Nintendo has just announced a season pass for its upcoming game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The season pass will have a $20 price tag, and will give access to two new sets of downloadable content (DLC) later this year.
Immediately on purchase, three new treasure chests will appear in the game’s Great Plateau area, one of which will contain a season pass exclusive Nintendo Switch logo shirt for Link. The other two will contain “useful items”. The first content pack is scheduled to release this summer, and will include a Cave of Trials challenge, a new hard mode and a new feature for the in-game map. The second content pack will launch around the holidays and will include a new dungeon and a new original story.
“This is a departure from the Nintendo of old.”
This is a departure from the Nintendo of old. Back in 2012, interviews with both CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime showed Nintendo being against DLC, with Iwata describing DLC as good for short-term sales, but bad for mid or long-term business. Later that same year, Nintendo started experimenting with DLC with New Super Mario Bros. 2, providing extra levels for the game’s Coin Rush mode.
Since then, Nintendo has had great success with DLC, from Fire Emblem Awakening’s extra characters, maps and story content to Super Smash Bros.’ characters and stages. Part of this likely comes from Nintendo’s design philosophy for DLC, including the thought of not holding back parts of the game to make extra money. Any DLC that Nintendo makes adds to the game in a meaningful way, and is completely optional (Smash Bros. competitive notwithstanding).
“One of the largest complaints with Nintendo DLC is not the content itself, but rather the pricing.”
One of the largest complaints with Nintendo DLC is not the content itself, but rather the pricing. Super Smash Bros. has a selection of fighter/stage pairs for as high as $6.99. Thankfully, there is a steep discount should someone happen to purchase the DLC for both versions of the game at once, but purchasing all of the DLC for both editions of Super Smash Bros will still cost over $30.00, nearly the price of a full retail 3DS game.
Nintendo’s recent successes with both Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes show that Nintendo isn’t afraid of trying new things. Their strong vision of what DLC should be hopes to keep gamers coming back to their games long after the credits roll. As long as season passes don’t hold anything back from the games they support, they should be great options for those who can’t get enough of their favorite games.