Big-name games are expected to have DLC at this point - yet somehow, a Zelda season pass can still catch gaming-kind off guard.This week, Nintendo announced that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be getting DLC in the form of a $20/£18 expansion pass (with content packs that can't be purchased individually). Eiji Aonuma's player-addressed announcement, which you can watch below, has gotten folks all riled up about the prospect of paid DLC adding to a mainline Zelda adventure, and whether or not this kind of gated content is at all reasonable.
As ever, the members of the GR+ staff have some opinions on the matter, so it's time to sound off below. Tell us, fine folks: What do you think of locking content like a New Hard Mode and extra dungeons behind a paywall?
"It's nothing new for the series, just a different way of doling it out"
As someone who only very rarely buys downloadable content, Breath of the Wild's expansion falls into the same category of stuff I'm likely to ignore. An extra dungeon and a hard mode that supplement the main game? Come back when $20 gives me something like The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, Nintendo. Or hell, come back when it's as delectably rich as Mario Kart 8's season pass on Wii U that doled out a plethora of new tracks and racers like Isabelle from Animal Crossing. Now that's worth a couple of sawbucks. Beyond the value, though, is it okay that Nintendo's locking these features away? Absolutely. It's nothing new for the series, just a different way of doling it out. Want the new dungeons made for Link's Awakening and A Link to the Past? Then you had to buy the games again on Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Want the Ocarina of Time Second Quest? Well it's only on the bonus disc at Gamestop if you pre-order Wind Waker. Want an extra dungeon and hard mode in Twilight Princess? No DLC for you, buddy boy, you have to buy the HD re-release. Nintendo's been hiding extra Zelda behind a paywall for 20 years. If anything, Breath of the Wild lowers it. Anthony John Agnello
"$20 seems to be a reasonable price"
For what we know about the contents of the two DLC packs, which is admittedly very little, $20 seems to be a reasonable price. But I've noticed that many fans are worried about the "New Hard Mode" coming in DLC Pack 1. Ever since the original Zelda's Second Quest, many Zelda games have offered extra-tough difficulty options for players who want more challenge on their second (or third or fourth) playthrough. If you have to pay extra to play Breath of the Wild's Second Quest/Hero Mode, that would be a really unwelcome change for dedicated fans. But calling it a "New Hard Mode" indicates there may already be a standard "extra damage, fewer recovery hearts" Hero Mode in the base game, and this extra difficulty setting makes other changes instead. Personally, I hope it cranks up the survival aspects. Time to go hunting! Connor Sheridan
"Nintendo has done well to assuage people's fears of 'cut content' or 'bad value'"
I'm all for more Zelda - spending a little bit of money now for more Zelda dungeons in a few months instead of waiting five years for a whole new game sounds great. But right now, it's difficult to tell whether or not Zelda's season pass will be worth the $20 spent on it without more details (seriously, what the heck do they mean by "additional map feature"?). Nintendo has done well to assuage people's fears of "cut content" or "bad value" on the Wii U, though. Mario Kart 8 marked Nintendo's first foray into season pass territory, and for $11.99, players got six additional racers, a bunch of new cars, and 16 new tracks, effectively slapping an entire game onto it for less than a night out at the movies. Nintendo seems to get the idea that season passes should be fairly priced and packed with worthwhile content, and I'm hopeful that it'll do the same for Breath of the Wild. David Roberts
"We don't have much of a baseline in terms of what to expect"
The biggest problem with Breath of the Wild's season pass isn't the content or the price tag - it's that so much of this game is theoretical and eschews many of the traditional elements we've come to expect from a Zelda game. Take the fact that the season pass includes a new dungeon, for example. In most Zelda games, we would know what to expect from that: an environmental or elemental theme like lava, water, air, etc., a special item, and a boss that requires the use of that item at the end. But Breath of the Wild's dungeons aren't like they were in previous games, and so we don't really know if that's a good value. Ditto for the "new story" and "useful items" - these sorts of staples haven't been messed with before in a Zelda game, so it feels like we don't have much of a baseline in terms of what to expect. A season pass for a shooter means more guns and maps. Okay. A season pass for a racer means more cars and tracks. Got it. But what the dekku is a season pass for Zelda supposed to add? Sam Prell
"A Game of the Year edition would feel bizarre coming from Nintendo"
You all are missing the point - clearly, being able to make Link wear a t-shirt with the Switch logo on it, completely shattering the immersion of this vast world Nintendo worked so hard to build, is a $20 value in and of itself. In all seriousness, it's pretty telling that the YouTube Likes/Dislikes bar for Aonuma's reveal has a nearly 50% disapproval rating, which has to be a first for any official Breath of the Wild vid. What actually bugs me most about the teased content for the Expansion Pass is the "additional map feature". Why would that even be worth calling out, unless it somehow magically makes all collectibles show up on your minimap, putting completionists in a 'damned if you do/don't' conundrum? This also begs the question of whether we'll see Breath of the Wild get a Game of the Year edition with a complete set of content later down the line, which would feel bizarre coming from Nintendo. Anyhoo, I've sworn off all season passes for life after being burned one too many times, so I'll pass on this pass. Lucas Sullivan
The Big Question returns next Friday to debate the week's biggest talking point in games, movie, or TV from a variety of GamesRadar+ writers' perspectives.