Remember when video game companies used to release finished games instead of planning day-one patches, paid expansions, and other downloadable content (DLC) after the official debut? Nintendo was one of the last holdouts of this old way of doing things--the company rarely made DLC for its titles. That has started to change, however, and the company revealed that the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will receive several expansions.
Breath of the Wild is basically the Nintendo Switch's flagship launch title. Originally planned for the Wii U--where it will still be released, much to the comfort of the relatively few people who bought the beleaguered console--the new Legend of Zelda title has been riding the hype train since 2013. Until games like Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey debut later this year, Breath of the Wild is probably going to be the Switch's most popular title.
Now it seems the game will be the gift that keeps on giving. Director Eiji Aonuma said in a YouTube video that an Expansion Pass will be available on March 3, the same day Breath of the Wild and the Switch will debut:
Aonuma said the Expansion Pass will offer access to three DLCs. One contains a few extra treasure chests in the game's main area, the Grand Plateau, with helpful and exclusive items. Another planned for Summer 2017 will include a new "hard mode," an additional map feature, and a new Cave of Trials challenge. The (presumably) final DLC will be released "Holiday 2017" with additional challenges, a new dungeon, and a "new original story."
This isn't the first time Nintendo has released DLC for one of its games. Mario Kart 8 features downloadable characters and tracks, for example, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U also featured new fighters and arenas that could be purchased separately. However, this is the first entry in the Legend of Zelda series with DLC. (Unless you count an update for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword that fixed a game-breaking bug in 2011.)
The DLC might frustrate people who have waited for Breath of the Wild to debut since it missed the launch planned for 2015. The additional $20 may help give the title a little more longevity so restless gamers can better weather the typically long wait between new Legend of Zelda games. Nintendo joining the trend of updating its games after release doesn't have to be a bad thing, but we'll know more when Breath of the Wild debuts.