Ten Music Game DLC Releases That Stirred Up Controversy

Apr 23, 2012 at 6:22 am
Never heard of Hautewerk? You're not alone. Fans of the Rock Band video game franchise were perplexed when the Orange County band received a DLC release in 2008.
Never heard of Hautewerk? You're not alone. Fans of the Rock Band video game franchise were perplexed when the Orange County band received a DLC release in 2008.

It's not hyperbole to say that downloadable content sparked a huge revolution in console video gaming. Expansions prolonged replay value of many titles, especially music games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

The Rock Band franchise in particular has produced an impressive amount of downloadable content since it burst on the scene in 2007. Heck, "impressive" may be an understatement: Including the user-driven Rock Band Network, well over 3,000 songs have been released thus far. With so many tunes in the pipeline, it's not surprising that weekly releases receive both adulation and fierce criticism. For instance, the recent release of four songs from P!nk was well-received by the singer's fans and panned by her critics.

That's not abnormal: Everybody, after all, has an opinion on what constitutes good music. But some DLC releases have been especially controversial. Some weeks featured an especially divisive singer or group. Other times technical glitches evoked immense wrath. And then there were weeks that featured bewilderingly unknown bands.

There's a lot of ground to cover, but here are 10 controversial DLC releases of the last few years:

10. "Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden (Cover) - January 8, 2008 [Rock Band]

It wasn't that long ago that most music games mainly featured covers of popular songs. And not all of them turned out that great, such as the above cover of Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast." For one thing, it's almost impossible to emulate Bruce Dickinson. And it also doesn't help it's very, very difficult for a vocalist to get past the iconic scream at the beginning of the song.

Thankfully, Harmonix released the original version of "Number of the Beast" in 2009 along with 11 other Iron Maiden songs. That week would probably land on the "Best DLC Releases of All Time" list, primarily because of the overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans.

9. Pantera Track Pack - January 14, 2009 [Rock Revolution]

While there's been plenty of debate over whether Guitar Hero or Rock Band is a superior franchise, most folks agree that music games made by companies other than Activision or Harmonix have been absolutely terrible. Such was the case for Rock Revolution, an abysmal title released by Konami in 2008. In addition to possessing messy gameplay and an awful visual composition, Rock Revolution featured a cover-heavy soundtrack at a time music games were gravitating toward using original songs.

For some reason Rock Revolution managed to land a five-pack with covers of Pantera songs, including "I'm Broken" and "Five Minutes Alone." And like the previous entry, the covers were just not up to par as the originals. This was especially frustrating to fans of the two more popular titles, who were probably wondering why such a substandard game was getting songs from a highly-requested artist.

Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band eventually got songs from Pantera though, providing an excellent excuse to use Rock Revolution as a Frisbee.

8. European Track Packs [Guitar Hero]

While the Guitar Hero series didn't produce as much DLC as Rock Band, Activision often released some quality selections. Even the mighty Rock Band, for instance, doesn't have songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Which is a shame, because such tunes are great fare for more casual fans.

But at a time when Rock Band was pumping out anywhere from three to twelve songs a week, Guitar Hero in 2009 almost always put out three packs. And with the quantity so low, it became perplexing to some that Activision released so many European track packs. Many of the packs featured bands that had almost no recognition in America. The week of June 11, 2009, for instance, featured the sixth European Track Pack going up against the aforementioned Iron Maiden 12-pack. Even though Guitar Hero sold better in its heyday, this was the type of pattern that showcased Rock Band's edge in the DLC department.

Interestingly, Harmonix is now only putting out three or four songs every week to support Rock Band 3. Of course Activision stopped releasing DLC for Guitar Hero some time ago, so such output is obviously better than nothing.

7. "Still Alive" by GLaDOS - April 1, 2008 [Rock Band]

Speaking of DLC output, many Rock Band fans in the late 2000s were accustomed to weeks with lots and lots of songs. So some weren't exactly thrilled when it was revealed that the closing tune from Portal would be the only song released for the week of April 1, 2008.

The upside though was that "Still Alive" cost gamers absolutely nothing. And that meant it was commonly one of most downloaded songs in Rock Band history. Which is a good thing - because there's no such thing as too much Jonathan Coulton.

6. "Last Resort" by Papa Roach - March 17, 2009 [Rock Band]

With enough early-2000s nostalgia to kill a yak, it's no wonder that Rock Band fans were eagerly awaiting "Last Resort" to be released as downloadable content. But when people started downloading the song, they immediately realized that it was completely different from the original. And while it's not completely unusual for Rock Band to offer up alternate versions, this one was almost universally seen as much worse than the original version that defined high school for so many millennials.

The only saving grace of this messy situation is that Harmonix unveiled a song from another insect-themed band - "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm - a couple of months later.