Nintendo have recently announced that there will be Breath of the Wild DLC as part of an “Expansion Pass”. This is set to be a highly divisive topic among Zelda-purists and gamers in general. Should a franchise like The Legend of Zelda taint itself with what some perceive as a plague of the modern gaming age? Or is it a sign that Nintendo are finally moving with the times by implementing a highly profitable marketing strategy into a game they know is likely to be hugely successful? With a $19.99/£17.99 price tag, this would make it just over one third the cost of the entire game.

Nintendo explains the reasoning for this decision: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U consoles is one of the largest, most engaging video games Nintendo has ever created. While the main game offers players an engrossing quest that will keep them entertained for hours, as well as the freedom to explore the vast Hyrule at their own pace, the game world provides a rich canvas that offers the opportunity for additional adventures. As a result, the first-ever downloadable content for the main-line Legend of Zelda series is in development.”

Now considering we’ve continually heard how vast Breath of the Wild is going to be, can we really expect additional paid content that will amount to one third of the content of the main game? The first Breath of the Wild DLC will include a “Cave of Trials” challenge, hard mode, and new map feature. In my opinion, this sounds slightly lacking, and maybe even a little disappointing. The fact that a higher difficulty mode is locked behind a paywall is sure to upset many. Even if Breath of the Wild already has a hard mode, and the new difficulty contained within the DLC is a very hard mode, it still grates. Imagine the next Halo gaming shipping without a Legendary difficulty, and instead it was locked away within a season pass. There would be outrage.

Breath of the Wild DLC pic

The second Breath of the Wild DLC sounds more promising. Set to be released during the Holiday period of 2017, it will contain a new dungeon and a new original story, plus “additional challenges”. Taking into account that there will be nearly a year between the release of the base game and this “new original story”, it could be rather substantial expansion, especially if Nintendo have been listening to their fan’s requests to make Zelda a playable character. The addition of an extra dungeon also sounds interesting. At this point, the information is obviously rather vague, but these additions still don’t add up to being worth the cost of the season pass, in my opinion.

As well as this, and somewhat worryingly, purchasing the Expansion Pass will give you access to three chests that contain a variety of useful items. Included in one of these chests is an exclusive shirt with the Nintendo Switch logo on, which Link can wear on his adventure. As well as being a huge immersion breaker, does this inclusion suggest that Breath of the Wild will have the option to purchase in-game chests with real money? Even if it doesn’t, I still don’t think this announcement in general is good for the latest Zelda game. I’m almost in disbelief at my own assertion. How can more content for a Zelda game be a bad thing? I can’t help feeling that it somehow makes Breath of the Wild less special. I see Zelda games as the last bastion of gaming purity; a series originating in a time before season passes, microtransactions, and post-release content. I can’t help but feel this is a bad idea, but I will reserve judgement until we hear more about the content.

What are your thoughts on the Breath of the Wild DLC? Do you think it is a good idea that can only enhance the overall experience? Or is it a cold move by Nintendo in order to start competing in a largely two-console market. Let us know in the comments below.

  • Love the article. Agree with all of your points. Fingers crossed Nintendo actually delivers a stellar collection of post-release content that makes the Expansion Pass worth it but I’m skeptical.

    The whole thing is unfortunate but I can see why they’re doing it. The Wii U probably didn’t sell as well as they liked and they probably want to make up some of the money they lost. Plus, GameStop’s business model continues to rob developers of more and more money every year by trying to exclusively sell used copies. DLC is pretty much the only way any developer can guarantee to still make money off their game 6 months after release. It’s so sad to see the toll finally beginning to affect something as beloved as Legend of Zelda.

  • Nifheilm

    $15 for a story expansion (DLC pack 2)
    $5 for Cave of Trials/”Hard mode” (DLC pack 1)

    I dont know, those prices seem pretty fair. Even the pack 1 which will probably be meh, for just $5 it sounds pretty good. Most fighting games charge that much if not more for just a single character.

    Since you cant buy them separately, the biggest factor will obviously be the Story DLC, but I dont need a $15 expansion to last 40h just because the $60 game gave me 100+. I’ve played plenty of DLC or full games at that price which are just 5-10h if not less that still feel totally worth it (Last of Us, Inside, etc)

    Considering they have 9-10 months to make it, and considering the current history of Nintendo DLC (MK8, Fire Emblem, Splatoon, Smash, Hyrule Warriors), I feel like giving them the benefit of the doubt)

  • heavenshitman1

    Im not against DLC, and I’m glad they’re coming in fairly blocky segments (as opposed to individual garments and items etc..)

    But I agree, doing it season pass style seems a bit unnecessarily low for Nintendo.
    Nintendo could surely afford to wait until they’re ready and do on the spot charges for ’em.

    And yes, a difficulty mode and an unfitting T-shirt does seem pretty odd-ball inclusions.
    Surely any intelligent dev knows all most ppl would need primarily is new story and quests