Just Cause 2 still going strong as dev questions value of "crap" DLC and forced multiplayer

"DLC is not needed to keep players engaged if the game is well executed."

The developer of superb open world blow 'em up Just Cause 2 has questioned "crap" downloadable content and forced multiplayer as a way to keep people playing games.

Avalanche Studios boss Christofer Sundberg told Eurogamer that publishers and developers have "run around as headless chickens" trying to make money from gamers through the likes of DLC.

"DLC is not needed to keep players engaged if the game is well executed," he said.

"We create a game allowing players to properly explore and have fun and not focusing so much on the actual end goal of the game," he told us. "As most publishers and developers have run around as headless chickens the last three years looking for a way to make money DLC was definitively a tool to try to keep players engaged, but how many games have been truly successful with DLC? Not that many.

"I like DLC, but the DLC we released for JC2 was standard stuff and they haven't helped keep the players motivated to keep on playing. It was the game itself. The big thing now is to force multiplayer into games that are really single-player games just to combat second hand sales and that makes absolutely no sense as it just consumes budget and does not add any value except on the back of the box.

"Proper DLC that adds VALUE is great but so far very few games have motivated me to actually pay for the DLC. I've just paid for the crap that developers decided to cut because they didn't have the time to get into the game. 'We save that for DLC' - famous last words."

DLC and multiplayer have in recent years become two of the most controversial topics in video games. Street Fighter x Tekken fans complained when it emerged that post-launch DLC was, in fact, on-disc, and BioWare sparked debate when it announced that Mass Effect 3 - for two games a single-player only experience - would feature multiplayer.

Just Cause 2, on the other hand, remains popular without such efforts, Sundberg said. In March 2012, two years after launch, the game enjoyed over 100,000 unique players each week, with some clocking over 200 hours of game time.

Why? "It's the freedom!" he said. "Just Cause 2 is a full-out playground for the players who want to explore and have fun for 15 minutes or 15 hours. It doesn't really matter."

Looking to the future, Sundberg said great games will always keep players playing, irrespective of efforts to expand their universes through means outside the core experience.

"These years of recession and showing how desperate this industry can really get has been very interesting," he said. "I've never seen so many experts on predicting what is going to be the way of making money for game developers and publishers. We've got the stubborn console game developers, the F2P developers, the Facebook game developers, the iOS developers - all holding the key to the industry's future, but you know what? They don't know s*** and neither do I.

"All I know is that we are pretty damn good at doing games that keep players engaged. I don't' think a combination of offering players a broader entertaining experience is wrong. With that I mean offering compelling DLC to squeeze more money out of the consumer, an iOS app to flip around with on the subway to keep their minds on the IP and a nice companion app to go with the game release to, again, make more money. I do not believe in the death of consoles and the bright future of F2P. I believe in creating highly entertaining experiences for the consumer and that requires multiple paths to success."

Avalanche is working on a number of current and next-gen console projects due out in 2013 and 2014, one of which is an open world game for Square Enix, publisher of Just Cause 2.

It described its open world game as "ground breaking" and an "action title". Avalanche is long-rumoured to be making Just Cause 3, but will it be a current gen or next gen title?

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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