It should come as no surprise that after Nintendo jumped on the DLC bandwagon with Fire Emblem, it wouldn’t come cheap. We are talking about a company that brought out a new, essentially-useless accessory with nearly every Pokemon game: the Game Boy Camera and Game Boy Printer stand out.
Even so, Nintendo’s DLC announcement for Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia Echoes comes as a bit of a shock. Released on April 20 for the Nintendo 3DS in America, the game retails at $39.99 USD. And as reported by The Verge, Nintendo has just announced that Fire Emblem DLC will start releasing on May 19 – and a Season Pass will cost you $44.99, and if each DLC pack is purchased individually, it adds up to $51.95, over $10 more than the standard game, a feat that even the priciest DLC in the video game industry (think games like EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront or Activision’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops III and their $50 DLC passes) have yet to accomplish.
Modern AAA titles also tend to discount DLC after some time has passed, particularly with deluxe or “Game Of The Year” editions: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, which includes an updated version of the base game and all released DLC, actually costs less now than the base game originally did, although this trend seems to be falling somewhat out of favor: Fallout 4 and its DLC season pass still cost as much as ever.
By comparison within Nintendo, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s season pass is only $20. Mario Cart 8‘s DLC was a completely reasonable $12. But Nintendo seems to have a thing for pricey Fire Emblem DLC; their first foray into paid DLC, with Fire Emblem Fates, also ran over $40 in total. And, as Forbes notes, Fire Emblem: Shadow of Valentia Echoes isn’t even really a new game; it’s a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
That having been said, Nintendo isn’t skimping on the content. They’ve announced the content of four of five Fire Emblem DLC packs thus far, and by all accounts they’re pretty meaty, no horse armor in sight. The first pack, Fledgling Warriors, will release May 19 – the same day as the game – and includes a new early-to-midgame dungeon, The Astral Temple, and two new maps. The second pack, Undaunted Heroes, releases May 25 and also includes a new dungeon, The Inner Sanctum, and two new maps, this time for the later game.
Oddly, the second pack costs $2 more than the first, in spite of the similarities; Fledgling Warriors will sell for $7.99, Undaunted Heroes for $9.99.
The content of the third pack, Lost Altars, is stated a bit more vaguely; it sounds like it will feature multiple dungeons, as well as “the power to upgrade characters to exclusive classes that don’t appear in the main game.” That may indicate that the pack will feature entirely new classes. Lost Altars will also release on May 25, and will retail for $14.99.
The fourth pack, Rise of the Deliverance, will release on June 1 and claims to reveal “the previously untold history of Valentia” in a prolog to the main game. According to Nintendo, Rise of the Deliverance will add all-new voice acting and story to Fire Emblem, will include new support conversations between heroes, and will allow the player to control characters that they couldn’t during the main game. It contains “a collection” of new maps and retails for $12,99.
The final pack is currently unannounced, but will contain “two pieces of content” and retail for $5.99.
All told, that’s not a bad offering, but it’s still surprisingly steep for what amounts to a few new maps and dungeons, and the price points are frankly confusing. And in a move that is quite certain not to endear gamers, the timing of the releases suggests that, not just the first pack, but all of the DLC has already been completed prior to release; and we all know how gamers feel about same-day DLC.
All told, Nintendo has a talent for milking games for profit – Fire Emblem will also be releasing a Limited Edition which contains none of the DLC but definitely costs more, along with a set of two new amiibos – retailing at $59.99 and $24.99 respectively.
Fire Emblem‘s DLC will probably be no exception to Nintendo’s success. But many have described it as “bizarre” and they’re not wrong, and it will be interesting to see how the Fire Emblem DLC release ultimately plays out.
[Featured Image by Nintendo]