The Witcher 3: Is the Free DLC Announcement Too Good to be True?

3 min

CD Projekt Red announced a gigantic bombshell today regarding the company’s final installment of The Witcher video game franchise, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The developer plans to release all the downloadable content for the game for the price of absolutely zero. In short, every player who owns a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have access to CD Projekt Red’s free DLC program for the game release. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to feature 16 pieces of DLC content, and CD Projekt Red plans on releasing two pieces of DLC content every week after the game’s release. Two DLC packs will be available at the launch of the game. The news is tremendous for fans of the franchise. Red has proven to have refreshing views on DLC content in the past. However, an offer like the free DLC program sounds almost too good to be true. Is CD Projekt Red lying? I am not saying that, but I am I am always a little cautious when I hear announcements like the one about free DLC program. In the past, even the most trustworthy developers have made misleading statements. Therefore, I take bits of news like this with a grain of salt.

Free DLC content is not completely unheard of. EA Sports has essentially been offering free DLC on a monthly basis for EA Sports UFC, complete with the ability to access new fighters. Free DLC is also used as exclusive pre-order bonuses for gaming retail shops. However, the pre-order is the string attached to that deal. Even if the DLC content is labeled as “exclusive,” there is usually a timed component. In other words, the content is not truly “exclusive.”

The argument that can be made against DLC is that a consumer basically invested $65 or so in a brand new game. Then, a publisher wants the consumer to plunk down even more money to receive the additional content. The problem is that a new game should offer a considerable amount of value and replay value at launch. Publishers have instituted a Season Pass system. I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that a Season Pass entails paying one price to own all the DLC content that will be released for a video game over the life of the game. However, even publishers are releasing DLC content outside of the Season Pass; for example, WWE 2K15. This essentially makes a Season Pass purchase almost worthless.

The good news is that the CD Projekt Red announcement is a bold and powerful move by CD Projekt Red. Rather than trying to charge players extra, CD Projekt Red is offering 16 pieces of DLC content completely for free. In the eyes of the fans, the free DLC program is a tremendous coup. One could even look at it as an insult to the publishers attempting to grab more money from players for disappointing or over-priced DLC. If the program delivers, it potentially sets a standard for what fans would want to see out of DLC programs. Activision is charging $49.99 for the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Season Pass. That is basically the price of a new game. Through the free DLC program for The Witcher 3, players are essentially getting a Season Pass for free.

Here is my theory and guess for the string attached to CD Projekt Red’s “no strings attached” announcement. While the free DLC program includes 16 pieces of DLC, the announcement does not mention DLC outside of the program. Basically, if CD Projekt Red has any future DLC plans outside of the program, players will pay extra money for that content. Perhaps a few months after launch, there will be a bigger expansion that is outside the purview of the DLC program. Would it be free or would Projekt Red assign a price to the content?

Regardless of any strings attached to the announcement, CD Projekt Red is taking great, momentous steps with The Witcher 3. Based on the company’s previous attitudes about DLC, The Witcher 3 will offer significant value through the gameplay and the DLC quests. The second bundle DLC pack will offer two new quests, including a different search for the character Yennefer of Vengerberg. So, despite my skepticism about the free DLC program, between the game and the additional quests, The Witcher 3 appears to offer a significant bang for its buck.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hits the PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC on February 24. The free DLC program will be available for all versions of the game. CD Projekt Red plans to announce the specifics on how to obtain the DLC at a later date.

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  1. CD Projekt Red is against sepperating a game a launch from large DLC. The full game will be included, with absolutely no large DLC added. The 16 DLCs are just tiny upgrades that weren’t added at launch because they didnt have time for them compared to the big stuff

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