The studio behind hotly anticipated RPG The Witcher III: Wild Hunt says it is "making a statement" about the practise of charging for extra content in major console games with its own plan to release 16 Witcher add-ons or free.
CD Projekt co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski said the plan is to show an alternative strategy compared to the economy of "steeply priced" DLC that currently exists around most triple-A tittles.
"People just paid full price for our game," he told IGN. "We owe them. We are making a statement. We, as gamers, would like to be treated this way: 'Hey, give me free DLC'."
Iwinski stressed that free DLC doesn't have to be huge. He clarified that CD Projekt will not be "giving tens of hours of storyline" as part of its free add-ons, instead offering "small bits of pieces that don't cost a lot".
Presumably, then, the 16 free download packs will be similar to the weapons and costume packs that so many triple-A titles charge for. It's an interesting move when so many titles use such packs as pre-order incentives.
Attitudes to DLC among consumers are still changing and developers are still experimenting to see what sticks. Bungie is attempting to create premium expansions for Destiny, charging £20 for each – a move that has been met with mixed responses – while even indie studio UsTwo received complaints over its decision to charge a mere £1.49 for the excellent Forgotten Shores expansion to Monument Valley.
CD Projekt is also hoping that its different approach to a DLC strategy will also dissuade Witcher III players from trading in the game, or even downloading it illegally.
"Maybe the ones who thought about pirating would not pirate it," Iwinski added. "Maybe the ones who wanted to trade it back and get something else will keep it on the shelf. That'd be great, I would like this to happen and if not, that's fine as well. I hope they'll have fun."