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The Witcher 3 getting two big expansions, adding 30-plus hours of adventure

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

CD Projekt Red will release two paid downloadable add-ons for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt starting later this year, a pair of expansions that promise more than 30 hours of new adventures for Geralt of Rivia.

The first expansion, Hearts of Stone, is slated for release in October. The add-on sends Geralt into the wilds of No Man's Land and the city of Oxenfurt to complete a contract from the Man of Glass. The second expansion, Blood and Wine, is scheduled for release during the first three months of 2016. Players can explore a new in-game region of The Witcher 3, Toussaint, which CD Projekt Red describes as "a land untainted by war, where an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret."

The Witcher 3's paid DLC expansions will be available as part of the game's Expansion Pass, which will retail for $24.99. If players want to purchase the add-ons separately, Hearts of Stone will cost $9.99, while Blood and Wine will cost $19.99. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the game and its Expansion Pass will be sold as a bundle for $84.99. On PC, that bundle will be sold for $79.99.

CD Projekt Red previously announced that it would release 16 pieces of free downloadable content for The Witcher 3, including cosmetic items for Geralt and Yennefer, and at least one playable contract. When that free DLC was announced, CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński, said the bonus content was being given away in the hopes that it would change abusive business practices surrounding post-launch add-on content.

"If we ever decide to release paid content for Wild Hunt, I promise you, gamers will see why we decided to charge for it," Iwiński told Polygon at the time. "We'll ask ourselves a simple question: Could anyone feel ripped off when they buy it? If there's even a slightest possibility they will, we won't do it."

In a statement released today, Iwiński said he believes the paid DLC for The Witcher 3 will offer players meaningful content and real value. But should The Witcher fans balk at the idea of paid DLC, Iwiński suggests waiting to see if it's worth your time.

"With the development of Wild Hunt coming to an end, the team has embarked upon the creation of two new really big adventures set in The Witcher universe," Iwiński said in a release. "We remember the time when add-on disks truly expanded games by delivering meaningful content. 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 the money. Both our expansions offer more hours of gameplay than quite a few standalone games out there.

"While we're offering the Expansion Pass now, we want to make one thing clear: don't buy it if you have any doubts. Wait for reviews or play The Witcher and see if you like it first. As always, it's your call."

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be released for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on May 19.

Gameplay Preview Monster hunting in The Witcher 3

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