The Rising Popularity Of Standalone DLC

Assassin’s Creed, inFAMOUS, Saint’s Row as well as quite a few other well-known titles have all followed a popular trend of releasing standalone downloadable content. It was also recently announced that Wolfenstein would be the next game to join this growing list of standalones. This is the exact reason I’m writing this post, because I love the idea of standalone DLC for a few reasons and thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic, as well as some news on Wolfenstein: The Old Blood.

I have absolutely no problem with standalone DLC, some may see it as a cash-grab scheme, but it’s really so much more than that. It offers both new and old players the chance to experience something unique, yet still based around the original title. Standalones are often built far enough away from their core game’s design to be new and engaging, but not so far that it alienates older fans. They will often go into depth where the previous game could not; for example, looking into the back-stories of characters, or delving into more obscure plot-points. Another interesting remark that could be made about standalone DLC is that it acts as a teaser or a demo, potentially persuading a new player to buy the original. For the sake of an argument, you could even go as far to say that the Metal Gear Solid V teaser, Ground Zeroes was almost a pre-standalone DLC to Metal Gear Solid V’s actual title, Phantom Pain, which launches later this year.

Ground Zeroes

The idea of Standalone DLC is simple, I’ll use inFAMOUS as an example: back in early 2014 when this PlayStation exclusive was released, players were exposed to a variety of differing characters in the inFAMOUS universe. These characters played a huge part in the building of the fictional world based around the state of Seattle, they offered a plethora of superpowers, differing beliefs and all had their own impact on the protagonist, Delsin.

Later in the year the developers of inFAMOUS (Sucker Punch) announced that they’d be releasing standalone downloadable content tied directly to the original. This time, however, players take control of Fetch Walker. She’s a recurring character in the original who shares enough similarities with Delsin to make experienced players feel comfortable, yet unique enough to offer a difference in play style. That’s the basic concept behind standalone DLC;  keeping the old, but tweaking it in an attempt to make it better and add a new layer to the already laid foundations of the game. Fetch was a well-known character by players, and her powers were already usable, however, during inFAMOUS: First Light, players got to delve deeper into her story and utilise her powers in a much more advanced way.

First Light

Take the aforementioned concept and apply it to the popular reborn shooter, Wolfenstein: The New Order. From the news revealed earlier in the week this standalone seems promising, The Old Blood takes the grit, gore and mechanics of the original then throws some new elements on top of it. Set in the months leading up to The New Order, you will play as the recurring protagonist, Blazkowicz, during a two-part mission.

In part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, B.J is to break into castle Wolfenstein and steal the co-ordinates for General Deathshead’s compound. But, none of this should go without the mention of a crazed prison warden who stands in B.J’s way. If you thought the naming of part one was bad, wait until you hear part two: The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbsour, where Blazkowicz continue his mission for these co-ordinates through the city of Wulfburg. He’ll encounter the second of the two main antagonists, an archaeologist investigating dark and mystical artifacts which can be weaponised for use by the Nazis to win the second world war.

Machine Games have promised that The Old Blood will feature the mechanics and play styles of Wolfenstein: The New Order, while also adding in new story arcs, characters, environments and weapons to discover. Releasing May 5th this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC for £15, yet without a physical version for Xbox One. It is also worth noting that as with all standalone downloadable content, you won’t need the original game to play it.

Old Blood

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