Downloadable content and season passes have always been hot button topics. It’s easy to feel very strongly one way or the other when it comes to their benefits and negatives. Recently, these issues have very much come back into the spotlight with the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s “expansion pass.” It’s going to be $19.99 and includes a few immediate rewards, with two more content packs later.
It’s important to mention that, while DLC and season passes go hand-in- hand, they each come with their own sets of troubles and positives. Season passes are great for games that we love! For me, I’ll almost always get a season pass for an installment in the Fallout or Mass Effect series. They’re two of my favorites and I know for a fact that I will want to play all of the additional content, whether or not some are better than others. On the other hand, this The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild expansion pack only has two features that I’m really interested in. Those are the new dungeon and new story coming during the 2017 holiday season. It would be great to wait and buy the parts of it that I want à la carte. Frankly though, depending on how expansive they are, the new dungeon and story could be worth the entire $20 on its own. One can only hope anyway.
That brings me directly into my next point, which is that the value of the DLC is really what justifies a season pass. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept of a season pass when the additions to the game are worth it. With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there are two conflicting things to appreciate. We know what the content is going to be. Nintendo illustrated what we can expect: more challenges, an additional difficulty level, a new dungeon, and an extra story-based adventure. Knowing this is much better than just buying a pass without any clue as to what comes next.
On the flip side, these descriptions of what’s to come with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are very vague. For example, what’s the new feature for the in-game map? I’m expecting it will probably be some kind of mechanic that will make it easier to find certain things that you won’t be able to otherwise. However, I have no real idea from that description. Equally confusing, what are the “new challenges” mentioned in the holiday pack? Part of me appreciates having a little mystery, so I can be surprised when they’re released. But the “broke writer” in me wants to know exactly what I’m getting so I can justify the purchase.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s case specifically, the expansion pass is only $20. In a landscape of passes that are $30 and up, this is a breath of fresh air (pun intended). The price point is really what’s going to save Nintendo in this case, in my opinion. That same $20 could buy you a new game on your Steam wish list, sure. If you love The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and don’t want it to end, what’s that extra 20 bucks, right?
There are a few smaller things that I want to make sure I cover before we conclude. Nintendo said the instant rewards from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s expansion pass would appear in the game’s Great Plateau area immediately. This means, of course, that Nintendo already has the placement mapped out before the full game release. My biggest concern with this is that it's going to be obvious without the pass where these rewards would appear. There's nothing worse than having a bonus flaunted in your face without the ability to acquire it.
Finally, there are concerns floating around that the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild delays were due to the development of this extra content. Considering there’s still time before the summer and holiday release dates, I’d like to think that the delays had nothing to do with the DLC. It’s certainly always a possibility, and that would be a shame if it were true. We’ve been waiting fairly patiently for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for a long time now, so DLC development probably didn’t stall the full release.
How do you feel about the announcement that Breath of the Wild will have DLC and an expansion pass? Let us know in the comments!