Hiring pornstar Tera Patrick can't be cheap, but certainly arouses a lot of attention, and THQ's decided to base a block of Saints Row DLC around her.
Ultor Exposed has three new missions where players interact with the curvy Patrick, plus new diversions, vehicles, customisation options, multiplayer maps and Achievements. The pack will cost 800 MSP (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60) from Xbox Live Marketplace, or GBP 7.99 from the PlayStation Store.
But will these offerings stand up to beefy DLC investments by Rockstar for Grand Theft Auto IV? And what did Tera Patrick actually do for the content?
We put these questions and more to developer Volition and this is what came back.
Eurogamer: DLC has become a staple feature of this generation, but we're seeing many different ways of doing it - what kind of approach have you taken with Ultor Exposed?
James Torbit: You could say that we took a "something for everyone" approach, and that would be superficially accurate, but it's not the real story. The Ultor Exposed content grows Saints Row 2. It neatly integrates into the experiences making it a larger, and often more outrageous, way to play.
Eurogamer: We understand you've got single-player, multiplayer, vehicles, customisation and diversion content in there, so it's quite a big pack.
James Torbit: It's true. You'll have the Ultor Exposed mission arc, a garage full of highly destructive ground and air vehicles, a closet full of customisation items, something special we call the Co-op Competitive Mode, and four new multiplayer maps.
Eurogamer: Can you tell us a bit about what we'll get to play with and what prompted you to take this approach?
James Torbit: The Ultor Exposed mission arc stars your new homie, Tera Patrick, who portrays herself as an ex-Ultor microbiologist. Tera reveals data regarding nefarious experiments conducted by Ultor and would like to bring the corporation down in a public way. Really, it's all about vengeance.
These missions, along with all of the Ultor Exposed content, are fully playable in co-op. They're packed with high-octane sequences that will give players the challenge they've been asking for.
The new Co-op Competitive Mode works with both the Ultor Exposed and all existing Saints Row 2 missions. Once activated within the pause menu, each player will receive points for kills and mayhem during missions.
Points are shown on screen as they're earned. At the end of the mission one player will walk away with cash money for the win. You're penalised for killing your co-op partner which keeps the focus on completing the mission as quickly and destructively as possible. It'll have you playing missions repeatedly for the high score.
It's all about getting more game. Saints Row 2 is a massive playground, so we put a lot of time and energy into assembling a package appropriate to the scope and diversity of that experience.
Eurogamer: How will players access the Ultor Exposed content within Saints Row 2?
James Torbit: Everything you purchase plugs directly into the existing game. Just load up your save file and go. Vehicles appear in your garage, customisation items are added to stores throughout the city, missions are available immediately and you've got Tera Patrick on speed dial. It's all very integrated.
Eurogamer: What do you make of the other downloadable content out there, like GTAIV: The Lost and Damned? Who's getting it right?
James Torbit: Expansion packs have been in the PC world for years but console DLC is causing us to consider the opportunities all over again. Large thematic packages like what we've seen for GTA and Fallout impress me, but I find smaller offerings that extend the game with simple items just as clever.
I'm not sure there is a right or wrong, but I do know we're learning about pricing, appropriate timing and what players really want all the time. We'd have loved to release Ultor Exposed sooner, but we wanted to get it right, and we're knocking it home with a great quality package.
DLC strikes us as a way to satisfy player requests. For example, more than one customisation component in Ultor Exposed comes straight from our user forums and we designed our new missions to provide the challenge the community has been asking for. Go ahead and try them on the Hardcore setting!
We're lucky to have a great player base and our Community Manager in-house, keeping the lines of communication open. If there is a way to do it wrong, not paying attention to the community would be it.
Eurogamer: This is the first we're seeing of Tera Patrick's involvement, which has been long-mooted. What was it like working with her and how did she feel about the game?
James Torbit: We first worked with Tera when she appeared in Saints Row 2 promotional materials. It was a hit. We had to get her in-game; it was more about finding the right way to make it happen. Ultor Exposed was the perfect opportunity.
Tera plays a great role in Ultor Exposed. Capturing any living person within an existing game is challenging and the expectations soar when it's Tera Patrick. We're lucky to have Tera onboard, recording her own lines and bringing personality to the character. I think we all had fun with it.
As a homie, you can call Tera up and she'll ride shotgun in any of the Saints Row 2 gameplay, and that's part of the fun. She drives one of the new vehicles, the Temptress, which is quite possibly the most refined performance car in Stilwater.
A bit of interesting trivia: Tera's in-game character is an Ultor microbiologist, which was no coincidence, as Tera herself holds a microbiology degree.
Eurogamer: Did she get a chance to play around with the character creator while you were working together, and if so, what did she come up with?
James Torbit: Tera probably had a chance to play with the character creator at one of the game showings, but unfortunately I cannot be sure. [PR chimes in: "When we were in Prague for the Saints Row 2 review event I sat with Tera and her husband Evan while they did media interviews and she made all manner of weird and wonderful characters there."]
Eurogamer: DLC pricing is a source of hot debate among gamers, and your price tag - 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live - is often thought of as the sweet spot. How do you end up settling on pricing? What kind of value do you have to provide to justify 800 MSP?
James Torbit: We started by looking at comparative pricing but we also put a lot of thought into what the community expects. In truth, the content variety in Ultor Exposed is consistent with some more expensive packages, but we really wanted to hit that "sweet spot," because ultimately that's going to be best for everybody.
As a player I'm going to look at the basics: What content is in the package, how much time am I going to spend with it and how much does it cost? We took the same perspective in development and consequently Ultor Exposed is at once outrageous in spirit while also being a very prudent purchase from the gamer's perspective.
Eurogamer: Ultor Exposed is the first DLC for Saints Row 2. Will we be seeing more in future, or does that depend on how this goes down?
James Torbit: Ultor Exposed is the first of three DLC packages that will be made available for Saints Row 2. I'll get my brake lines cut if I reveal any details, but rest assured that we're hard at work building on the Saints Row 2 experience.
Saints Row 2: Ultor Exposed is due out for PS3 and Xbox 360 on 16th April 2009.