I have a gaming dilemma.  I want to play a new playthrough of Dishonored that takes advantage of Corvo's assassination arsenal as opposed to my initial stealth based tactics.  Back on October 9, 2012 I bought Dishonored on day one from Gamestop for $60 (plus tax) and for my preorder I was granted a few in-game bonus items as well as a pack of real life Dishonored themed tarot cards.  I played the game immediately (but I never opened the tarot card) and thoroughly enjoyed my fall spent in Dunwall. 

The GOTY graphic art cover is my preference but it reminds me that we hardly get to see the mask in the game. 

My dilemma is a classic gamer quandary.  I already spent $60 on the base game but I have purchased none of the DLC.  This past week a Game Of The Year edition was announced for Dishonored and as a Bethesda published title I doubt that many of us were surprised.   The GOTY edition includes the base game, all of the later released DLC, one of the digital in-game bonus packs that was originally attained at the game's release with a preorder, and the swag of a double sided poster.  The question remains, is the game worth the $40 pickup for another playthrough? 

Of course, we can calculate the pros and cons of this potential purchase with "gamer math."  I can trade in my original copy of Dishonored towards the new purchase for roughly $5 in store credit, I can wait for the DLC to go on sale again for individual buys for about half of the cost of GOTY edition's $40 day one price, or I can wait for the inevitable price drop of the GOTY edition to about $20 in a few months.  Certainly, I recognize the reasoning in rereleasing the game as a value bundle that easily allows newcomers into the budding franchise.    

For my money spending decisions, release day prices are only deemed acceptable if I play the game immediately upon purchase because the premium price is for the privilege to play the game "now."  Similar to many of us gamers, I have a backlog which includes unopened games that I was either gifted or bought due to an irresistible sale.  My "not yet played whatsoever" games include Portal 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Fallout: New Vegas, Crysis 2 and Alan Wake.  I am not without games to play and with game price drops a foregone conclusion day one purchases are my opportunity to play the game while it is generating the most buzz.  Still, do I wait on the Dishonored GOTY edition for my second playthrough?

This dilemma made me consider my relationship with DLC.  With the countdown ticking on my Xbox 360's lifespan as supported by Microsoft I am suddenly even more hesitant to commit to digital purchases scared at the concept that when the servers are closed so is my game access. 

Yet, DLC offerings have only grown.  Forcing us gamers to act as amateur fortune tellers and pseudo economists weighing the opportunity to play the game at this very second (but will we?) versus a guaranteed price drop (except for Call Of Duty) in the months after release.   DLC is constantly remixed in order to provide us gamers with the most opportunities to part with our cash.   

Bundling The Game With Unreleased But Substantial DLC

Orange, if there is an orange option that is my pick. 

My latest in failed soothsaying is the announcement of XCOM: Enemy Within which features the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the previously released DLC of mostly character skins, and a substantial expansion that adds powers, items, maps and more to both alien and human forces in the XCOM universe.  On consoles, the expansion releases on November 12, 2013 and is only available for $40 at retail packaged with the original game.   

Naturally, days before the announcement I bought XCOM: EU during a happenstance drop-in at a local Gamestop and I saw the game at the $20 price I was waiting for.  All the DLC released at the time was cosmetic and the latest announcement was Firaxis' successful port of the title to iOS.  I felt satisfied that Firaxis was not pursuing any major expansion but obviously I was wrong.  Now what?  I now owned the game thus I began playing in assessment of whether or not I was interested in XCOM: EW.  As many already knew, I discovered that the game is fantastic and I am hooked.  Given my limited gaming time, I rarely return for another playthrough immediately upon completing a game.  My $20 gave me access to the game now, for the months of September and October, prior to EW's release but as per my gaming habits I will probably not return to XCOM: EU or pursue XCOM: EW until a few unplayed games cycle through my gaming rotation. 

When in doubt, add flames, a lot of flames and always include glowing red eyes.  

On April 23, 2013 Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen released following the original game's May 22, 2012 release.  In this instance, I was the target audience.  Without time or money at the original game's release, I remained intrigued by an RPG I previously ignored.  The lack of a game tying narrative and the time consumed without fast travel kept the game from the growing game stack near my television.  The Dark Arisen expansion provided early adopters a large amount of additional playtime in a new area while releasing a value bundle of "more" game at a cheaper price for newcomers.  The renewed buzz convinced me to play the free demo.  While the demo did not convince me to buy the game, Dragon's Dogma: DA is still buzzing in my ear. 

Game Of The Year/Ultimate Edition

Buy this and your days are filled until the end of time.  Good luck remembering to sleep.  

With exciting DLC released for our favorite games we wait most expectedly for news of a bundle that includes the base game and all of the accompanying DLC.  Most famously, Bethesda continues its tradition of GOTY/Ultimate bundles.  Besides the recently announced Dishonored GOTY edition nearly every recent Bethesda developed and/or published game is reissued with its substantial DLC including Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and the Elder Scrolls franchise from the individual games - Oblivion, Skyrim - to the recently released Elder Scrolls Anthology.  Missing a Bethesda game at launch will pay off later because we all know that the value bundle is coming but the harder question is whether or not we can wait for our turn to play.    

Batman got punched in the face!

Another franchise following this tradition is the latest Batman reboot.  Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City both featured GOTY editions that packaged the extensive DLC with the base game.  While I enjoy the games, the franchises are not "must play" on day one for me and the wait is both a boon to my wallet and an enjoyable experience playing the entire game and its DLC in one playthrough. 

Franchises with a history of providing a GOTY edition, especially when extensive DLC is released, are often beloved by gamers who know that the wait will assuage their wallet's pain. 

No Bundle

Of course, there are the classic franchises that we all want the game bundled with its DLC but the GOTY/Ultimate edition remains our wishful daydreams.

The male-Shep quadruplets make for an eerie cover.  

Finally on December 4, 2012 we got the long awaited Mass Effect trilogy bundle but with no other DLC than the content originally included with the games.  Yes, various releases have included slightly different DLC content but there is no comprehensive bundle of the standalone single player experience.  A few of years ago, I held off my purchase of Mass Effect 2 as long as I could withstand the wait hoping for a game release that included the single player DLC expansions.  No such edition appeared.  After I attained the game, my first DLC and digital gaming content purchase was the DLC, Lair Of The Shadow Broker followed by Arrival.  The need to know what happened next broke down my DLC resistance.  Even today, I have not purchased any Mass Effect 3 DLC wishing upon a star that after I complete a new ME trilogy playthrough that the DLC for ME3 will be bundled and waiting for me.

Do you remember that we did not begin the Assassin's Creed franchise with a double hidden blade?

The Assassin's Creed franchise was my first encounter of DLC that I truly considered purchasing.  As many gamers before and after me, I was stunned to realize that Sequences 12 and 13 were not included in the base game but later released as DLC.  The game menus clearly showed sequences numbered 1-14 but the base game skips from 11 to 14.  My consideration for purchasing the DLC content was delayed with playing franchise catch up wanting to complete Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood before the release of Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

While the Assassin's Creed 3 buzz swelled, on November 14, 2012 Ubisoft released Assassin's Creed: Ezio Trilogy that includes Ezio de Auditore da Firenze's three part story with AC2, AC: Brotherhood, and AC: Revelations.  The missing sequences for AC2 are included but not the single player DLC for AC: Brotherhood and AC: Revelations.  AC: Revelations includes what I consider an integral story plotline buried in a DLC release.  The pay separately plot twist combined with AC franchise burnout resulted in me having little desire to expand my AC experience with individual DLC purchases. With every AC game stacked in my entertainment console the inclusion of the DLC in a bundle would be good reason for me to return to the AC games.  Yet, there is no reason to believe that such an edition is forthcoming.   

The reimagining of a game with its DLC revives short lived games, brings us gamers back for more in long games with even more to do when DLC is included, and steadfastly refuses to include DLC knowing that we will be unable to resist the lure of further experiencing our favorite franchise.   With the base game previously purchased and played, I may not return to Dishonored until the GOTY edition undergoes a price drop while I play the stack of games awaiting my attention.

Thanks for reading.  My schedule last and this week wreaked havoc on my time to write but I enjoyed squeezing the time in where I can and I hope that you enjoyed the read.

What is your favorite GOTY/Ultimate bundle?

What game have you bought days before a GOTY/Ultimate bundle release?

What game do you want most to release a GOTY/Ultimate bundle?