Season passes are no longer the exception. They’re the norm. If a AAA game is being released, you know there’s going to be some season pass to go with it. Which isn’t too terrible a thing. For people who are interested in the DLC, they often provide a means of getting every add-on at a lower price. Sometimes, you’ll even get advance access to things when you get one. And it isn’t like you have to buy one at launch (usually). You can wait to see if they’re worth the money. They may even go on sale. But in this world where season passes are getting to be acceptable, there are still exceptions.
Watch Dogs 2 has a season pass. Which, after everything we’ve just gone through, makes sense. It’s a AAA Ubisoft game. The problem here is the price. Instead of offering a typical season pass experience, things are going crazy. Instead of charging the $30 you’d expect for such a thing, Ubisoft wants $40 for it. $40 for supplemental content. The worst part is, it doesn’t even seem like extraordinarily meaningful bonuses.
It all starts with two day-one content packs. Which is fine, I suppose. At least that way Watch Dogs 2’s $40 season pass gives you something right away. The problem is, the somethings don’t sound all that great. The Psychedelic Pack basically gives you dayglo clothing, car, drone, and weapon options. That seems like a $2.99 sort of add-on or something included in-game. The Root Access Bundle is marginably better, since it offers multiple outfits, cars, a weapon, a drone skin, and a Zodiac Killer mission, but still. That’s probably $4.99, at best.
The real problem comes with the major Watch Dogs 2 add-ons in this $40 season pass (seriously, $40!). The first T-Bone Content Bundle gives you a new co-op difficulty level, Mayhem, with a new enemy archetype, one Raymond “T-Bone” Kenney outfit, and one T-Bone truck. In most games, a difficulty level is added on as a free update. And a single outfit and car? That’s incredibly disappointing. No Compromise gives you one new world story, involving the Russian Mafia, and one new co-op mode, Showdown, where Dedsec and Prime8 face off. Again, co-op modes are the sort of thing other games give you for free, making the extra story and its missions the thing you’d expect to pay for there. Of the three add-ons, Human Conditions, with its three world stories that are an hour each, a Jammer type of enemy, and an unspecified number of elite co-op missions, sounds like something with real bite to it.
Do you know what the Watch Dogs 2 season pass, which happens to be $40, makes me think? It makes me wonder if Ubisoft saw Bethesda charging $50 for the Fallout 4 season pass and getting away with it. Maybe it thought it could do it too. The problem is, Bethesda’s $50 season pass actually made sense, as it gave you three major story add-ons, Automatron, Far Harbor, and Nuka World, that were each about 3-4 hours long, as well as three Workshop packs, Wasteland, Contraptions, and Vault-Tec, that added substantial amounts of items and gameplay mechanics. It doesn’t sound like Watch Dogs 2’s add-ons are doing that. Especially since Ubisoft is only estimating about an hour of gameplay for each of the four extra world stories. It's disappointing.
Basically, it feels like Ubisoft is asking too much when it prices that Watch Dogs 2 season pass at $40. If it were $30, it’d seem reasonable. Sure, we’d pay that for four new stories, the co-op extra mode and difficulty level that probably should be free updates, some extra missions, and some bonus equipment. But $40 feels like too much these relatively minor additions to a game that’s $60 on its own.