Nintendo Finally Delving Into Paid DLC After Years of Pushing Against It
First, the good news: Nintendo will be releasing a new entry in the stellar turn-based strategy Fire Emblem series, for a spring 2012 release in Japan. Now, the bad news: It’s going to be releasing on the Nintendo 3DS, a system that isn’t selling too well, and one that at least one writer doesn’t want to have to buy just to play a new game in one of his favorite strategy series. The mixed news, now: This new Fire Emblem will be Nintendo’s first game to have paid downloadable content. After years of pushing against it, for better or worse, it looks as though Nintendo will embrace the DLC era.
DLC is a mixed bag. Sometimes, getting a significant portion of new content for a game you like months — or even years — after its release is a welcomed gift (the 2008 Prince of Persia‘s epilogue DLC is a shining example). Other times, though, buying your game at a midnight launch and coming home to find that there are already multiple day-one DLC packs available is obnoxious and one can’t help but be a little annoyed.
Yes, Nintendo has the Virtual Console and online Wii store offerings, but this planned DLC for the new 3DS Fire Emblem is much more akin to small DLC packs, rather than a full downloadable game. Nintendo always seems to be a generation behind, like when the GameCube was using minidiscs during an era of DVDs, or how the Wii’s online functionality is barely existant in an era of just about everything going online in some way — and now Nintendo is planning on jumping into the DLC race a generation late. In terms of making money, throwing their hat into the DLC ring is obviously better than never doing it, so kudos, Nintendo.
However, there is a bit of worry involved. Before and during the early life of the Wii, Nintendo was very adamant against the online console gaming era, but still tried their hand at it somewhat, and it was terrible: Friend Codes, Smash Bros. Brawl basically not working online for months and months, and little-to-no patch support for devastating bugs in games. As shown by Nintendo’s past, they usually enter the ring a generation late, and then get it right a generation after that. So, while this can easily not happen for Nintendo’s new DLC, be aware that the trend of Nintendo taking a while to get it right certainly can happen.
Regarding Fire Emblem’s DLC structure, players will be able to download more content for around 100 yen per, which is around $1.30 USD — not too high by any means (assuming the content is meaty enough), but a few cents out of the mobile app swet spot of 99 cents. The Fire Emblem series usually has reasons for multiple playthroughs — generally new characters unlocking — so hopefully the DLC would give new levels or some new story. Meanwhile, check out a trailer for the new Fire Emblem below, and rejoice that they’re bringing back the world map — something that appeared in the second Game Boy Advance Fire Emblem installment years ago, and was sadly promptly removed from the subsequent GameCube and Wii versions.