We already knew that Fallout 4 was big, but it’s about to get a lot bigger. Over the next three months, Bethesda plans to release what they call their “first series” of add-ons in an “expanded DLC plan.” They promise more than $60 worth of additional content throughout the year, but the news isn’t all good: that alluring $25 season pass is going up to a full $50. Is it worth it? Read on for what we think and our thoughts on the first three DLC packs.
Plus: Destiny 2 news, another major Bioware departure, a Knights of the Old Republic remake, and more!
Three Pieces of DLC, First in a Series But for More Money
Bethesda has a good track record with their Fallout and Elder Scrolls DLC. Usually it’s meaty, or at least fairly priced when it’s a smaller add-on. We were all surprised when Fallout 4’s season pass was revealed as $24.99, and, for many of us, seemed more than fair with the studio’s history. That price is going up to a full $50 on March 1st. It’s quite a jump, but is it worth it? Here’s what’s coming first.
Coming in March: Automatron ($10)
The focus of this DLC is all about building and customizing your own robot companion. The wasteland will be invaded by evil robots lead by the evil Robobrain. Taking down these metal-mouthed foes will land you special parts for building and customizing your robot with “hundreds of mods, mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons like the all-new lightning chain gun!”
My take: Fallout 4’s companions were some of best Bethesda has ever made, but nothing beats being able to create your very own. This looks like the perfect reason to get back out in the Wasteland with an all-new purpose. Any reason to wander the wasteland (i.e. the main hook of the whole franchise) is a good one!
Coming in April: Wasteland Workshop ($5)
Don’t get excited yet: this isn’t the full set of mod tools it sounds like. What it is, however, is pretty cool. Wasteland Workshop will let you design and build your own cages to capture living creatures in the wasteland -- even other humans! You can tame creatures or force them to battle, each other or citizens of your settlements. Wasteland Workshop will also pack new design options for settlements, including new lighting, letter kits, and taxidermy (!!).
My Take: For $5, you can’t expect a lot, but this is the Fallout team we’re talking about here. Even their small offerings, like Skyrim’s Hearthfire, packs hours of content with creative options. I could see Wasteland Workshop offering a huge collection element to the game. Wasteland Pokemon? There is tons of potential here.
Coming in May: Far Harbor ($25)
Packing “the largest landmass for an add-on” that Bethesda’s ever created, this DLC sends a new case to the Valentine Detective Agency that casts you off the coast of Maine to the island of Far Harbor. The radiation soaked island is torn in conflict between the synths and Children of Atom, as well as the locals and more feral wildlife. Far Harbor will feature new faction quests, dungeons, and settlements, as well as new high level weapons and armor, on top of the main storyline.
My Take: This sounds like Fallout’s equivalent to The Witcher 3’s massive Blood and Wine expansion -- or Fallout 3’s Point Lookout, or Skyrim’s Dragonborn. The point is, this is the meaty bit of real story gameplay we’ve been waiting for. This DLC is sure to add dozens of hours to the game and is by far the most compelling of the bunch.
Is It Worth It?
As a rule, I think $50 season passes are bad. They’re usually cash grabs designed to milk nearly a whole second game’s profit from the average gamer without nearly the quality. Ask anyone who bought the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass how reliable the quality of DLC is, even from studios you know and trust (little known fact: DLC is often not even made by the same studio that made the base game). Slowly but surely, our “regular” price point of $24.99 is disappearing and doubling. I don’t like that trend or what it says about gamers as wise consumers.
And yet, despite that, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for buying Fallout 4’s season pass. What Bethesda is offering is one of the few examples of a fair price point for what is being offered. By the end of their DLC run, it’s entirely possible that Fallout 4’s DLC will multiple games worth of additional content simply because they draw you back into the main, addicting loop to get lost in the world all over again. These are DLCs that seem worth their ask; not hit or miss map packs, lame 20 minute missions, or lazy skins.
There is a school of thought that says if you don’t like something, don’t buy it. Critics would argue to not buy any $50 season pass until publishers lower their prices. I propose a different solution: only buy those that prove their worth it: wait for concrete details or, better, reviews. That might mean sacrificing some of the pre-release hype when developers coyly tell you to wait to for details while asking for trust-money from the other side of their mouth. But waiting is a smaller sacrifice to not buying.
Instead, let’s vote with our wallets, not by not spending, but instead by giving our money to teams that deserve it and are transparent from the get-go. Teams like Todd Howard’s or CD Projekt Red.
It hasn’t been a good few months for Bioware. The lead writer on Mass Effect: Andromeda, Chris Schlerf, if now the third in a series of major departures from the studio. In fairness, with ME:A announced for an end of the year release, it’s likely that his work on the title is completed. In unrelated news, the studio is also hiring for a new, unannounced project.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is being rebooted in Unreal Engine 4! You read that right: Poem Studios, is refreshing KOTOR with one of the most impressive graphics engines on the market and all new missions. Being that this is an indie team, and that Poem legally cannot charge for the game, there are some obvious risks here. Still, this is one to watch closely.
Pillars of Eternity’s second-half expansion, The White March Part Two, is out and it’s good. We’ll be talking about it here soon, but in the meantime, give Bill’s review a good read. Hint: He liked it!
Lastly, we have it: confirmation that Destiny 2 will not be coming in 2016 -- but will be coming in 2017! I think I speak for everyone when I say, take the time and get it right. The original Destiny felt like half a game. Destiny 2 could rectify all that and become something truly special.