While many players, myself included, are not fans of microtransactions outside of free-to-play games, this certainly isn't new for the Tomb Raider series. Recent games have offered buyable perks that could also be unlocked through gameplay, as well as DLC packs with skins, weapons, and playable levels. Love it or hate it, the days of free DLC appear to be dead and buried so deeply that not even Lara Croft could unearth them.
For those who haven't already closed this page and scampered off to rage about the Rise of the Microtransaction, here's what we can expect in terms of DLC.
After completing the main game, there will be several ways to add challenge to replay. These Extra Game Modes will be available at launch:
- Chapter Replay: Replay earlier chapters of the story. Complete challenges to earn credits.
- Chapter Replay Elite: Replay earlier chapters of the story with your upgraded skills and equipment and complete challenges to earn credits.
- Score Attack: Replay levels from the game with a new set of rules. Finish the level quickly for a time bonus. Chain together attacks, movements and collectibles to keep your multiplier high. Complete challenges and collect medals to earn credits.
- Remnant Resistance: Replay Hub spaces with a new set of goals. Craft your own missions by choosing the objectives, enemies and more. Once you've mastered the mission, challenge friends and the community to beat your high score or play other custom missions created by the community.
Expedition Cards can be earned through in-game challenges and exploration or purchased with real-world currency. When used, these cards become modifiers in game modes outside of the single player campaign. Some cards are rarer than others, and some offer serious bonuses, while others just have humorous effects like "Big Head Mode," similar to the "Curse of Bes" in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. Common cards can only be used once. Special foil cards can be used any number of times.
Xbox.com now lists Gold, Silver, Challenge, Advantage, and Wild Packs, each containing 5 cards including at least one rare card.
According to Creative Director Noah Hughes, "Expedition Cards offer hundreds of ways to customize your Rise of the Tomb Raider experience. You can also set up challenges for your friends to see if they can beat your scores with the same card setup. We'll have about 300 cards available at launch, and more will be added in the weeks that follow."
The Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass, priced at around $30, includes three major releases: Endurance Mode, Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch (a new single-player tomb), and Cold Darkness Awakened. These are detailed in my earlier post about Rise of the Tomb Raider pre-orders.
Again, according to Hughes, in addition to the Season Pass DLC, "a steady stream of outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards beginning on Day 1 and continuing over four months will keep you customizing, expanding, and challenging your friends to new adventures."
For more info check out the official Tomb Raider Blog and this interview with Noah Hughes on Xbox Wire.
Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released on Xbox One and Xbox 360 November 10 in the Americas and Asia, November 13 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The PC version will follow early next year, and the PlayStation 4 version in late 2016.
UPDATE - October 19: A follow-up post, Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass and Expeditions FAQ, provides further details about the features introduced here.
*The developers have estimated 15 hours of gameplay to finish the story, 30+ hours for 100% completion.