'Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen' for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 from Capcom.
Due out on April 23 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. That might sound like the sequel to last year's RPG Dragon's Dogma, but it isn't. It's technically an expansion, though it's an expansion so large that Capcom couldn't go the usual DLC route. Instead, the company decided to release it as a $40 retail disk complete with the original game for anybody who needs it.
"As we got deeper into development on it, the scope ballooned and we got to a point where we couldn't actually house everything we wanted to do due to both technical limitations on the side of the original game and also due to first-party restrictions in the size of DLC," Tristan Corbett, the game's Project Manager, explained. "Essentially the only way we were able to do it was all as one package but we feel there's enough content to warrant the price of entry."
Adding a reported 15-20 hours of new gameplay to the original Dragon's Dogma, Dark Arisen is designed for players who are on their third or fourth playthough. Corbett recommends players be at least levels 30-50 before even starting any of the new content and to be of an even higher level before attempting its more difficult quests and areas.
"As you get into the more neither regions of the expansion, you definitely do want to be at a higher level," he said.
Dark Arisen introduces players to Bitter Black Isle, a dark place filled with ghouls, ghosts, and some dark horrors including Death himself. This means that there is a collection of new enemies coming with the expansion including vicious hounds with a venomous bite and an enormous creature reminiscent of the Dungeons & Dragons Beholder monster.
Also included in Dark Arisen is a new tier of skills that allow for the super-charging of the game's existing character skills, as well as a collection of 14 new augment skills. No character classes are being added with the expansion, though off-camera Corbett said that none were needed.
As for whether or not Capcom has any plans for Dragon's Dogma after the release of Dark Arisen, Corbett and his development team is taking a wait-and-see stance but hinted that if the players want more in the future, they're likely to get it.
"We're pretty sensitive to community feedback," Corbett stated. "After this one, we'll see where it goes. We'll see how it does, and hopefully people like it."
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen carries an ESRB rating of "M for Mature".