The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt Red has shied away from paid DLC in the past. Both the Witcher and Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings received free "enhanced edition" updates that added new content and improvements. Last year, however, the developer announced that Witcher 3 would receive 16 free pieces of DLC in the weeks following the game's release.
This latest Witcher 3 announcement is therefore something entirely new for the franchise: two major paid expansion packs will be coming to the game post-launch — said to contain more than 30 hours of additional gameplay combined.
The first is called "Hearts of Stone" and is scheduled for release in October. It's expected to be around 10 hours long and will take place in "the wilds of No Man's Land and the nooks and alleys of Oxenfurt, where [Geralt will] try to complete a contract from the mysterious Man of Glass. Caught in a thick tangle of deceit, Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed."
Another expansion, titled "Blood and Wine" is set to release sometime in 2016 and will include a new region for players to explore, untouched by the war that has engulfed the lands. But lurking beneath the perfect exterior lies a dark secret. "Blood and Wine" is expected to contain around 20 hours worth of new content.
CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński told IGN the expansions will "represent real value for money." "Heart of Stone" will retail for $9.99, with "Blood and Wine" retailing for $19.99, according to Game Informer. An expansion pass will be available for $24.99 and include access to both expansions.
"We remember the time when add-on disks truly expanded games by delivering meaningful content," Iwiński said. "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 money.
"Both our expansions offer more hours of gameplay than quite a few standalone games out there."
Considering that Witcher 3 will have anywhere between 100-200 hours of gameplay, fans should have plenty to do — regardless of whether or not they choose to pay for the game's expansions. Both expansions will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC at the same time, with no mention of "console DLC exclusivity" — which recently got fellow RPG Dragon Age: Inquisition in hot water.