Being a fan of rolling, nonsense, and the rampant homoerotic gestures of intergalactic regents, I picked up a copy of Beautiful Katamari earlier this week, eager to sink my teeth into the latest installment of one of my favorite series. It was great until it was, y'know, over -- I had completed the game proper in just shy of three hours. Even Me & My Katamari had a longer shelf-life, provided you didn't chuck your PSP out a window in a fit of hatred over the controls. Well, shucks; some games are just short, so I guess them's the breaks. Or is them?
Ol' Major Nelson dropped a notice today on his marketplace round-up which included some of the Beautiful Katamari DLC dropping in Asia, all of which is more than likely to hit our shores in the near future. Four new levels at 200 points a pop will grant you access to create the Milky Way, a space station, Vega and Cetus by rollin' up various brands of junk. That's swell and all, but one wonders: why weren't these in the game as released?
Taking a look at the Japanese Xbox Live Marketplace reveals that the four downloadable levels occupy only 384kb of space per addition on your little ol' hard drive. Whether these files are keys to unlock content already on the disc or actual levels is largely irrelevant; four levels up on Marketplace coinciding with the day of release seems a might suspect. While this is a story we've heard before for numerous other Xbox 360 titles, what makes Beautiful Katamari's situation unique is that the nickle-and-diming microtransaction shenanigans, when entirely unfurled, will likely top out the game's price at a standard sixty bucks, just like any other game.
The original Katamari Damacy's $20 price tag was probably the biggest force in getting copies off of retail shelves -- the logic behind keeping the MSRP as low as possible for the Prince's latest outing on the 360 seems rational, but it's an established series with a ravenous fanbase. If Katamari's success mandates a heftier cost of admission, that's cool, but let's not maintain this charade of budget title status while withholding content, yeah?