Framsoftware and the art of making add-on packages; How not to violate the original game and add to it
Add-on packs (DLC) have become commonplace in video games these days. These add-ons usually include decorative items such as clothing, weapon skins, etc. or are intended to expand the main story of the game. These packages are sometimes free but usually need to be paid separately. While paying extra for extras that don't add much to the experience has become the norm, especially in online games, story add-ons make it very easy for developers to release games that are flawed in any way. On the other hand, they force the player to finally finish the story of the game and find answers to their questions by paying for additional content.
However, FromSoftware studio in the field of additional packages It has always acted differently. To better understand this issue, in this article, we will first discuss the System Rift add-on package from the game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and examine the problems of add-on packages in general. In the following, we will take a look at two add-on packs, Ashes of Ariandel from Dark Souls 3 and The Old Hunters from Bellaborn, and we will examine their value as worthy supplements for the mentioned games.
The dilemma of incomplete or complete story!
To start, we need to clarify How we define an add-on package. However, as mentioned, different content can be labeled as an add-on package. In this article, we'll only look at packs that aim to expand the game's narrative. These days, many story-rich games have expansion packs that expand on the main game's story in some way by adding a new story line through the main areas or in an entirely new location. For example, we can mention packs like Dawnguard and Dragonborn from Skyrim or The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches from Disney. In response to this question, it can be said that video games as a medium introduce new forms of narrative and storytelling that cannot be seen in other media. With that said, it will be interesting to see what implications an expansion pack has for video games, especially as a storytelling vehicle. In fact, I'm going to show here that add-ons bring interesting concepts and insights into the nature of storytelling in games.
Before we dive into the various examples of add-on packages, it's easy to spot the problem with them. In fact, in order to be able to release an add-on package, it should be possible to expand the narrative of the main game using it. However, video games as a narrative art now have a complete world with a complete story that has a beginning, middle, and end. So, for a video game story to be "expandable," it stands to reason that the original game's narrative must be incomplete in some way. So the problem is that either it's a complete game, in which case no expansion pack is needed, or the narrative feels incomplete and the expansion pack is needed.
You might say that countless narratives, in video games and
Other media have sequels that are logically difficult to exist. So
there must be something wrong in the above analysis. Although there
are theoretical and fundamental problems with sequences,
antecedents, etc., we will leave them aside for now, since the
adjoint problem is different from the problems that arise with
sequences. In fact, the key point is that the expansion pack
expands the narrative of a video game in a different way
than a sequel. In general, sequels tend to tell a completely new
story that takes the story of the previous game as a
starting point, while expansions try to do so by adding other
events that are related to and somehow subordinate to the main
game's story. , make the narrative of the game richer and
For example, a possible expansion pack is to add a new storyline to the game that takes place during the events of the main story, but involves different characters than the original Avatar. This can be seen in the add-on pack of DisAnrd, which, of course, had its own problems. On the other hand, an expansion pack may tell a new story that does not take place simultaneously and precisely with the events of the main game, but nevertheless is considered a coherent part of the main narrative of the game. It's similar to what Deus Ex: Mankind Divided did with the System Rift expansion pack, effectively introducing a new chapter in the original game's narrative as Adam Jensen tries to uncover the details of a global conspiracy.
Therefore, the independent narrative of a game is generally complete and the different components of its narrative are more or less coherent with each other, and adding a new story significantly disrupts this coherence. . On the other hand, video game worlds are basically designed to respond to the avatar in different ways depending on the player's choices and actions. This may seem obvious and trivial, but the bottom line is that the game world works in line with the story. If a designer has created a world that fits the narrative of the story, it's not clear How to add more stories or worlds to expand upon. In fact, doing this may somehow disturb the ontology of the game world. "https://bingmag.com/picsbody/2207/22321-5.jpg" alt="BingMag.com Framsoftware and the art of making add-on packages; How not to violate the original game and add to it" loading="lazy">
Many add-on packages acknowledge these issues. In fact,
many players usually find them not very attractive when faced with
add-on packages, and this is due to the mentioned problems.
For example, let's take a look at the System Rift expansion pack
for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Mankind Divided follows the story of
Adam Jensen, the protagonist of the previous game Deus Ex:
Human Revolution. The main theme of the game is Jensen's
mission to discover a secret and powerful group of people, or in a
way the Illuminati, who control the course of events on a global
scale. At the end of the game, while Jensen has successfully taken
down a major terrorist, he is faced with a lot of questions about
the organization he has been looking for the entire game. An old
colleague (from Human Revolution), Jensen's Frances Pritchard.
Pritchard actually asks Jensen to help him break into a data
storage bank called the Palisade Blades. Although Pritchard has his
own motivations for infiltrating the Blades, he also encourages
Jensen to learn more about the Illuminati. In fact, the advertising
campaign of the expansion pack revolved around getting more
information about the mentioned organization, and this created an
incentive for players to buy it.
Without delving too deeply into the story of System Rift, we can identify its problems. The first problem is the turning point of its story, which is to discover more information about the mentioned organization. Many people who have experienced this expansion pack have somehow commented that the story was not very interesting and satisfying. With the things we've covered so far, we can take a closer look at this and understand why the story isn't satisfying. As mentioned, the aforementioned expansion pack is based on getting answers to our questions about the organization that Jensen was never able to fully answer throughout the game. In this sense, the respective package clearly points the attention of the players to the fact that the original game was incomplete in terms of the investigation of the Illuminati.
On the other hand, Eidos Montreal as the developer of the
game and its expansion package has put himself in a
difficult situation. In fact, the studio also failed to provide
answers to these questions that were not present in the
original game in its expansion pack because to do so
would mean that the game would suffer from a decent ending
and players would have to pay extra to get a decent ending. to pay
As a result of the mentioned restrictions, the developer studio was
forced to minimize the information about the organization mentioned
in the package.
Of course, if a player is familiar with the Deus Ex series in
general, The base of the previous games will have more or less
information about the respective organization, but that doesn't
change the issue as Mankind Divided and its expansion pack fall
short on their promises in this regard. Since giving away more
information about the organization in the expansion pack would
compromise the original game in a way, Eidos Montreal
is looking to delve further into the Illuminati by making a
sequel. However, this is just an excuse to cover up the weakness of
the add-on package. There is a System Rift expansion, one of
which is a not so good story. The second is that due to the fact
that the expansion pack is more of a stand-alone game than
an expansion for Mankind Divided, there are some issues with this.
In fact, none of the player's actions in the main game have
any effect on System Rift, and you can even experience this pack
early in the game. However, the game warns you that you
might spoil the original game experience for
yourself. So despite the fact that the expansion pack is related to
the game, it ends up being a separate and independent story. Note
that the game will not be transferred to the expansion pack.
this to this It means that you are experiencing two different
versions of Jensen, and the two narratives are not parts of a
single reality. Unless there is a view that asserts that there are
different versions of Jensen who have the same relationships with
different characters in the same universe, that is
Now you might think that such problems exist across multiple
games in a series more generally. Although it's beyond our
discussion, there may be a way to make sense of different games in
a series even if a player's choices don't carry over between
versions, but this problem is somewhat inexcusable for expansion
packs. Remember that the whole point of an expansion pack is to
expand the game's narrative. In order to do this, it seems that at
least the game and its expansion pack must take place in the
same reality, unless there are compelling sci-fi reasons to do
otherwise, such as BioShock Infinite and the Buried at Sea
expansion pack. falls.
This may seem obvious, but it illustrates what makes building an effective add-on package so difficult. The expansion packs the responsibility of staying within the same reality as the original game, while also justifying why its narrative content wasn't included as part of the original game from the get-go.
The expansion packs the responsibility of staying within the same reality as the original game, while justifying why its narrative content was not included as part of the original game from the start.
Of course, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has many positives that could be discussed for hours. In fact, the point here was just to show that the issues mentioned allow us to better understand many of the reasons add-on packages fail, as well as why they are so difficult to succeed in the first place. On the other hand, understanding the amount of problems facing add-on packages makes us respect their successful examples more.
Ashes of Ariandel add-on package/Dark Souls 3
As mentioned, an expansion pack has a lot of problems to justify as part of a game's narrative. If the game is complete, then it does not need a special add-on, and if it needs an add-on, then it is incomplete. However, here we will look at two add-ons from Framsoftware whose secret to avoiding the aforementioned problems is that they place their place as an add-on together with the player's decision to purchase and experience them, in terms of narrative. They matter.
Ashes of Ariandel starts by inviting the player and avatar to enter the world and a new mission. A character named Gael (Slave Knight Gael), who fell on the floor of the Cleansing Church, commands you to enter the painted world of Ariandel Flame. The player is given the option to accept or decline the request. When you accept it, your avatar will touch a part of the painting and be drawn into Ariandel.
This initial interaction with Gil sets the tone and atmosphere
of the entire expansion pack. The game constantly prompts
the player to confirm their decision to complete this side quest in
Ariandel. When the player and his avatar first meet Freed, the
leader of the Forlorn in the world, he asks the avatar to leave
Ariandel, explicitly pointing to Bonfire next to him. He
I am not aware of the wrong steps that have led you to this painted world, but your duty is the most important thing and your duty is elsewhere. Go back from where you came. I think it's visible to you, isn't it? The bonfire that is in this room. Something soulless and lightless, but still it will guide you.
Sir Wilhelm also as A knight who appears to be serving Farid warns the Avatar to heed Farid's words. If the player chooses to advance through the world of Ariandel instead, Wilhelm will eventually confront him and attempt to kill the Avatar. While attacking the player, he says:
I have seen your kind many times. Any fugitive should be
arrested. Every secret must be discovered.
If the player continues to advance, eventually to the Church of Ariandel; He returns to where Farid is sitting. Farid speaks to the player character again:
Be aware, you greedy ash, if this world becomes soulless and rotten, Ariandel will still be our home. leave us alone You are the Lord of Landor and have things under your command to guide.
Finally, if the player chooses to continue, he will encounter
Father Ariandel, chained in a room. Entering the room does not
trigger a cinematic or fight scene, but the player must direct
their character towards him and talk to him After that, a cutscene
will be shown and a battle against him and Farid will begin. If
Freed kills the avatar during the fight, he tells him:
Go back where you came from, because only that place belongs to you.
The reason for this detailed description of the Ashes of Ariandel expansion pack is to point out that said expansion pack constantly tells the player that he It does not belong to this world and its mission is not here. In fact, the point of this expansion pack, if you want to play it to the end, is that you are imposing yourself and your avatar on a world and a mission that does not actually belong to you. The player cannot claim that he/she entered the storyline or wants to expand the story because the pack starts with a conscious choice to do a new mission in a new world and you have to ignore it and kill various characters to reach the end.
This narrative somehow avoids the problems mentioned about add-on packages. To better understand this, think for a moment what buying expansion packs means to a player of a game like Dark Souls or any other game. Regardless of a player's idiosyncratic and individual motivations for purchasing a pack, it's safe to say that anyone who buys expansion packs wants something "more" from the original game, be it more story, more characters, more world, or whatever. However, there is something irrational about this desire on the part of the players. Players are definitely looking for games that are complete in all respects and especially the story. On the other hand, these same people want to experience more of the same game in the form of add-on packages.
Feature The great thing about Ashes of Ariandel is that the game's narrative reflects the player's decision to experience it. The player is trying to take a character designed for a specific, cohesive mission and place him in a new environment that, by definition, could not be part of that specific mission. The avatar, which is a reflection of the player, decides to leave your predetermined mission as an Ashen One and instead take on a completely different mission in a completely different world; The world that is in a work of art is a piece of a painting.
Many of the dialogues of the different characters in the package
are also a reflection of the player's decision. The player must
hear his reflection in Wilhelm's words and know that, as Fried
says, he has really gone out of his way and entered a world that
has nothing to do with him. This union of player and avatar, along
with its narrative as an expansion pack, culminates in the long
walk through the church hall to Father Ariandel. If the player is
paying full attention to the game, he is fully aware that he has
chosen to ignore the words of the characters.
Thus, FramSoftware, in a way, blames the player for common problems. Prevents add-on packages. The Dark Souls 3 expansion pack tells the story of a world that it claims has nothing to do with the story of the main game, and the actions of the character who decided to ignore it and enter a different world instead of moving towards his main goal, is no longer a problem. It is not firmware. In other words, by pointing out that the player himself decided to buy and experience the mentioned package despite the problems of the add-on packages, this studio solves the problems mentioned about the packages in a way. On the other hand, it seems that Framsofter has used its method to make add-on packages not only in Dark Souls 3, but also in The Old Hunters package of Bloodborne game, but somehow changed the implementation method to be compatible with the themes of the game.
The Old Hunters expansion pack/Bloodborne game
Bloodborne is so story-wise And it is a rich and complete philosophy for which there is no justification in the first place to provide an additional package. In fact, the main narrative of the game is complete in terms of internal coherence as a story that revolves around a cycle. A narrative where it doesn't matter which ending the player chooses, as they can never escape the Bloodborne dream or have any knowledge of anything beyond it. Of course, if there is an external world!
This is the reason why the game never needs a sequel or an expansion pack. However, like Ashes of Ariandel, The Old Hunters pack defies those reasons. The difference between the two is that while "Ashes of Ariandel" developed its narrative in terms of imposition, invasion and defection, "Old Hunters" built it based on curiosity and the limits of our understanding.
The Old Hunters expansion pack takes place in The Hunter's Nightmare region; A seemingly inaccessible part of the Bloodborne world that the player can enter by obtaining the Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter item and using it is the Hunter's Nightmare area. When the player gets there, he can secrets Discover various things about the origin of The Healing Church in the game world. There he witnesses the terrifying beast that Ludwig, the first hunter of the church, has become. He also observes the results of the Church's secret and mostly unsuccessful experiments to turn humans into the Great Ones as beings devoid of understanding of humanity and responsible for the insanity in the game. Finally, he meets one of the elders. caption-text">As the first Hunter of the Healing Church, Ludwig is considered one of the toughest in the game.
The Hunter's Nightmare is a realm for hunters gone mad. The player and his avatar are guided in this area by one of the surviving hunters with some sense and logic, Simon the Harrowed. At the beginning of the zone, he warns the Avatar to turn back unless he's into nightmares. The player can answer that they are not interested or call them attractive. Although the player can roam alone, it is only in the latter mode that Simon continues to guide him. So Simon kind of shapes the tone of this expansion pack like the characters in the Dark Souls 3 expansion pack. However, the difference here revolves around the player's curiosity.
Game Avatar Examining Lady Maria's Corpse
So, if the player chooses to go ahead with this expansion pack, they can be considered curious, and in fact, this pack is the player's choice for exactly that reason. Curiosity punishes. First, after visiting the church's experimental facility, the player encounters an apparently dead hunter lying on a chair at the end of the clock tower. This is the character of Lady Maria. The introduction to this fight is remarkably similar to the introduction to the fight with Sister Farid and Father Ariandel; In both cases, the player must approach the boss slowly.
In the case of Maria, the player character must inspect her
corpse. He then gets up from his chair and says that a corpse is
better left alone and untouched. He goes on to somehow hint at the
allure of secrets and finally tells the player that only an honest
death will free him from his wild curiosity.
Next, while the player is investigating the Fishing Hamlet area,
he is attacked by a church-imprisoned assassin named Brador and
tries to kill his avatar. Whenever Bradur kills the player
character, he states that unending death awaits those who venture
into the unknown. In fact, both Lady Maria and Brador present the
expansion pack's story as the player's hard work through countless
deaths and finally satisfying his curiosity for secrets that are
not meant to be revealed.
One of the elders named Orphan of Kos, which is the final boss of the expansion pack .
In a general sense, The Old Hunters expansion pack justifies its existence in the same way that Ashes of Ariandel did. This expansion pack tells the story of the player and their avatar trying to get something they shouldn't expect the game to provide. However, as mentioned, the details of How this story is told are different, as the storytelling of Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne are very different.
In The Old Hunters, the story reflects the player's willingness to answer questions. No answer is a game. This is coupled with the fact that the answers the player is looking for are often beyond their grasp. The aforementioned expansion pack does this in a convoluted way, promising that Nightmare Hunter has secrets to uncover, but what the player discovers only leads to more questions and shows that the player's curiosity has been somewhat satisfied. On the other hand, the explanations provided in the package seem sufficient. features Maria and The Doll; A character who guides the player through the main story. These characters look identical and even have the same voice acting, and when the player kills Lady Maria, the doll expresses a sense of liberation. However, the exact nature of the relationships between these characters and even the ancient hunters is not explained. Most importantly, the pack ends with a battle with one of the Elders that is impossible for humans to understand.
Finally, the end of the pack specifically mentions the fact that even if the player could learn the entire history of the hunters And even if the healing church were to analyze the obscure points he understood, he would still find no understanding of the Elders as the context of the horror and drive of Bloodborne's story. Therefore, the mentioned add-on package played the player's curiosity by referring to some explanations about the elements of the story and at the same time It emphasizes that the elders and the nature of the game are completely outside the framework of human understanding. The player can understand that the Orphan of Kos has cursed the hunters who researched the mutant villagers of the Fishing Hamlet area, but cannot understand his own reality.
The world of The Hunter's Nightmare is exactly the same as Ariandel is separate from Dark Souls 3, it is not separate from the main world of Bloodborne, but it is of the same nature. It is assumed that the player who finished Bloodborne was looking for more content and bought the expansion pack, however this pack may have given him something new on paper, but in the end it made the player curious again and Lack of complete knowledge of the game world. Just as in Ashes of Ariandel we see a story separate from the game based on the player's irrational decision to somehow want more from the game, in The Old Hunters we see the curious player trying to explore a world that is beyond his understanding. And it will end up confusing him more than before.
The problems with add-on packs are not easily overcome, and some that only promise additional story content face serious challenges. However, FromSoftware studio has managed to develop packages such as Ashes of Ariandel and The Old Hunters, in which not only is the story deep and engaging, but it can only be reviewed as an add-on package. These packages state that it is strange to want more content than a world that is complete, and in this way they somehow justify their existence.
Source: With A Terrible Fate