One of the more appealing aspects of RPGs (Role-Playing Games), and oftentimes the driving force behind someone finishing them, is the story. A close second is the gameplay, of course, but when it comes to the RPG genre, the story has to be somewhat interesting. And as the RPG label suggests, people are put into the role of a character with which to see the story play out, perhaps even influence it.
Games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect, or any Final Fantasy place a lot of emphasis on their stories. And while some games are better at it than others, they all have their loyal fans that end up enjoying the plot, for one reason or another.
Beyond the completion of the “main” game, however, is where things like DLC come into play, which gives those that enjoyed a particular game an opportunity to go back to that world. In most cases, the new content even comes with a new story to experience, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its newly announced pair of expansions. Yes, “expansions,” because they’re planned to be quite large. And unlike the free 16 pieces of DLC, these two require money.
CD Projekt Red announced “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine” today for The Witcher 3, two substantial expansions that aim to beef up the game’s content. Not like DLC or Season Passes that come with new, smaller chunks to play, but something that adds hours and hours to an already large game.
As CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński explains:
“We remember the time when add-on disks truly expanded games by delivering meaningful content. As gamers, we’d like to bring that back. We’ve said in the past that if we ever decide to release paid content, it will be vast in size and represent real value for the money.
“Both our expansions offer more hours of gameplay than quite a few standalone games out there.”
The first of the two expansions, Hearts of Stone, will be a “10-hour-plus adventure” that sees Geralt in No Man’s Land, where he’ll try to complete a new contract for a character known only as the Man of Glass. The press release reads: “Caught in a thick tangle of deceit, Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed.”
Blood and Wine will be twice the length of the former, boasting a “20-hour-plus tale,” albeit one that takes place in the entirely new area of Toussaint. Toussaint has seemingly managed to exist without any wars, yet its “atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret.” So expect things to go badly for its inhabitants.
Neither of the expansions have received individual pricing yet, but a new Expansion Pass can be bought now by eager Witcher fans. However, Iwiński encourages people to hold off on buying the Expansion Pass if they’re unsure, saying to “Wait for reviews or play The Witcher and see if you like it first. As always, it’s your call.”
The Witcher 3 doesn’t come out until next month (after a delay or two), so there’s plenty of time to decide. Reading up on the gameplay and watching the first 15 minutes of the game will probably help, though.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to release on May 19, 2015 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The first expansion, Hearts of Stone is expected to launch in October, while Blood and Wine will release within the first quarter of 2016.