Driveclub and the Transparency of the Season Pass

When PlayStation 4 showpiece Driveclub was indefinitely delayed after the console’s launch, racing fans were left confused and uncertain of the game’s fate. Now, nearly a year later, Evolution Studios finally seems to have all of its ducks in a row, and plans to release Driveclub on October 7 in North America. With the game polished and ready for release, Evolution has detailed its plans for Driveclub‘s future DLC.

Of course, a big game release wouldn’t be complete without pre-launch DLC announcements. At first glance, this seems like standard fare for a driving game: some new cars, some new tracks, and some new livery packs (paint schemes and decals you can apply to your car to make it look hella cool). The avid racing fan can save over 60% on the DLC by purchasing the Season Pass, a steal at only $24.99. There will also be a few cars and tracks available for free to all Driveclub owners.

It might not seem significant to someone who doesn’t care about cars, but Evolution Studios has actually done something quite unusual: they’ve included a slick infographic which itemizes their DLC plans for the eight months after the launch of Driveclub.

driveclub ps4 dlc graphic

On the sixth month of Driveclub, my true love gave to me…

It’s nice to look at, sure, but it also addresses one of my chief concerns with the entire Season Pass business model: transparency. I’ve always been wary of buying a Season Pass when I didn’t really know what I was getting for my money, or when it was coming. The minor fiasco surrounding Bioshock Infinite‘s Season Pass comes to mind. Fans had to wait over four months after Infinite‘s launch for the first DLC, Clash in the Clouds, which was met with a tepid reception; it wasn’t much more than a handful of arena combat missions. Fans were understandably disappointed, since the Season Pass initially promised “hours of additional gameplay… continue the player’s journey in the sky-city of Columbia with new stories, characters, abilities and weapons.”

The problem I have with Season Passes is the inherent risk in buying most of them. You’re paying up to half of the game’s price again, and you’re not even sure what you’re getting. It’s essentially gambling over a period of months. Consumers deserve transparency, and with their wonderful infographic, that’s exactly what Evolution Studios is giving us. It’s a very specific schedule of what you’re getting for your money and when you’re getting it. Plus, they’re giving players free DLC every month. What’s not to love?

Driveclub is shaping up to be a pretty cool driving game, and the developers seem dedicated to their community, claiming, “We keep saying ‘Driveclub begins on October 7th 2014′ because we don’t know exactly how the game will evolve with each update.” Evolution added that future free updates will add an extensive weather control mode, and an in-game photo mode, both highly requested features.

Obviously a lot of polish has gone into Driveclub. Look how shiny this car is!

Obviously a lot of polish has gone into Driveclub. Look how shiny this car is!

After missing the PlayStation 4’s launch window, an extended period of silence led some to assume Driveclub had been cancelled. Evolution Studios was not discouraged by having to delay, however, and it seems they’ve used the extra year to further shape Driveclub into a great driving experience.

Driveclub releases exclusively for PlayStation 4 on October 7 in North America, October 8 in European countries, and October 10 in the UK.