Earlier today, CVG posted an interview with Dead Space 3 Producer John Calhoun that went into a bit more depth.
Calhoun explained first that the micro-transactions are pretty limited; weapon-crafting resources are the only thing you can buy, and there are only three tiers. Calhoun talked about the thinking behind this decision: Eurogamer talked to Dead Space 3 Associate Producer Yara Khoury about the option and learned that it’s primarily in place for less patient gamers and that the game still requires you to advance to unlock all the different constructions options.
There’s a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions. They’re like “I need this now, I want this now”. They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they’re 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it.
Calhoun also addressed the hardcore players, explaining that there’s nothing you can buy with real money that you can’t earn with in-game resources, saying that “you’ll start to accumulate [resources] at a pretty steady clip throughout the game.”
This calls to mind, for me, the use of Tokens in the Forza series, both Motorsport and Horizon. Anytime you buy a car in Forza, you can choose to use in-game credits or you can purchase tokens using real-world money, in case you’re just starting out but can’t resist that Bugatti Veyron Sport. Each purchase you make allows you to chose between credits or tokens, but the decision doesn’t add any additional button presses to the process and the button to use tokens is not set to the default decision. Further, you end up accumulating credits so quickly that you end up in supercars before you know it and you have the credits to buy even the most expensive vehicles in the line up. Forza’s done a good job keeping micro-transactions from getting in the way of the real game.
It’s often argued that micro-transactions are a dangerous path to travel down, and Calhoun gave CVG his thoughts on that as well.
“We would never make a game where you have to pay to win. There are genres of games where that is the answer, and… The world has spoken, they suck. We don’t want to game games that suck…But we need to make sure we’re expanding our audience as well.”
That last part worries me more than the micro-transactions themselves, the potential compromise of the game’s core, risking the current audience in an attempt to pull in a new one. When Dead Space 3 hits on February 5th, we’ll find out if the micro-transactions and attempts to expand the audience affect the game either way.