It's been quite a while since we've had the "DLC that should have been in the game in the first place" discussion, it seems, but it's sprung up recently around Creative Assembly's recent addition to the Total War franchise.
Rome II has had its fair share of problems since release, ranging from game-breaking bugs to poor performance on some computers, but the most recent controversy surrounding the game revolves around its piecemeal "unit pack" DLC items. Specifically, the Camel Cataphract and Mercenary Naked Swords paid DLC units were spotted in a Let's Play video published prior to the game's release.
Our sister site queried this seeming contradiction with Creative Assembly, whose brand director Rob Bartholomew claimed the issue could be attributed to a "misunderstanding of what's being shown combined with a marketing error which I certainly appreciate doesn't look good, but wasn't our intent to mislead."
According to Bartholomew, the "Camel Cataphract" and "Mercenary Naked Swords" units seen in the Let's Play videos are nothing more than work-in-progress content that was "subject to change and revision" before the game eventually shipped. The units seen in the video were not finished in terms of art or gameplay, and at the time the video was recorded it seemingly wasn't known whether or not they would make it into the final game.
"Obviously we don't want to feature content that won't be in the game intentionally," said Bartholomew. "Especially where it would otherwise be pointless, as in this case where there was a huge variety of other great units to show off. That's our basic human error and I apologize for letting that through."
Bartholomew's admission would seem to contradict unit design lead Jack Lusted's comments prior to Rome II's release; he admitted that there would be DLC for Rome II, but that it would not be cut content. Bartholomew maintains his position, however; rather than content being cut from the game and then re-added as DLC, he claims that the Camel Cataphract and Mercenary Naked Swords units were units that "[the team] liked but didn't turn out good enough," and putting them out as DLC gave the developers the opportunity to revisit and improve on them.
Further controversy was added when fans digging through the game files discovered the DLC units were already installed on players' hard disks -- just not available. Bartholomew's explanation for this is that when DLC is released, all versions of the game client are updated with the content to allow multiplayer matchmaking between those who have and have not purchased the content. This isn't all that unusual a practice, but it certainly raises questions about exactly what you're paying for. Do you need to actually download something for a DLC purchase to feel "worthwhile?"
Between the game's problems upon release and the new DLC controversies, it seems Creative Assembly has a bit of PR work to do, especially if the comments on the latest DLC's Facebook post are anything to go by.
Have you been playing Total War: Rome II? What do you think of the game and its DLC strategy?