Season Passes

We live in an age of gaming where we don’t actually get a full game at release. We pay a large upfront cost for most of a game and then expect to buy several add-ons to pad out the experience a little. Not every game is like this, but the industry does seem to be moving in that direction. It’s got to a point where companies are just selling a game and a ticket for the extra stuff, further down the road. I am referring, of course, to the Season Pass.

For me, Season Passes just appeared out of nowhere as the new thing, directly in front of the game I wanted to buy. I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t really care, so I ignored it. But, as companies have come to realise that it’s an excellent way to add another half of the profit on with each sale, they’ve become more and more prevalent. Almost any triple-A game with have a little card for your lifetime’s supply of whatever the publisher thinks you’ll enjoy next, ready for you to pick up immediately.

FO4 Season Pass
This was the best I could do. Sorry.

So far, I’ve only ever bought one Season Pass. That was for Fallout 4, and even then I bought it from a grey market site for slightly cheaper than usual. This was a recommendation from the same friend that told me to get the game, who had also played all of the Fallout 3 additional content and expected good things to come. And from what I’ve seen from an outside perspective, Bethesda do put a lot of time and effort into their DLC – Skyrim and Fallout 3 got some great packs, adding on whole new stories, items and sometimes more.

Not that I’ve bought any of them, but it’s nice to know if I wanted to be a Nordic vampire, I could be.

This has made the Season Pass feel like a worthwhile purchase; I’ve seen that Bethesda will work on additional content independently to the main game, which will be a good selection of new things to do. Skyrim got 3 content add-ons, and Fallout 3 got 5. Bethesda have claimed that the expansions they’ve planned for Fallout 4 are worth $40, released throughout 2016. All in all, an excellent deal.

It’s a shame that as of 3 months since release, we haven’t heard anything about new content…

FO4 Vault
What a beautiful, destroyed wasteland I live in.

On the other side of things, I spent a long tme debating with myself whether or not to get the Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Season Pass. I really enjoyed the game when I played through it and wanted some more to continue the good trend and spend a little more time in London. However, after reading and re-reading what I’d get for my money, I decided against it. I’ve heard that the DLC content was pretty poor in comparison with the main game, bugs and glitches included, which is a real shame because I thought Ubisoft were getting better.

A major factor in turning me away from the Syndicate Season Pass was the fact that so much of the new content was immediately available. On the release of the game, sold with a Season Pass, two further mission packs were available – clearly, these were worked on in conjunction with the main storyline so, somewhere along the line, it was chosen to cut them off and sell them for a profit. This, for me, is the worst aspect of DLC in the modern age of gaming; too much of the time, publishers want to sell completed and readily available content for a little extra cash.

I was also put off by the fact that buying a Season Pass would grant an immediate, permanent 5% experience boost. Even though this is a single player game, and I’m not in the business of streaming or doing Let’s Play videos, it feels like they wanted to push people through their content quickly. It would cheapen the experience for me to breeze through it with an experience buff. They also threw in 2 new outfits and weapons with the Pass, which – to be honest – just feels like they stopped bothering to think of anything interesting to add, like when you’re putting together a ‘farewell package’ for some at work that you didn’t really like.

ACS Evie
I tried to take a stunning screenshot of London for this article, but it didn’t work.
Credit to Playstation Europe (flickr.com)

It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth when a publisher would treat additional content in this way. The ideas for the extra missions sound great and I’d love to give them a try, but when you’re stonewalling off content to sell at a premium, not bothering to craft it with the same care you applied to the base game and throwing in a boost and a pretty outfit to pad it out, I’m not going to be convinced to spend an extra £20 for the privilege.

I’m not going to be convinced to spend an extra £20 on it for an outfit.

I feel confident in Bethesda to provide great, new content in the future, equally as engrossing as the main game that I would want to buy and play. Fallout 4 is a fantastic game that I easily sunk hours in to and I’m happy to drop in and out when I want to run, gun and have some RPG fun. I don’t feel that from Ubisoft. Their model feels more like a ‘quick buck’ scheme, to get a bit more money on release day. Past the storyline, I don’t much feel like traipsing about London collecting tidbits from people’s gardens. I especially don’t want to do it when I’m dressed in Tesla coils.

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