It is hard to deny that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most highly anticipated video games in history. It is the most ambitious game that Nintendo has ever worked on, and the flagship launch title for the company’s new console, the Nintendo Switch.
Judging from everything we’ve seen so far, Breath of the Wild seems to be the exact game that Zelda fans have been demanding for years. Its overworld is absolutely massive, inspired by the worlds of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V, two of the most successful video games of the last decade. Its art style and its music are nothing short of beautiful, inspired by the best aspects of The Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, and Skyward Sword. Not only is this the first 3D Zelda game in almost six years, it’s also the first time that a Zelda game has been entirely focused on adventure and exploration since the release of The Wind Waker in 2003.
Despite the fact that Breath of the Wild looks great, Nintendo’s marketing decisions surrounding it have been less than stellar from the start. The game has been delayed several times, and although one could argue that these delays were a good decision overall, it’s undeniable that they were received negatively by fans who expected to play the game by the end of 2015. Many of the trailers haven't been that great (in fact, the second time we ever got to see the game, it was shown off through poor-quality off-screen gameplay footage). Now, a little over two weeks before the game’s launch, Nintendo announced that it’s releasing DLC for Breath of the Wild, marking the first time that a mainline Zelda title gets any post-game content. Although this might seem like good news at first, Nintendo’s poor timing and the company's out-of-touch announcement have unsurprisingly alienated loads of fans.
In case you hadn’t heard, Nintendo announced earlier today that it’s launching some DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. After March 3rd, the company will be selling an “Expansion Pass” for this DLC. Essentially, this will give players a few early perks, and it will grant them immediate access to the two waves of downloadable content once they’re released during the summer and in the holiday season.
Why is the DLC such a big mistake on Nintendo’s behalf? First of all, Nintendo's timing is terrible. Since the first wave of the DLC won’t even launch until this summer, there’s no point in announcing it now, a mere two weeks before Breath of the Wild comes out. The fact that the Expansion Pass will be available for purchase on March 3rd makes it seem like Breath of the Wild is getting DLC on its first day on the market, which is usually seen as a greedy move. Usually, when a studio does something like this, there’s severe backlash from fans, as it seems like the company is artificially crippling the game by removing core content and selling it separately to make some extra money.
Had Nintendo waited until E3 2017 to announce the Breath of the Wild expansion, it would have given the company much more to talk about and demonstrate at its presentation, it would have gotten more people excited about the game, and it would have given many fans a reason to go back and replay the game after several months. The company gains nothing by talking about the DLC now, and has angered many fans with this tactless marketing move.
The actual announcement of the DLC was very poorly planned as well. The video of the announcement—a simple shot of Eiji Aonuma describing the release of the DLC in Japanese—was extremely uninteresting. With no footage of the actual DLC whatsoever, and no information on what it contains (everything we know about the DLC is from a single slide with some vague descriptions of its contents), it’s impossible for any fans to get excited about the upcoming expansion. Essentially, the only news is that DLC for the game will exist at some point in the future, and with the implicit negative connotation of releasing DLC soon after a game’s launch, this is nothing but bad press.
As for the actual contents of the expansion, well, there isn’t much to discuss: the description in the initial announcement doesn’t seem particularly promising. The Expansion Pass will give players access to three treasure chests in March, which will contain some “useful items” and exclusive in-game clothing; while this is a nice touch, it’s not vital, and it’s not likely that many players will get excited about it without more information (or, at the very least, an image of the unique outfit).
In the summer, with the first wave of the DLC, players will get a new challenge known as the "Cave of Trials" (presumably similar to the Cave of Ordeals from Twilight Princess), a new hard mode, and a “new map feature” (this last item is so cryptic that it could mean almost anything. Will the map be given a new zoom setting? Will a whole new area appear in the overworld? There’s no way to know). Again, while entertaining, a new difficulty setting and a cool mini-dungeon aren’t huge news.
The last wave of the downloadable content will launch in the holiday season, and it’s by far the most interesting of the lot. It’ll feature a “new original story,” a new dungeon, and “additional challenges.” While a new dungeon is, without a doubt, an exciting piece of content that will encourage many people to buy the Expansion Pass, the other two bits of information are so vague that it’s impossible to comment on them. What does Nintendo mean by “a new original story”? Is this a whole new campaign mode? A small side-quest? Something in the middle? What could they possibly be planning for “additional challenges”? More mini-dungeons, like the aforementioned Cave of Trials? Another difficulty mode? Some new kind of enemy?
Why would Nintendo even bother teasing the DLC in this way, and confuse their fans rather than excite them? Who can say whether this will be worth $19.99?
Overall, I can’t say that the DLC for Breath of the Wild is a bad idea in and of itself; after all, with such a small amount of information, I still don’t know if I’ll even purchase it myself. However, DLC is such a sensitive subject nowadays that I wish Nintendo hadn’t handled this presentation in such a tactless way. Most fans will be confused and underwhelmed by the presentation, and will be angry at the thought that Nintendo is crippling Breath of the Wild at launch by not including these features in the game in the first place.
Other than the promise of an extra dungeon, there’s nothing to get excited about so far. Although I genuinely hope that this expansion will be successful and filled with great content, I wish Nintendo had put some more than a second's thought into this presentation and the obvious negative backlash it would receive.
What do you guys think? Are you angry at Nintendo’s announcement, or are you excited at the prospect of this DLC? Is it a good idea to have post-game content in a Zelda game at all? Did you find the presentation itself as underwhelming as I did? Sound off in the comments below!