According to a (removed) listing on GameStop’s website, Gears of War Ultimate will be hitting shelves come February, and it’s rumoured it will contain both of the esteemed games, alongside a complete set of DLC.

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Hot off the release of the highly anticipated Kane & Lynch 2, IO Interactive has just given us some details concerning three new multiplayer packs coming at the end of the month. The Multiplayer Mask Pack, Alliance Weapon Pack and Doggie Bag Pack will introduce more “tools of the trade” and some brand new heist locations. “Given the history of Kane & Lynch, we expected overwhelming interest, and the initial acclaim solidifies the ever-growing phenomenon and attraction gamers have to the characters and story,” said Niels Jørgensen, general manager of IO Interactive. “And we are proud to be able to extend the experience in the coming weeks with more maps, weapons and toys to heighten the tension and pressure of pulling-off a high profile heist.”

Rockstar Games have recently announced plans to release four additional packs of DLC for the hit western themed game, Red Dead Redemption. The first will be at the beginning of August 2010, with the last being released this autumn. The packs will be released onto both the Xbox Live Marketplace, along with the Playstation Network.

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BioWare has recently announced the release of a brand new Mass Effect 2 add-on, “Overlord”, which is available now for 560 MS Points. They’ve also released a trailer and a few new screens to go along with the new content, which showcases five brand new areas for players to explore and two new achievements. The trailer details “Project Overlord”, a plan to gain influence over the Geth by combining a human mind with a Virtual Intelligence (VI). The new DLC sounds like a pretty interesting new addition and the price doesn’t seem half-bad either. Once all this E3 madness cools down I may have to go ahead and pick this one up, because lord knows I could use some more Mass Effect 2 in my life.

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EA recently released a new trailer announcing the multiplayer expansion pack for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which will bring players to the widespread jungles of Vietnam. The gameplay will surely be familiar to veterans of the franchise, but will bring a host of new weapons and vehicles as you take sides as either the U.S. Marines or North Vietnamese Army. The new expansion will also add enhanced persistence, new unlocks, awards, and achievement. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam will be available for download this winter 2010

In keeping with their promise of more DLC for Mass Effect 2, Bioware has news regarding more coming next week. From their official website: “Other than Collectors abducting colonists? Well, we got tons of awesome updates for you!” Read the full announcement after the jump.

Valve’s take on multiplayer gaming expands just a little bit further with “The Passing” the first in what is anticipated to be a long and continued support for Left 4 Dead 2. This bit of downloadable content may seem a tad miniscule at first, but actually contains quite a bit of longevity and ambition.

The campaign itself is a very short romp with only three chapters as opposed to the four or five that appear standard within the retail release. The fact that it’s so short is a bit of a mystery and really the only major downside, but it doesn’t necessarily take away from its quality. Everything in the new content maintains the same look and feel of any other Left 4 Dead 2 campaign and you’ll feel right at home with the level of playability right off the bat.

One of the major selling points they had for this piece of DLC was the fact that it will finally bring together the survivors from both the original Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Although the story has never really been a significant part of this game, it was nice to see that Valve is at least making an attempt to create a little more depth within the cast of characters. They’ve added a bit more personality in the banter between characters in this campaign, but it’s just too bad that it all falls short of what they’re actually capable of when it comes to the storytelling aspect of this medium.

Despite some interesting moments, the hyped narrative elements disappoint

When the meet up occurs during the final chapter of the campaign, the only thing that people are supposed to be aware of going in is that one of the four original survivors is gone. The revelation of the missing comrade is very anticlimactic and feels much more like a marketing ploy than anything else. It’s a good thing that most people who play the Left 4 Dead games don’t really pay attention to these details anyway. Not at least until Valve decides to present them in a better way.

The real reason that fans will be enjoying this new add-on for many months to come will be because of the new “Mutations” that Valve is slated to release on a weekly basis. These new modes will consist of variations on already existing game modes as well as some brand new ones entirely. “Realism Versus” is the first to kick off the events and will continue swapping out with others such as “Chainsaw Massacre” which equips all players with chainsaws and an unlimited supply of gasoline. There are currently over 20 of these Mutations planned and will be playable on all Left 4 Dead 2 campaigns.

Weekly polls will be held in the games menu to figure out which Mutations are most popular and to determine which ones will be thrown back into the weekly rotation. When it comes to DLC not a lot of developers seem to get it right by giving you something that will keep you coming back week after week. They’ll end up giving fans short additions to a storyline or extra maps that will become boring after a while, but Valve seems to have figured out the perfect formula to keep you playing their game for as long as they can support it.

So is this DLC worth the seven bucks, or 560 MS Points, they’re asking? Absolutely. You’ll acquire a brand new campaign with the same amount of sheen as the rest of the game, as well as a new golf club melee weapon and an extremely powerful M-60 machine gun. Sure, the new campaign is short but you won’t be complaining once you step into those DLC exclusive Mutations week after week, which is reason enough for you to grab this add-on as soon as you can.

In an attempt to cover their behinds, GAME has introduced warning stickers on pre-owned games, informing buyers that they won’t receive new game DLC bonuses.

If you purchased Modern Warfare 2’s latest DLC “Stimulus Package” on the first day it came out, then there is some good news for you. Microsoft have decided to reward these customers by adding an extra 7 days to their Xbox Live Gold membership for free.

BioWare has released information regarding the upcoming DLC for Mass Effect 2, named ‘Kasumi’s Stolen Memory.’ The DLC will cost 560 Microsoft Points for the 360, and 560 BioWare points on PC, which is roughly the same cost. Kasumi is set to be one of the most intriguing characters in Mass Effect history, and has been named “the galaxy’s most enigmatic thief.”

Expected release date, 6th April.

According to Matias Myllyrinne, managing director of Remedy Entertainment, Alan Wake’s DLC support will depend entirely on how the game is received. It has already been revealed that Remedy plan to support the games episodic nature with future DLC packs, but the quantity of these packs are purely controlled by how successful the game actually is.

Mass Effect 2’s project director, Casey Hudson, demoed a bit of a newly announced DLC entitled “Kasumi’s Stolen Memory” at GDC yesterday. The new content features a brand new recruit — a space rogue — named Kasumi who has a penchant for collecting rare artifacts.

With the amount of DLC that is available for games these days, it can be a little hard to keep track of what it is you’re getting. Some games have multiple costume, map, and mission packs, or some combination of content. When it comes to Resident Evil 5 and DLC, Capcom is trying to make things easier on your sanity and wallet, by releasing the Untold Stories Bundle.

EA has been making sure to make good on their promise to keep the good time rolling with DLC for Mass Effect 2. If you’re a member of the Cerebrus Network, chances are you’ve already downloaded some of the goodies that were made available over the past couple of months. And if you’re tired of playing with those toys, EA has some new hardware for you to obliterate foes with.

Ah, microtransactions…the bane of my online existence. The word itself has gone from at least sounding innocent enough to what is quickly becoming one of the dirtiest words in gaming’s vocabulary.

I haven’t always hated microtransactions. Prior to some recent experiences which have all but killed them in my eyes, I thought rather highly of them. Perhaps I was a bit naïve in that respect. I used to think that developers would use them to extend the life of their games for several months after their release.  Back then, I was mostly right. The microtransactions of a few years ago weren’t what they are now. Let’s use Project Gotham Racing 2 on the original Xbox as an example. This title alone had a couple of downloadable packs that added more vehicles and tracks for five dollars. Now, I’ve never had a problem with content like this and I still don’t to this day because I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was when Capcom released Mega Man 9 to the Xbox Live Arcade. There’s nothing wrong with the game itself but Capcom’s handling of its microtransactions is utterly deplorable. To further augment the core game, Capcom has seen fit to add five downloadable add-ons to the Xbox Live Marketplace in a span of less than a month.  These range from the ability to play as Proto Man to extra difficulty levels. All are the same size (108 KB), indicating they are nothing more than patches. What could this mean? To put it simply, Capcom is forcing you to pay extra to access content that’s already in the game. Well, at least the price is right…right? Nope, sorry. If you were to buy each of these add on packs, you’d be paying an added eight dollars (640 MS points) on top of what the game costs bringing you to a grand total of $18 (1440 MS points). I can’t be the only person that thinks there is something seriously wrong with this.

In addition, Namco-Bandai has finally decided to release the Darth Vader character, previously exclusive to Playstation 3, to owners of Soul Calibur IV on the Xbox 360. Obviously, since I’m talking about it, they weren’t generous enough to release it for free. So, how much does the privilege to enact epic Yoda versus Darth Vader lightsaber duels cost? Five dollars. Five dollars for one character? This does not sound like a very desirable deal. If there were perhaps a few more characters added, maybe some new weapons, then the package would have been appealing.  Five dollars is just too much to ask.

I understand full well that development costs have risen with the new generation of consoles and that developers have to find new ways to eke a few more dollars out of their games after launch if they wish to make a profit. Making money in this highly competitive industry isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. Time and time again, games such as Psychonauts have proven that even spectacular games can be overlooked and cast aside in favor of the latest Grand Theft Auto or Halo.  I do understand that developers may need microtransactions to make ends meet. The primary issue is that the aforementioned examples are the wrong way to do so.

I applaud developers that take time to develop meaningful expansions to their games after release to keep their fans coming back. Turn 10 is a perfect example of a developer that gets microtransactions right. Their handling of the Forza Motorsport 2 DLC has been excellent thus far. Turn 10 has released a steady stream of content for their fans that feel like proper expansions of the core game, instead of something that feels as if it was taken out of the game just so they could charge you for it later. I’ve never frowned at paying for the Forza 2 DLC because the content is worth it in my eyes, something I rarely see in DLC these days.

Many people may say that $5 (or less in many cases) is a small price to pay for extra content for a game and I agree. My gripe isn’t with the price itself; it’s what we, the gamers, receive for that price. I don’t like paying for content that’s already in the game, I don’t want to pay for one character in a game and I certainly don’t enjoy feeling like I’ve been ripped off. The crux of the problem is the gaming community at large still eats this stuff up, blind to how badly they’re getting screwed. Because of this, all of the sordid trends I mentioned will continue (and will likely escalate) until we start speaking with our wallets.

Look at the Battlefield: Bad Company DLC weapon debacle for a great example. When EA revealed its plans to charge for individual weapons that were then exclusive to the “Gold Edition” of the game, gamers balked en masse, some even threatened boycotts of the game and EA as a whole. So, what became of all of this? EA quickly dropped their earlier plans to appease the gaming community. This isn’t rocket science, people. Here we have clear evidence that developers do listen to complaints — all you have to do is express your distaste.

I’m not meaning to start some sort of gamers’ revolt here. What I’m trying to do is reach out to developers and show them that people are not happy with this. If microtransactions like these are allowed to continue and grow, I predict a slow and agonizing death of the videogame industry as we know it. Perhaps many of you are thinking my prediction is melodramatic and a gross exaggeration.  But ask yourselves this, “Do we really want current standards for DLC to stay as they are?”

Developers, when you’re marketing your games and crafting your DLC, keep in mind that you’re not just selling a product to your consumers; you’re building a relationship with them. Don’t be so quick to sully that relationship.