Bethesda's Todd Howard has shed a little more light on the ever-fascinating topic of Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim DLC, reiterating that packs will be fewer but more substantial, and suggesting that some of them may be available for free.
"For Fallout 3 we did five DLCs," Howard told Kotaku last week at the DICE summit. "That was a very aggressive path for us. Our plan now is to take more time, to have more meat on them [for Skyrim]. They'll feel closer to an expansion pack."
While he wouldn't outright commit to the idea, Howard implied that Skyrim might receive less DLC than certain past Bethesda projects. "With Fallout 3, it was, '10 dollars is the sweet spot for us and we know we want to put out five of them'. And we had overlapping teams. We were coming off Fallout 3 and right back in.
"Because that gap is going to be bigger, we want to put little things out for free in between. We've already done that for PC with the high-res pack. We're trying to figure out what those things are."
Bethesda has already released several Skyrim patches, and PC users have access to a rich modding community, the jammy devils. "We knew before release that we were going to support it in a larger way, with lots of updates every month. We knew we wanted to do more stuff to bring mods to people."
DLC content may extend beyond additional areas, items and quests to new gameplay features and rebalanced mechanics. "So I think we had more of a plan and thought process of 'We want to make the game better after it's out.' We don't know what that means yet. People will tell us. But maybe we want to rebalance it.
"Maybe we want to add some features and patch them in, whereas in previous games, like Oblivion or Fallout 3, our thinking was just to patch it, fix the big problems. Our bandwidth at that time was that we needed to work on Skyrim. But now, with the game's popularity, we really want to do all that stuff."
Howard also discussed the legendary Skyrim Game Jam video, reposted below. "There are definitely things in there that we are planning on exploring. It looks like a ton of stuff that could ship right now, but it's in a sizzle video. It's, you know, it's not bug-tested, polished, balanced."
Mouth-watering as ever, Todd.
Enterprising explorers have discovered scaled-down versions of Morrowind and Cyrodiil regions off Skyrim's borders - created for spectacle's sake, according to Howard, but possible staging grounds for DLC. The game's first two DLC packs are timed Xbox 360 exclusives.