Bethesda’s DLC practices leave quite a bit to be desired of late.
The infamous incident with the horse armor notwithstanding, Bethesda have always been known to have some of the best DLC on the market- additions to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 were numerous and substantial, bordering on full fledged expansion packs, and adding more value and content to games that were already bursting at the seams with them.
However, in recent years, Bethesda have started to lose the plot there a bit- Skyrim‘s post launch DLC support was certainly better than quite a few other similar games seem to get, but with only Dragonborn being substantial, or really, even good (Hearthfire was a small addition of a neat, but shallow, gimmicky mechanic, while Dawnguard was lacking in both, quality and quantity), it was a step down from what had come before from the company.
With Fallout 4, in spite of Bethesda’s claims that this is the most extensive post launch support campaign they have ever had, it’s hard not to feel disappointed- of the six DLC packs announced, four are just glorified content packs for the crafting mechanic in the game. Only two – Far Harbor and Nuka World – actually promise any meaningful story content, and of those, Far Harbor has turned out to be fairly underwhelming, too. The onus is now all on Nuka World, but like Dragonborn showed us for Skyrim, one good DLC pack, no matter how great it is, cannot salvage an otherwise mediocre bout of post launch support.
All of this is to say that with the upcoming The Elder Scrolls 6 – and we know it’s coming eventually, even if it is a few years away from release – Bethesda need to look at their older games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 for guidance on DLC support, not Skyrim or especially Fallout 4. With the competition now outdoing them in this regard, too – CD Projekt RED’s Hearts of Stone and Blood of Wine expansions for The Witcher 3 may rank as some of the best post launch support a game has ever received – this is another area the company risks being left behind in, if they don’t do something about it.
And considering how pioneering Bethesda’s DLC policies generally used to be, that would be a dan shame, if it happened.