Over the weekend, we started seeing reports that Piranha Bytes and Deep Silver’s Risen 2 might be the latest game to feature “disc-locked” DLC. According to DSOGaming and Cinema Blend, a GameFAQs forum post claims that the “Treasure Isle” and “Pirate Clothes” DLC packs ($9.99 and $2.99 respectively), along with one yet to be announced, are accessible via the game’s console. The last piece could be the “Air Temple” content promised for the console release, and intended to provide console fans something extra to ease the wait. Files present in the retail version would explain the rapid fire release of the first two packs, which arrived only a few days after the game’s release.

According to GameFAQs user Dexter111, who started the thread, the one thing not unlockable via the console are the voice files, which are likely part of the DLC download. In retaliation, it seems that the audio has started popping up through illegal channels.

DLC has had a generally smooth road over the past few years, with a few notable potholes along the way. The practice got a bad rap early on in the Xbox 360’s life cycle due to Bethesda’s sale of cosmetic horse armor for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Things were a bit more on the level for a while until EA started selling unlocks and in-game cash for some titles. That practice seemed to have abated until recently, when the publisher brought back the model for Battlefield 3, selling $40 worth of early access to guns, gadgets and vehicle upgrades. Talk about sucking the fun out of the experience.

The latest DLC practice to rankle gamers is publishers shipping retail disks with completed content behind a paywall. After it was discovered that all of the twelve additional characters for Street Fighter x Tekken were hidden away for later wallet milking, Capcom further infuriated fans by issuing an inflammatory statement. They claim that there is no difference between on-disc and downloadable delivery of post-launch content. EA and BioWare came under fire for the same practice with regard to Mass Effect 3. In that case, both developer and publisher disputed the claim. Recently, Cinema Blend’s William Usher published a piece examining the claims of “gamer entitlement” and how publishers seem to be getting a pass for these practices. It’s a great read and broadens the debate with a fair and critical look at the state of this portion of the industry.

We reached out to Deep Silver for further information about this, but they have declined to comment.

In the meantime, please check out our review of Risen 2, which is out now for the PC and coming on July 31, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3.


Michael Futter is the Managing Editor of @RipTen. You can follow him on Twitter @mmmfutter.