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DLC: An acronym that can boil the blood of some gamers at its mere mention, and understandably so. We’ve seen plenty of examples of downloadable content being utilised in exploitative and unfair ways over the years, leading to DLC often being cited as one of the worst elements of modern gaming.
But when you strip away the money-grabbing and questionable business practices that have tainted the idea and consider the times that DLC has been used as initially promised; to expand our favourite game worlds and give players more for their money – Minerva’s Den in Bioshock 2 (2010), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s (2015) Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone expansions, the barrage of free and paid expansions added to Final Fantasy XV (2016) over the years – it’s clear that, when used with good intentions at heart, DLC can be one of the best elements in modern gaming.
With this sense of idealism and hope, here’s a look at the five upcoming DLC expansions for our favourite games that have us holding our breath in anticipation.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (2018) – Winds of Magic
When it comes to beating the snot out of giant mutant rats, a core game alone is never going to be enough, and with this age old wisdom in mind, developer Fatshark set about creating the Winds of Magic expansion for Warhammer: Vermintide 2.
This piece of DLC's main attraction is the new game mode (entitled Winds of Magic) which tasks players with overcoming increasingly difficult combat conditions. Also included are a new race of enemies to conquer, additional weapons and a further difficulty setting for the toughest players. The expansion is set for release in December 2019.
Ark: Survival Evolved (2015) - Genesis Part One
That's right, everyone's favourite dinosaur-riding multiplayer survival game is getting even bigger. Heading into its second season since release as a full game, the next step in the title's evolution is the first part of the Genesis expansion. This includes a new and diverse map, unique creatures that include a giant turtle whose shell can be built on by enterprising players and additional destructive weaponry.
The Genesis Expansion's first part is set for release in December 2019, with part two set to follow in Winter 2020.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (2014) – King of Cards
Often pointed to as the pinnacle of retro-inspired 2D platformers, Shovel Knight is one of the most beloved and successful indie games of all time. Since its initial release, developer Yacht Club Games has built on the base title, releasing free expansion after free expansion, all now bundled together with the original game under the banner Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove.
The next addition to the Shovel Knight world is set to be the King of Cards expansion, a prequel to the main story years in the making, which looks to be bigger and deeper than any of the developers have worked on to date. King of Cards is set for release on 10 December 2019 as a standalone game or as a free update for owners of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove.
Control (2019) – The Foundation
Did anyone else finish Control's story, defeat the optional bosses, obtain the platinum trophy, do pretty much everything there is to do...and still not feel ready to put the game down? That's not to say that the game is short on content, just that when a combat system is as explosive as this and when the world is so eccentric and engrossing, it keeps you wanting to come back for more.
Happily for us, developer Remedy Entertainment isn't content to leave the world it created in Control lie dormant, instead revealing of a roadmap of upcoming DLC that includes a free 'Expeditions' mode in December 2019 which adds challenging post-game content along with two paid story expansions in 2020 – 'AWE' which seemingly links in with the developer's previous hit Alan Wake (2010) and 'The Foundation' which sees protaganist Jesse Faden explore the foundation of The Oldest House.
While we can't wait to delve into everything Control has to offer, it's The Foundation that's really filled our hype balloons. The Oldest House is one of the most compelling settings in recent memory and the chance to delve further into its lore and potentially answer some of Control's most tantalizing lingering riddles is too much to resist.
Kingdom Hearts III (2019) – ReMind
Kingdom Hearts III was pure joy from start to finish – as if Master Yen Sid himself had woven magic into every bit of the game's code. So as hard as it is to leave a game that's given you so much enjoyment, leaving a group of characters that have been with you for nearly two decades is just painful.
So it may come as no surprise that when the announcement came that Kingdom Hearts III was getting a DLC expansion in the form of ReMind, we were seven shades of thrilled. While we're still waiting for more specifics, we do know that the expansion will include new story content, additional boss battles and the ability to switch playable characters, with a release window set for this winter.