‘The Tyranny Of King Washington’ And The Rise Of The Sneakquel

Senior Contributor
01.25.13 7 Comments

So, Assassin’s Creed III has new single player DLC coming, in the form of The Tyranny of King Washington, which is an entirely different plot built on the original game with new missions and other tweaks. It’s coming out in episodes, starting next month, for ten bucks a pop.

And it’s the latest in a very odd gaming trend, where developers appear to be putting entirely new games out under the guise of “DLC”. Call it a “sneakquel.”

Borderlands 2 just dropped Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, which takes place on an entirely different continent, has all new enemy types and raid bosses, and some fairly serious tweaks to the game’s overall mechanics that make it a far different experience. Dishonored will be releasing a DLC following one of the main antagonists of the game through entirely different areas, with new weapons and new powers. DMC: Devil May Cry has an entire separate campaign with Virgil.

It’s even happening with games that ship complete. Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer was an entirely separate game with only the thinnest of connections to the single player story. Call of Duty: Black Ops II turned “Zombie Mode” into its own game with different mechanics.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with DLC giving you more for your money, but these scan, an awful lot, like honest-to-God sequels, not expansion packs. So what’s going on?

First of all, this used to be fairly common. PC gamers will remember sequels that were essentially just a very large level packs and not many tweaks beyond maybe some graphical touches. And the mentality is making a comeback as publishers want more of your money without the costs of physically publishing something.

Secondly, we suspect a lot of this was content that got cut from the release due to time constraints. Game developers have a lot of ambition these days, and often budgets fall short of it. So, what better way to get the stuff you wanted in there than by getting your publisher to pay you to make it as DLC?

We’re not complaining, just noting the trend. But it is, nonetheless, very odd. Any other sneakquels that we missed?

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