THQ's latest MX vs ATV is looking to shake things up with the next entry in the series set to come out this May for just $40 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The smaller price point brings with it a big downloadable content plan that will see anywhere from $50 to $100 worth of extra content -- free and paid -- over the next couple of years until the next game in the series is released.
I told Danny Bilson, THQ's VP of Core Games, that people are going to assume the worst with this and think that this is just a way of nickel-and-diming the audience. Danny went on to tell me that that's not the case as this MX is "a better game [than the last one]."
"If you looked at all the content that was in the last game, and we data mined how people played it, everything that everybody played is in the $40 game, but better. I think what we’re doing is getting the game to more people and giving them the opportunity to spend what they want on it and basically giving them a better value."
As for the game itself, THQ didn't have a playable version of Alive available, but they talked about improvements and some new features.
For the first time in the series, THQ is putting a real athlete on the cover of the game with multi-time champion James Stewart. James won't just be a pretty face hidden behind a helmet on the boxart. He's actually involved in Alive and is giving input on the development of the game.
Another first for the series is the new role-playing element revolving around your riders. Basically, the more you play against the AI, multiplayer or even constantly suck and get last place, the better stuff you'll be able to unlock. All your playtime will actually account for something.
As for the improved stuff, the terrain deformation -- where the ground changes every time you race -- is back and better than before. The "Reflex" controls of the last game have been improved to be more accessible. The fighting system where you can beat on other riders has been upgraded and plays a bigger part in the races too.
Back to the pricing of the game, the developers on Alive wanted to stress again that it will be a fully $60 product for $40. The developers don't want to just shove content in that not everyone would want or use. For those of you that do though, you can expect new content every week for months on end revolving around gear, new tracks, new events, modes and more.
I'm really looking forward to seeing if THQ's experiment works here. I don't see this strategy applicable for every type of game out there, but it's a good start with something like MX vs ATV Alive. Using this strategy, they're able to put out the game sooner than later and people that want more will have that option.