To be honest big Ed, I think the name of this article is a bit of a misnomer. Apart from XCOM and ME, the others weren't so much about how to improve DLC as how to fundamentally change how games are presented to allow more random events that give them more life. Something I am in great agreement with.
Unless of course you are suggesting that monthly changes to Silent Hill and Weekly, even daily festivals et al should be be constantly made available as DLC for ES games, in which case you are essentially talking about microtransactions and turning solid gaming packages into F2P games which is the most horrible thing I have ever heard, especially so for something like Skyrim. You even use a picture here of the classic Horse Armour, which everyone loves to hate, and is very telling of how microtransactions would be received in an ES game.
Also in regard to the ES games, unless the next game is also being set a thousand years in the past, like the MMO, there is no way one will bleed into the other, and I am hugely thankful for that. It's another horrible idea. It might work for Dust, and if it does, then great, but the cornerstone of the ES games is in the huge self contained worlds that allow individual players to craft their own experience from the game they are given. Having that game mold and change in conjunction with what other players are doing in the MMO is horrid.
In principle, the idea is sound, indeed, it is part of how the MMO is actually going to work, or at least, how they WANT it to work. They are planning on not having multiple servers, but rather having one massive open server that can house ALL players at once, and Cyrodiil acts as a huge PvP zone where everyone who adventures there can influence the course of events, from simply completing quests, to ambushing other players, attacking caravans, taking over forts and castles. It all sounds fantastic, and indeed on a larger scale, a non MMO game that is tied to it, or something like it, across Live has intriguing possibilities, but not at the expense of the main single player experience. If the SP game just filtered down into the MMO, not vice versa, that would be OK, I suppose, but largely pointless. They would also have to fundamentally change the nature of the ES singleplayer experience for this to ever even work, gone would be the large, self contained story of the random lone adventurer who changes the fate of the world, and instead you would have an open ended game with no true end in sight, no discernible purpose, no way to cap off your adventure, you would just be a filter for the MMO. That isn't a good thing at all. For the singleplayer ES game, it needs to be what it has always been, a self contained epic adventure.
To bring this back around, I DO think the idea of festivals et al is a sound one for ES games, and I think the ideas for Silent Hill are awesome, but implementing them would be very very difficult in a closed singleplayer experience that can be played offline. For one thing, they would require a constant presence and regular updates from the developers, something that would cost money for no real return. As these are not MMO's there is no recompense, unless, again, you make them F2P games, which, as I've said before, is the worst idea imaginable. Bottom line, it'll never happen as it's not worth the cost. People aren't going to refuse to buy the next ES game just because there wasn't a weekly festival, and no matter how brilliant the ideas for Silent Hill, no one will refuse to buy the next one if they're not implemented. No indeed, people will refuse to buy the next one because the current ones suck donkey balls. Players would be more likely to come back to Silent Hill now if the next game was shown to relive the terrifying brilliance of SH2. If the next game declared that it had a 'living breathing world that changes month to month', I get the feeling it would sound too gimmicky, and people would be sceptical. For something like that to work, you really need a strong core base of players who are pretty much guaranteed to buy your next game, then you can attempt something like this to see if players take to it. I can't see why they wouldn't to be honest, and I think it would work incredibly well, but there is a practical side to applying such inventive methods of game development, and the risk factor would be too high right now, I would think. As for Elder Scrolls, well, the sheer cost in terms of development and man hours put in to constantly update the game with new aesthetic content would be staggering, as much as I think it'd be a cool idea. They would be better served taking the WoW route and picking 4 or 5 big holidays a year, then updating the game to factor them in for a week or 2 at a stretch. You couldn't house and entire years worth of festivals and holiday entertainment, complete with dialogue options et al on the disc, it is waaaaaay too much work and would take far far too much space, plus paying for the VA's to record all that extra dialogue would be expensive, but 4 or 5 a year, that could be done pretty well.
Oh and Bezza, if you're gonna steal my ideas, I totally want credit for them
In truth though, as much as I've been harping on about them implementing a settlement development aspect to the game for, well, years really, as I thought they should do it back in Oblivion with Kvatch (everybody thought that though), and I've been harping on about it since Skyrim was released, I don't think it will ever happen. The reason being is that even though in my mind it plays out brilliantly, Hearthfire has shown that great ideas don't always work out. Granted, I love Hearthfire, but it wasn't perfectly added, it has its share of problems that limit how effective it can be. Now here's the crux of the problem. ES games are RPG's, not RTS games, much more than what Hearthfire has done moves the game away from being an RPG. Now, in principle, I'm not against that, I personally think that RPG's, which for so long have been the games that other genres have borrowed from quite liberally (every genre now has its share of games with XP, missions, questing etc), are the final hold out. They are the one genre that hasn't truly embraced other genres to enhance their value, and they should. Adopting aspects of RTS, simulation games and city builders etc is the way forward, but they need to be careful. Fable adopted some of those aspects and lost its way, it stopped being an RPG. In the Elder Scrolls, a game that begins with being a fully interactive city building RTS, whilst in theory it could be done brilliantly, takes something away from the experience, it dilutes the RPG aspect. As I've already said, the core of the ES game is solo epic adventure, any changes or additions to the gameplay can't change that, and a fully blown RTS which you are forced to play as the core of the adventure does exactly that.
Something like this needs to be in the game as supporting gameplay that isn't essential to the experience. It wouldn't be sensible for Bethesda to do otherwise, they would turn off a lot of people who want to play the RPG who are suddenly faced with an RTS instead. This is one of those ideas that either needs to be a spin off game (risky) DLC (has possibilities) or already in the game, but not essential (best way forward imo), It's also worth noting that, in principle, I don't think this is an idea which WOULDN'T work, I just think that in an ES game, where the core of the game is familiar and dependable, it would be too much of a change. It is the kind of idea that would work for a new IP or, indeed, for a game like Dragon Age that hasn't settled and a single approach yet.
As for XCOM and ME, well, I haven't played XCOM, so I can't really comment, but one thing did strike me with that idea, it would be impossible to govern, if we payed for a pass that basically says 'here's the money, now, for the next 6 months, give us whatever you want', because there are no laws against it in this industry, the developers would have free reign to do as little work as possible, making the pass the most incredible rip off. For this to work, there needs to be industry standards, and someone to govern them (I'm pretty sure I wrote a little article about this once.......).
With ME, I think you have it bang on, for the most part. People don't tend to like games unless they are about people, and then it has to be familiar and acceptable, this is the case for America(ns) in particular as, for some reason, they just don't take to games set in other countries with characters who aren't American all that well. ME could be a different prospect though, as the series is popular and carries a lot of goodwill. Granted that goodwill has been tarnished because of the ending fiasco, but not so much that people wouldn't want to play the next game if they were forced to be a Turian for example.