Winner: The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone
DLC is a field fraught with danger and can ignite the ire of gamers with the mention of a season pass, especially if one is announced well before the game is even out. But luckily, where DLC is used by many publishers as just a way to add artificial value on the top of the retail price, the five nominees in this category show that DLC can be done right. Trespasser, The Taken King, and Heavensward all expand and elevate their base titles, whereas the DLC packs for Mario Kart 8 are extremely affordable.
Hearts of Stone succeeds as an expansion that includes gameplay improvements like Runewords and the new arachnomorph enemy type, as well as multiple story threads that put the laconic Geralt into uncomfortable situations that show off more of his personality. It also helps that CD Projekt RED had a lengthy string of free DLC before this expansion’s release, and then deftly quashed any fears that this paid DLC would tarnish all of that good will. It has made CD Projekt RED one of the most beloved publishers this year and deserves all of the awards, including this one, that are coming its way.