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Zelda Fans Are Torn Over Breath of the Wild’s Expansion Pass and DLC


Nintendo has been embracing modern gaming and technology in some great ways lately, but there are some innovations in pricing structures that gamers haven’t exactly been thrilled with in recent years, and it seems Nintendo is embracing that part of the future, too.

The company has done downloadable content before, with Splatoon receiving new weapons and other additions for free, and Smash Bros. introducing several new characters and stages at varying price points after the most recent iteration’s release. Still, it feels a bit odd for DLC to arrive on a main series Zelda title, especially with the news that it will be available for purchase at launch, despite the bulk of the content not being ready until summer, and not until the holiday season for the second pack.

Not only that, but the content packs will only be available as a combo for $19.99, with Nintendo’s announcement stating, “Content packs cannot be purchased individually.” Here’s what they’ll include, on both Wii U and the upcoming Nintendo Switch:

Immediately upon pre-purchase or purchase of the Expansion Pass, three new treasure chests will appear in the game’s Great Plateau area. One of these treasure chests will contain a shirt with a Nintendo Switch logo that Link can wear during his adventure, exclusive to the Expansion Pass. The other two will deliver useful items. The first content pack is scheduled to launch this summer, and will include the addition of a Cave of Trials challenge, a new hard mode and a new feature for the in-game map. The second content pack will launch in Holiday 2017, and adds new challenges that will let players enjoy a new dungeon and a new original story.

Nintendo’s previous president, Satoru Iwata, had made statements in the past that the company shouldn’t be “holding back” finished content from a completed game in order to charge players extra money for it down the line, and it seems, at least, like that’s not what Nintendo is doing here. Still, it feels a little odd for Nintendo to be pushing for pre-release sales on DLC, which is likely what caused the most friction with fans as arguments rage across the Internet. (What else is new?)

It’s also a tricky thing to prove what constitutes a complete game, since there was never anything barring Nintendo from extending the game’s development time and considering this very DLC part of the completed package of Breath of the Wild—except for business decisions, which is ultimately what this really comes down to. Nintendo wants Breath of the Wild to release on March 3, and for whatever reason—money, time, or any other reality of game development—getting this content into the game by then wasn’t feasible. It made more sense to them to have what’s likely a much smaller, less costly team continue to work on this content after release and then sell it for $20.

Some may see it as price gouging, but development of big name games is notoriously expensive, and companies always have to strike a balance with price (which is what this really comes down to) between making a profit and appealing to consumers. Whether or not this DLC structure is a good idea isn’t so much up to whether or not people are happy that kind of release and pricing structure is taking over the world of gaming, but whether or not people will buy it—which they may still do despite not being happy about it.

If you don’t want to see more DLC and pricing like this from Nintendo, don’t buy the DLC. If enough people feel the same, they’ll know not to do this in the future. If not … better start collecting some extra rupees.

(image via screengrab)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best.