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.