPC to a new place, both of which I wouldn't even know existed just playing the core game, that's something I like. If there is a planet grayed out on my star map or a character that tells me she's not available or I can only get 90% completion without a DLC, those things will prompt me to quit the franchise on the spot. A lot of DLC are in between, like Omega, where I am aware of possible additional content I will enjoy but the core game still feels complete without it. Those DLC have to be considered case by case.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Tuckpoint Good points, and I'd like to discuss them each a bit.

I also used to feel strongly about the "whole" title when buying games. I still look for complete editions when appropriate. I don't want to discourage you for sticking to your principle because I agree. I will only ask what I asked myself. If a DLC is BS, do I really want to consider it a part of the "whole" experience? If it's good, would I rather have it as DLC or not have it? As far as my consumption is concerned, does it matter when the DLC is made and how much of it is on disk? Just some quetions to improve you own enjoyment for on-disk DLC that you may want.

If DLC is made while the game is still buggy as hell, I can only agree that whoever made the decision got their priorities screwed up.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@blackothh For me personally, it started with either Neverwinter Night's Premium Modules or The Sims (2?). Those were the first games I remember as having something between full game and expansion packs. I guess it never occurred to me that on-disk DLC was a problem. I just went from DLC is a problem, period, to i don't care.

akaikoru
akaikoru

Good to know. Unrelated to the portion of my comment u cited. But good to know.

allenspellwaver
allenspellwaver

@pound-u @akaikoruYou sir is no better than what you claim about him. You don't even bother to play those DLCs before judging them. I had the best DLC experiences in Mass Effect DLCs like Citadel, Leviathan, Shadow Broker or Dragon Age DLCs like Mark of the Assassins. I'm more than happy to use my experience to defend BioWare's DLCs.

KBABZ
KBABZ

@jdt532 Convenient that you forget the DLC that remedied said ending, also written by said writers.

erik_r_nelson
erik_r_nelson

@notfrylock1987 @KBABZ @PowerDingALing And every single one of those PC developers has to build in hooks in the original game for the expansion packs to work. Which is pretty much what Bioware did and got yelled at for. Those expansion packs on PC are just as pre-planned as console DLC.

Dexyu
Dexyu

@KBABZ @jdt532  Did Not remedy much But Citadel DLC was a breath of fresh air