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.
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.