Episode 493: Video Games Should Have More Holiday Themed Levels and DLC


Like a lot of you, I’ve been getting into the holiday spirit by absorbing a lot of Christmas themed media. There are the Christmas movies like Elf, which I recently re-watched and reviewed here. There are also the television specials, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. I can’t forget the malls and the radio bombarding listeners with Christmas themed songs like Last Christmas and All I Want for Christmas is You. I mean, those are staples of the holidays so you couldn’t escape them.

All of these other holiday themed specials got me thinking: why don’t more video games have Christmas themes in them during the season? I’m not talking about the typical ice and snow levels you get in some platformers or some level which is set in some icy location. I’m also not referring to being able to dress up your character like Santa Claus or anything like that. I’m talking about a full-blown, honest-to-goodness holiday festive part of a video game!

I’m not saying there haven’t been Christmas themed video games or DLC ever. No, I did look it up and there are some out there. There are things like timed events in the Animal Crossing games. The first Overwatch had a seasonal expansion pack a while back. Even more violent games have gotten into the act with Call of Duty exchanging their bullets with snowballs and Saints Row adding several new missions focusing on your attempt to save Christmas from a monstrous version of Santa Claus. That’s all well and good and I do like how some companies are trying. What I’m saying it’s not enough. There really should be more.

I get why most game companies do refrain from doing this. For one thing, it’s more time, money and effort to be put to a game which has already been out. Also, despite most of the world celebrating the holiday season in their own way, it’s still Christmas and everyone doesn’t really have the same traditions as one another. It can also be alienating to the folks who don’t want to celebrate Christmas so why even bother adding something to a game which can make them feel uncomfortable.

I get all of that. However, let me juxtapose all of that with some counterarguments. There are several reasons why I say more game companies should be putting out holiday themed levels or DLC into their games.

First of all, adding a holiday themed level or DLC to an already existing game has the built-in incentive to actually play it during the proper season. Take the fan-made game Merry Gear Solid and its sequel, Ghosts of Christmas Past. They’re fan-made games which borrow heavily from the Metal Gear Solid games. Unlike the Metal Gear Solid games, however, you don’t play as Solid Snake, at least in the first game. Instead, you play as Santa Claus as he now has to deliver gifts on foot because the Army is on the lookout for flying objects. Jolly old St. Nick has to sneak around the house and deliver the gifts while avoid all the little munchkins who are on the lookout for him. In Merry Gear Solid 2: Ghosts of Christmas Past, you do get to control Metal Gear Solid’s protagonist, Solid Snake, but it pretty much the same thing as the first game.

While the game looks like a lot of fun, I can’t help but think what would a full-fledged, Hideo Kojima helmed Metal Gear Solid Christmas mission would look like! You could have the same base ideas of Merry Gear Solid but using the actual, more modern Metal Gear Solid game as its building blocks! It would be awesome, wouldn’t it? However, the biggest effect I would see if he did put this out is how many Metal Gear Solid fans would break out their old copy of the game and play it each and every Christmas. Everyone has their own Christmas traditions and I bet there would be more than just a few gamers who would play a Christmas themed Metal Gear Solid stage during this time.

Another reason why game companies should make Christmas based DLC is because, well, they do tend to make DLC for their games anyway. Why not make one just for the holidays? If you think about it, it makes a lot of financial sense. It revives an already published game and generates a whole lot of buzz for it again. It’s shines a spotlight on a game that’s supposedly old news. You could say the same thing for any DLC but imagine all the hoopla you’ll get by releasing a Christmas themed mission or level just in time for the holidays? That’s buzz on top of buzz!

Also, since it is the holiday season, more people are generally in the mood for some holiday cheer. So, why not give them what they want? I mean, I already mentioned we all see this with holiday themed movies and television specials. Why do Christmas themed specials feel a little more spectacular? It’s because they come out when people are looking for them! You can watch a movie like Elf or listen to All I Want for Christmas is You any time of the year. No one’s going to stop you. However, it just feels more special when you do watch or listen to them during this most wonderful time of the year.

The same thing can be said for Christmas DLC for video games. Making them revolve around the season and releasing the added stuff during this period makes them feel just a little more special. They’re not just DLC anymore. They’re Christmas themed DLC and they’re coming out just in time to make your holidays feel a little more special.

I can see video game companies and developers simply avoiding Christmas themed DLC for most aesthetic reasons, though. I just think they feel it’ll be too much work and they most likely feel like as if it’ll feel shoehorned in. In a very serious and dour game, they might even think it destroys the overall feel and atmosphere they’ve been trying to develop for the rest of the game. I kind of get that. However, they’ve made really weird and out there DLC content before. I mean, they might make super realistic games like Modern Warfare and Red Dead Redemption but they’re fine with creating zombie DLC for them? Why shouldn’t the same silliness work for Christmas themed DLC?

I know I’m putting this out really late as there isn’t any time for game developers to make Christmas themed levels and DLC content. There’s always next year, though! Here’s hoping Square Enix reads this and Final Fantasy XVI will have something holiday themed once the game is ready!


What other games do you remember have holiday themed levels or DLC in them? What game do you wish had them? Let me know in the comments section below!


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