Former Naughty Dog Dev Defends Paid DLC: 'You Should Pay for Good Work'

Former Naughty Dog Dev Defends Paid DLC: 'You Should Pay for Good Work'

Eric Monacelli, who until recently was a community strategist at Naughty Dog, has weighed in on the ongoing debate around paid-for DLC in games, saying that "you should pay for good work."

Speaking to MCV UK, Monacelli said that the decision to add post-launch story content to Uncharted 4 would be unwelcome news for some fans, but said that people should be willing to pay for good content.

“Microtransactions tend to get a sort of negative connotation in the games industry," he said. "If you remember back in the day, people bristled when they sold horse armour [for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion]. It's something that has always happened.

"But if it's good enough content and you want to pay for it, why not pay for it? That's what it comes down to."

He rejected the notion that content is cut from the initial release of a game in order to be sold as DLC later on, using the introduction of DLC guns in The Last of Us as an example.

"A clear-cut example of that is the burst rifle in The Last of Us," he said. "A lot of people thought 'Why are they charging for guns?' We did the research and noticed that a lot of players were having trouble jumping into the game for the first time, so we wanted to give people a weapon that was easily accessible and would give them a bit of a leg-up. There were other weapons if they were a more experienced player that they could buy – it's up to them. If you're already kicking ass, you probably don't need these, but if you want 'em, have 'em. It's just a matter of personal preference."

It's worth noting that what Monacelli is talking about here is are one-time purchases for additional items, like weapons in The Last of Us, rather the repeat purchases to which the term "microtransactions" usually refers, like card packs in Hearthstone or premium currency used in many free-to-play titles. But as far as DLC goes, he says that it's something the developers have worked on, and so people should be willing to pay.

"The more thought that's put into DLC, the more you should be able to charge for it, because it's one of those things where you're creating another game unto itself – The Last of Us: Left Behind was another game. It's essentially the second Last of Us game, right?

"It's work, and you should pay for good work.”


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Comments Comments (10)

Posted by KatalystaKaos
On Thursday 19 Nov 2015 9:51 AM
There's at least two sides to every argument and his has valid points, put we as gaming consumers need to continue to be vigilant and vocal when we see obvious gouging from publishers.

On a side note he's got some big kahoona's speaking out publicly like this, we've all seen how nasty things can get when someone in this industry comes out with controversial statements.
Posted by Romulus
On Thursday 19 Nov 2015 10:22 AM
When it's genuinely good work I don't mind paying for it, and there issome genuinely awesome DLC (i.e. Skyrim DLC and Dragon Age DLC have been awesome). It's when the DLC effectively becomes a paywall (i.e. Destiny) or there is not enough meat (i.e. Arkham Knight) that I find it annoying.
Posted by Wertbag
On Thursday 19 Nov 2015 11:09 AM
There have been games found where the DLC is already included with the retail edition and the extra payment is solely an unlock code. Especially with the big corporates, the EA's and Ubisofts of this world you know that planning for the DLC sales occurs on day 1. It is simply too valuable to them to not include it.
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 19 Nov 2015 4:54 PM
Why is he defending it? People will pay for good DLC. People have a problem for paying for crap DLC, paying for Season passes and the DLC is crap and lacklustre, or People complain about the obvious or controversial DLC detailing before the game is even out.
Posted by robmacd1
On Thursday 19 Nov 2015 11:53 PM
Don't forget, we're not talking about just the odd gun and piece of armor, some of the DLC that's available is whole new areas/missions to a game, if it's that big of an add on to the original game - wait a bit longer, add a LOT more areas and weapons and then release it as a COMPLETE new game - "........ ......... ........... 2: The Next Chapter" You know, like they used to.
Posted by kiwiatlarge
On Friday 20 Nov 2015 4:18 PM
The only thing I'll pay for is new chapter content. In that instance I consider it often to be like a mini sequel or prequel, and I don't expect to get it for free. Will I pay $10 for a t-shirt for Sack-Boy? fat chance...
Posted by Paorio
On Friday 20 Nov 2015 6:30 PM
it's when the micro transactions present an unfair advantage that they're looked down on and the last of us multiplayer guns are a prime example, the game was completely fair until they brought in some of the ridiculous guns sure we got little samples but the samples weren't as effective as they easily could've been
Posted by Goonertron
On Friday 20 Nov 2015 10:32 PM
I really wished GTA 5 would being out some story DLC.
Posted by drunk_monk
On Monday 23 Nov 2015 7:55 AM
I don't think any reasonable person is against new content as paid DLC.

But we know some games have had content cut to be paid DLC. left behind is an excellent example of new content on a complete game, which was worth it.

Just because he didn't do it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
Posted by cortez72
On Tuesday 24 Nov 2015 9:54 AM
"He rejected the notion that content is cut from the initial release of a game in order to be sold as DLC later on"

Capcom, for example, showed Marvel vs Capcom 3 running early uild which featured Jill Valentine... only for her to be removed from the game and sold back to the NZ/AU gamer for $14.99

As Romulus mentioned, some DLC is worth it, such as Skyrim, which offered content of excellent value for a fair price. GTA Online has been furnishing the community with free DLC solidly since it's release (although they hope to make coin off Shark Card sales to buy some of the heftier priced items they introduce).

It's a sliding scale. Horse armour and re-fried content at one end, and stellar story content and deep game play at the other.