Today Nintendo announced that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be receiving an expansion pass. This pass can be purchased starting March 3 and will cost $19.99.  Included in the pass are two packs to be released this summer and winter.  These packs will not be sold individually.

Breath of the Wild’s first pack will include a new Cave of Trials challenge, hard mode, and a new feature for the in-game map.  The second pack will add a new dungeon, a new original story, and additional challenges.  Upon purchase of the expansion pass, players will also immediately receive three treasure chests that can be accessed at the Great Plateau. Nintendo has said two of these chests will contain useful items, and the third includes a Nintendo Switch shirt for Link to wear.

Personally, I think that forcing players to purchase both packs is frustrating, but the price of $19.99 seems reasonable as long as the additions are equivalent to their counterparts in the base game.  I am very interested in learning more about the hard mode, new dungeon, and story content.  The hard mode is an opportunity for Nintendo to alter the Zelda formula in some interesting ways, while the dungeon and story content could include quite a significant amount of content.  It will also be interesting to see what these “useful items” will be.

The inclusion of paid items that alter the core game in any noticeable way could serve to anger large portions of Nintendo’s fanbase, and I don’t know if I trust Nintendo not to make this mistake.  Ultimately, I think that this is a promising move for Nintendo to make for both the company and gamers.  It shows a level of post-release investment and alignment with modern gaming that feels very unNintendo, which is a great sign for The Switch and the future of the company.