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Official Comment on Pre-Order exclusives and DLCs

Jack Lusted CAJack Lusted CA Creative AssemblyPosts: 851CA Staff Mods, CA Staff
edited March 2012 in The Archive
With the pre-order for Fall of the Samurai just announced and the Blood Pack released just before Christmas, there’s been plenty of debate in the community recently as to the whys and wherefores of pre-order incentives and DLC.

For some nuts and bolts answers, I put the more commonly asked questions to Rob Bartholomew, Total War Brand Director:

Why are there pre-order incentives?

Having a customer express an interest in a game before it is released is commercially important to publishers and retailers. It basically helps us budget and plan more accurately for the release of a game.

Placing a pre-order with your favoured retailer is a confirmation of that interest and it’s only fair to offer up a bonus thank-you to those gamers who put their money down early or with specific retailers.

Why, for FotS, can I only get one of the extra factions unless I buy the game three times?

There has to be some exclusivity involved for a pre-order incentive to work for us, the retailer and the customer. As you may have seen in the past, over time it is possible that exclusive pre-order content becomes widely available as DLC.

Isn’t this just a blatant money-grabbing move to make more profits? Don’t you make enough already?

Well, we are a business, and as you may have seen, many developers are finding it really tough to survive right now. A lot of the money we make goes into the production of our next Total War title. As we’ve shown over many years, we invest our money and passion into developing Total War games, and we try our best to get the balance right between commercial pressures and what we and our fans love. We have over 100 skilled and passionate staff here at CA working on Total War at any one time and that’s surprisingly expensive. Pre-order incentives are just part of our marketing costs rather than being directly profitable in themselves.


Why did you cut out 3 clans from the playable clan list just to make them pre-order only?

We do not cut game content for pre-order incentives. If we didn’t do pre-order incentives, these clans would not have been made. The fact that we can attach a direct promotional benefit to pre-order incentives means that we can justify spending studio time and budget on creating them.

The six main playable clans in FotS are all the major players in the Boshin war: Choshu, Satsuma, Tosa, Aizu, Nagaoka and Jozai.

Why is FotS £25 and not a £10 DLC?

As you can guess, pricing is complex and affected by many different factors, but the main one we care about here is that FotS is a significant Total War title, with a huge number of new features, and is much bigger in terms of new content than RoTS. In fact, Fall of the Samurai took more than seven times the effort to make than Rise of the Samurai. FotS is almost equivalent, in terms of size, content and play-time, to Shogun 2 – in itself a full-priced release.

Why do you make DLCs?


Essentially, we make DLC for the same reason we make full titles. We believe we make the best strategy games in the world and by constantly innovating and adding more interesting and fun content, we can continue to do that.

If you love a game, the chances are good that you might like to continue playing it with new areas, game modes, tweaks, characters, content and anything else that expands out the main game experience. The rise of digital distribution means that developers can offer up all sorts and scales of DLC so gamers can pick and choose what they fancy, and it’s turned out to be hugely popular.


Isn’t it just cut content?

No. DLC content is worked on in its own time and under its own budget. We couldn’t possibly make it otherwise. There has to be an end-point at which you finish and release a main game. DLC is a way for us to add extra content that we couldn’t fit into the original game’s time and budget.

It’s obviously up to the individual who pays for it as to whether they believe the content is worth it to them, and of course we’re really keen to make sure it is. But at no point is it valid to say that any content we charge for has been somehow held back from the main game. We simply couldn’t balance the books that way because a game would be more costly and take longer to make.

Anyone who’s worked in a job which has a pre-determined schedule for a set amount of work will be pretty familiar with the situation. You wouldn’t miss your deadline because you’re doing more work and hand it in a year later; you’d be shown the door pretty quickly.

Even for something as seemingly straightforward as the recent Blood Pack, it takes time and money to produce, test and integrate into the game. Total War is a large and complex game, and even the smallest DLC takes a dedicated team to produce. The Blood Pack required new animations, particle effects, sprites, and dedicated code to trigger all these actions and effects. It was by no means a small endeavour. And for various reasons the content wasn’t within the scope and budget of the original game; it would affect the age rating of the main game for example, which would have meant denying Shogun 2 to huge number of players under the age of 18. Building it after launch and releasing it as DLC gives us the opportunity to enhance the game after release, while keeping the core game available to a large number of fans.

Don’t the number of DLCs put off customers and hurt your sales?

We’ve yet to see it have anything like a negative effect on sales… quite the opposite.
It’s important to add that none of the DLCs are required to enjoy the main game, we believe they should always enhance the experience rather than be some sort of ‘I-win’ button, or offer a feature that can’t practically be done without (though personally I don’t actually like starting a new game of S2 without the Hattori, something about that start position…).

Are we going to keep getting more DLC?

We’d love to do more, for all titles, and the team has more ideas than SEGA could ever possibly let us put into production. Yes we’re a business, but all our games are very much a labour of love and the chance to revisit them and add new stuff is still exciting and inspiring (even after all that time spent making them in the first place).
In these economically challenging times, and with the continuing rising cost of game development, The Creative Assembly is in the great position of being able to continue making and expanding on award-winning games.
If you enjoy what we do, then thank you very much for allowing us to entertain you.
New Content Team Director

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed here are those of the poster and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Creative Assembly or SEGA.
Post edited by Jack Lusted CA on
«13

Comments

  • DenmarkRulesDenmarkRules Senior Member Behind you :OPosts: 3,192Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Ah this is why I love CA. When we ask something from the community we actually get a response. Thanks a lot Mark and Rob.
    "The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you if you just lower your expectations."

    TOTAL WAR FORUM: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • HeirofAlexanderHeirofAlexander Senior Member Posts: 1,088Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Very nice of you to answer the questions people ask.

    And btw ofcourse you make the best games in the world :D
  • lordmaximus77lordmaximus77 Technical Moderator Leeuwarden, NLPosts: 3,063Registered Users, Moderators, Tech Moderators
    edited January 2012
    Great post Jack!

    It's a detailed and honest explanation of how things work.

    And I agree: You guys do make the best strategy games in the world! :)
    Any fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

    viri non urinat in ventum — Anonymous Roman

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  • Emperor BassoEmperor Basso Senior Member Posts: 243Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I call this one of the most professional things in the world. People get complains/questions and you just solve/answer them. Perfect! Many companies could learn from this.
  • King RufusKing Rufus Senior Member HispaniaPosts: 1,626Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I can just but agree with the previous posts. :)
    "Organized chaos is your best friend, as it will always seem as pure chaos to your opponent."

    My entrance into filmmaking. http://www.youtube.com/TripleGTrinity
  • KERAKERA Senior Member Posts: 146Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Thanks Mark and Rob!

    I came to this thread thanks to AKA "Jack Lusted" as he stopped about this " 3 clans pre-order " thread thingy. For many years as even being under 10 of age playing games, i been wondering how a gaming product is function. During my ages onwards as i´m 35 today i know that it´s very harsh and strong hard working place, but also an incredible journy of life experiance and lots of fun. It´s a business and strong competition out there and secretss vs other companies to keep. It´s something we have to face and understand.

    And what i wanted to say that. We customers and fans some time to time are needing getting those words out from you, when ya having free time and energy to do so. It helps us customers and fans for greater understandings. Like in a same way of daily life chatting in the kitchen table at home about one story and another :)

    The explenations of the build up... Is almost the same way strategi and money time and working hours ballance devides by the boss.. at the huge construction area houses/buildings.. Need to be finished at a date to minimize all the orders and survices loans from other companies and banks... It reminds me all this the same concepct thinking when i was working in Norway in huge milion products get all those huge houses up and inside builds. There are always problems and fixings and plans to put on the ice till later etc etc.

    Anyway it´s a huge helping for those who do not clearly understand or those who dont believe in it or to those who are even more intressted in why such things are happening or just being humble more intressted into how a game are being created in a such way etc etc. It will minimize the queastions and answers for sure in threads :)

    Sorry for a long threa here. I dont write much often as am a nice lurker. I havent been home in Sweden for over a month now, am in Germany/Berlin and am still a bet confused, atleast due to my privet handicap that i have.

    I have always bought all special huge TW collections . For one... that is to support the company, you all CA for your work and dedications and dreams, food and forward new products to the upcoming new TW game :)

    Secound, is that i want to see and try and have a whole completed game satishfaction, as i love history and special units, whatever all those Special biggest collections packs comes in each year :)

    Now to my short queastion. Is it at any time possible for me to buy once again a huge "biggest" collection for FotS like i did with Napoleon in a huge cube box? or that Shogun 2 cube box?

    Or at this release am i forced like i have read a bet in few threads, To play the 3 special clans.. i have to buy the game 3 times?

    6 Playable clans + 3 that can be bought, One from Shop, One from Steam and the third from Sega home page?

    If there wont be a Big Collection buy box that includes all 3. Then a simple answer as NO is ok. Then i buy only 1 of them. The sec answer if it´s not to secret, If i will buy one of those special clans, will those other 2 clans be released as DLC on Steam, and if "yes" Any possible when that will happend? :)

    My thing is that and for many, atleast for those i know. They love to buy buy the biggest release collection box.. to gain all the extra and special things from the start day one and play it.

    I undersand that this is "business" But i really have to say that this start first sale of this FotS day one release... devided into 3 parts, was a bet bad idea,

    Many would accepted an idea of:

    Normal copy of Fots: smallest amount of the price.

    Limited edition of Fots, where the buy can choice wish clan to be included into that box. Maybe at Sega site or Steam?

    And the Biggest Collection edition that brings in Posters, Von duke music, and all the special dlc clans :)

    That is just what i wanted to say in my open thoughts and ideas, and a great thank you for those open words of this threads, it brings us all together into greater understanding and communication.

    I hope some one have energy to read this post and answer me/us on those queastions above. Thanks once again and sorry for a huge post, Today flying back home, wish me luck.. CU and take care everyone, GL on the release CA etc etc... :)

    BR AN.
    I´m one of the happy few whom never bought Rome 2

    BR AN.
  • Jungle RhinoJungle Rhino Senior Member Posts: 287Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    There has to be some exclusivity involved for a pre-order incentive to work for us, the retailer and the customer.

    By us, the retailer and the customer you mean the retailer?

    Exclusivity NEVER benefits the customer - can't see how it benefits you either to be honest. Your retailers should be tripping over themselves to promote and distribute your game becasue it is money for jam - you aren't some unproven indy dev - you have a fanbase and proven trackrecord. Get yourself a new distribution manager because he clearly hasn't negotiated a very good deal for you.

    Other than that I completely agree with everything you've said and I'm thoroughly looking forward to buying FoTS (on release, not preorder) and as much DLC as humanly possible! I love giving you guys money because you make great games :D
  • misterbagginsmisterbaggins Member Posts: 52Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I see that there is a Limited Edition. Is this only limited to the UK? Any chance of A Limited Edition for the US?
  • Dionysius the MightyDionysius the Mighty Senior Member Posts: 3,194Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Nice info there Jack, although there is one follow up question that I and many others would like you to ask;

    When, if ever, are we likely to see the missing Napoleon Total War units released?

    Currently NTW players are missing between two and eight units that were Napoleon's pre order incentives. These units require pretty much zero development work because they already exist, they just need to be bundled into a pack like ETW's Special Forces and Pre Order DLC. I know a lot of people are uneasy about pre ordering Fall of the Samurai because of their experience of Napoleon's unreleased pre order content, certainly for me, the thought that the content I don't choose now will never be available again actually makes my choice of which to get a lot harder.
    [PORTABLE-ID]dionysiusthemighty[/PORTABLE-ID]

    "Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end." ~ Field Marshal Haig, order to British troops, 1918

    Please view the Total War Forum: Terms and Conditions
  • JMaszkJMaszk Senior Member Posts: 1,297Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Thanks CA for making the best games ever. My oldest son is always asking me what my favorite game is, and I play a lot of different games. My answer is always Total War!! ;)
    I AM TOTAL WAR!!

    Thunder & Death are but a mere understatement...a footnote really...

    War brings us closer...the clash of swords...the serrinade of the musket...and the sweet aroma of napalm in the morning.

    "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ***...and I'm all out of bubble gum";)

    "Chuck Norris's monitor has no glare...nothing glares at Chuck Norris and lives."


    Steam ID: JonFett \ |Takeda| Tada Mitsuyori

  • irish437irish437 Senior Member Posts: 151Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I have no problem at all with pre-order incentives or DLC as long as I can take out my wallet and buy them all with only having to purchase 1 copy of the game.

    I want CA to make money and produce more games. Just give me a reasonable option to buy all the content available. The inability to get the Napoleon units has left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth. I want to give you my money for the DLC and you won't take it.
  • RumpullpusRumpullpus Senior Member Posts: 1,216Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    By us, the retailer and the customer you mean the retailer?

    Exclusivity NEVER benefits the customer - can't see how it benefits you either to be honest. Your retailers should be tripping over themselves to promote and distribute your game becasue it is money for jam - you aren't some unproven indy dev - you have a fanbase and proven trackrecord. Get yourself a new distribution manager because he clearly hasn't negotiated a very good deal for you.

    Other than that I completely agree with everything you've said and I'm thoroughly looking forward to buying FoTS (on release, not preorder) and as much DLC as humanly possible! I love giving you guys money because you make great games :D

    THIS^

    ofcoruse it wont be a big deal if they are all released as DLC later but as dionysius the mighty has already pointed out CA doesnt have a perfect track record of always doing that. and saying "over time it is possible that exclusive pre-order content becomes widely available as DLC." doesnt exactly boost my confedence that it ever will.
  • SchepelSchepel Senior Member Posts: 1,296Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Thanks for the clear explanation. :-)

    I for one love DLC. The fact it comes at a later date is also a bonus. It keeps the game fresh. I have played the latest CIV over and over again simply because new factions came out, offering a different option each time. So, please, keep it coming.
  • tin.knighttin.knight Senior Member Posts: 111Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Jack,
    i'm OK with this as long as "The Creative Assembly is in the great position of being able to continue making and expanding on award-winning games." Nobody else comes close! nobody does it better!
  • dge1dge1 Moderator Arkansas, USAPosts: 10,242Registered Users, Moderators
    edited January 2012
    Good, informative update. Thanks.
    "The two most common things in the universe are Hydrogen and Stupidity." - Harlan Ellison
    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." - Hubert H. Humphrey
  • Half Life ExpertHalf Life Expert Senior Member Oak Park, CA , USAPosts: 4,564Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Thank you CA for addressing this issue directly, We all really appreciate it!
    "we have officially entered into pre-whinning about our games."- Cogre

    I will always respect differing opinions on here, so long as they are presented maturely and in a civil manner

    "No Battleplan ever survives contact with the enemy"- Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder

    The WWI Thread: https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/30914/why-a-world-war-i-themed-total-war/p1

    I'm skipping TW: Warhammer
  • Valkyria BloodlineValkyria Bloodline Senior Member Posts: 215Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    CA, Shogun 2: Total War is my first CA game I have ever owned. I hope more gaming companies can learn from this, being so truthful, honest and I highly respect that. I will definitely buy more games from you guys because the amount of effort, listening, and asking the community for improvement is vastly superior to many other gaming companies. The improvement; especially, in Shogun 2's MP (I play a lot) is outstanding and while there are room for improvements, I still enjoy it.

    Thank you CA as a first costumer for your product, please keep up the integrity and the great work you guys do!
  • ranknfileranknfile Senior Member Posts: 6,859Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Nice info there Jack, although there is one follow up question that I and many others would like you to ask;

    When, if ever, are we likely to see the missing Napoleon Total War units released?

    Currently NTW players are missing between two and eight units that were Napoleon's pre order incentives. These units require pretty much zero development work because they already exist, they just need to be bundled into a pack like ETW's Special Forces and Pre Order DLC. I know a lot of people are uneasy about pre ordering Fall of the Samurai because of their experience of Napoleon's unreleased pre order content, certainly for me, the thought that the content I don't choose now will never be available again actually makes my choice of which to get a lot harder.

    GOOD MAN DtM! ONCE MORE INTO THE BREECH!

    (keep at 'em mate!)
    "Whoever desires is always poor" - Claudian
  • MartNickV1MartNickV1 Junior Member Posts: 10Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Please refer to 'Dionysius the Mighty' post for my basic thoughts.

    I have been a TW customer from original Shogun days, and will not be buying any new titles or DLC until I am confident that something I buy will have long lasting support and ALL content is available to buy/download. At the moment CA seem to be just interested in the latest new shiny toy (which isn't that great imho).

    Is it that difficult to at least tell people if extra product will ever come out/released for (not so old) titles? Until then my Steam account remains closed to CA.

    Sorry, but that's the way it is.

    A little afterthought.
    Instead of wasting time making 'noddy' christmas screensavers for Shogun 2 couldn't the time have been better spent producing something the customers actually wanted?
  • JacquestheApostateJacquestheApostate Senior Member Posts: 409Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Not having read everybody's post on this thread I will say thanks for the heads up.

    I am sure to pre-order once the original gets crucial fixes in the next patch. Why would I buy a game which could potentially have the same issue's.
    Listen to the people who buy the game!
    MAKE "ATTILA" a GREAT GAME!
    Plug pullers epitomize what a true loser is and always will be!
    Shogun II Avatar Campaign is the most fun I have had with Total War games!
    Gun Cav in Shogun II should have a Retainer!
    Give us another Avatar Campaign!
  • S2totalwarfanS2totalwarfan Senior Member Posts: 153Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    thanks guys really appreciate the response and respect the decisions
    total war titles really are the greatest strategy games and although i would love to be able to have all 3 bonus clans i can live without 2 of them and still hope to get them in a later DLC release
    CA FTW!!
    no good night im going to bed its 1:00 am :)
    The Uesugi Clan is looking for loyal recruits that are willing to fight for the clan in multiplayer battles, to strive for dominance and be the most powerful clan of japan. http://steamcommunity.com/groups/uesugi_clan
  • RyuShinEXRyuShinEX Junior Member Posts: 11Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    release the Battle of Kawagoe as dlc too.
  • RyuShinEXRyuShinEX Junior Member Posts: 11Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    possible to list down the missing unit names?
    Nice info there Jack, although there is one follow up question that I and many others would like you to ask;

    When, if ever, are we likely to see the missing Napoleon Total War units released?

    Currently NTW players are missing between two and eight units that were Napoleon's pre order incentives. These units require pretty much zero development work because they already exist, they just need to be bundled into a pack like ETW's Special Forces and Pre Order DLC. I know a lot of people are uneasy about pre ordering Fall of the Samurai because of their experience of Napoleon's unreleased pre order content, certainly for me, the thought that the content I don't choose now will never be available again actually makes my choice of which to get a lot harder.
  • DenmarkRulesDenmarkRules Senior Member Behind you :OPosts: 3,192Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Pre-order units:
    Scots Grey (Cavalry unit)
    HMS Elephant (ship)
    Towarczys (Cavalry unit)
    Grand Battery of the Convention (Cannon)

    Elite regiments:
    5e Hussards (France)
    8th Life (Prussia)
    47th (Czech) Regiment (Austria)
    88th Foot (Great Britain)
    Pavlograd Hussars (Russia)
    "The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you if you just lower your expectations."

    TOTAL WAR FORUM: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • YoritomoYoritomo Senior Member Posts: 701Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    Interesting explanation.
    One important question was missing:

    Why sell multiplayer-power-boost for money?

    That scratch gamebalance, divide community in those who have DLC powerups and those who haven`t.
    Who want to be competitive in Avatar Multiplayer Conquest, has to buy the powerup DLC.

    The latest patch gladly for Shogun 2 cut it down a bit. Naginata Warriormonk Cav (Capped). Especial retainers like: World Weary, Way of Ikko Ikki, Rennios Teachings.
    Without those power ups, we wouldnt have such a long way of complaining in the forums and no Caps for Loanswords either.
    You want successfully arty camp in deploy zone? Go ahead and get your win.
  • damadman228damadman228 Senior Member Posts: 2,437Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    RyuShinEX wrote: »
    release the Battle of Kawagoe as dlc too.

    I second that!
    This might be helpful for those still playing S2 MP:
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=444087

    Also check out this awesome channel:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/milkandcookiesTW
  • VersionLangleyVersionLangley Senior Member Posts: 164Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    ...we believe they should always enhance the experience rather than be some sort of ‘I-win’ button

    Like Yoritomo said, I have a bit of a problem with this as completely fault, as you do know that every dlc released for shogun 2 has affected the game in significant way that give the "I-win" button to players who bought them.

    Ikko-ikki. the rampage of Loan Sword, then monks cav, yari ash
    Sengoku jidai dlc: the rampage of heavy gunner. Currently gunner cav and Long yari ash simply kill classic MP
    RotS: Very large effect on land battle even now with its dirt cheap supporting units. Huge effect on naval battle that you simply can't win using a standard S2 fleet vs someone who own the RotS dlc.

    Those are the "I-win" button that you give player who bought the dlc now. Those without those dlc simply have no chance to compete in MP. It force players to pay for them, and without it, the original $50 is wasted. Those released dlc mutilated MP and a lot of veterans left Shogun 2 because of them
  • PlutoPluto Banned Posts: 4Banned Users
    edited January 2012
    ,, Heroes of Napoleonic Wars " and pre-order units for Napoleon and the Battle of Kawagoe for Shogun 2 ! CA do it ! :o
  • KERAKERA Senior Member Posts: 146Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I wonder if there are answers still on to know. Many friends and family members of family members and there friends lol. Wanted me to ask this to CA. :)

    Is it possible, or is it allready done in the company Sega-CA and others, that the contract for sales is done and they are allready mass producing it for shiping in a month or so just before March...

    To only sale that normal FotS version with out the "one special clan dlc" And the other box to only get you to those 1 of of those 3 clans that have been said out earlier on many sites comercial.

    Or is it possible still that you can create a new sale boxes like:

    1# Normal FotS dvd BOX with "out" any special DLC units. In shops stores.

    2# Limited edition of FotS, Pick one special DLC Clan at Steam or Sega site when buying it digital.

    3# And the uber Special huge collection includes music posters and all clans DLC 3 ??? <--- Because thats the one of many in my area would love to buy at first, and not the number 1 and 2 that i stated on top as only an exempel "CA" :)

    And the last queastion.. Will the 3 dlc be sold out later on "Steam" ? If so when, how long do the fans and customers need to wait till it´s decided to do so by those who decide this things? :)

    Thank you before hand and i hope the answers will come, some day if possible, Continues Good luck everyone at CA.

    BR AN.
    I´m one of the happy few whom never bought Rome 2

    BR AN.
  • FlaminiusFlaminius Senior Member Posts: 147Registered Users
    edited January 2012
    I know this is offtopic, but since my chances are higher to be viewed here by ''those guys'', here goes:

    My guess is that during this year they will announce the next game in the series, coming sometime next year.

    Now my question is this: can you give an estimate date - as in month- regarding the big announcement (not the release date, but the debut thing).

    I would count the days, hoping it will be... No, I won't say it :)
    Proud owner of

    -- Rome: Total War Gold Edition
    -- Medieval II: Total War & Kingdoms
    -- Total War: SHOGUN 2 (all DLC included)

    Not so proud of

    -- Rome Expansions
    -- Empire & Napoleon: Total War GOTY
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