Bonus Round: Shadow of the Nerdtree

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. If you’re a fan of some of 2022’s other biggest games like Elden Ring and Pokémon, I’ve got good news for you: they’re getting DLC expansions. Let’s get into it!

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree key art

Elden Ring DLC expansion announced

Elden Ring was one of the biggest hits of 2022, an instant classic that dominated the conversation and brought SoulsBourne games firmly into the mainstream. Now, the journey will continue: developer FromSoftware has announced that DLC expansion Shadow of the Erdtree is in development.

Other than that title, we don’t know a whole lot about the expansion. FromSoft didn’t reveal any details about what to expect, nor a release date. However, given that Elden Ring has sold over 20 million copies, we can safely assume that many gamers will be prepared to clear their calendars when Shadow of the Erdtree is released.

I would be remiss not to clarify at this point that my married name is a combination of mine and my wife’s previous surnames. It’s not an Elden Ring reference. I might be a dork, but I’m not a loser.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet expansions revealed

Elden Ring isn’t the only 2022 hit to get an expansion this week. Pokémon Day was on Monday 27 February, and the Pokémon Company marked the occasion by announcing DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero will cost £31.49/$34.99 and is available for pre-order in the eShop now. Part 1: The Teal Mask will release in autumn 2023, while Part 2: The Indigo Disk will be released in the winter. Both parts promise new locations and characters, and the return of over 230 classic Pokémon that weren’t present in Scarlet and Violet.

Scarlet and Violet have been hugely successful, setting records not only for the Pokémon franchise but for Nintendo in general. While the games were criticised for poor technical performance, many players nonetheless fell in love with their school setting and new open world structure. Personally, I’m not among them. I played Violet for about two hours back in November and haven’t felt compelled to pick it back up again. I can’t say I’m likely to pick up this DLC, but I’m glad it’s there for the Pokémon nerds who’ll appreciate it.

Project Fantasy key art

Hitman developer working on an online RPG

IO Interactive, the Danish developers of the Hitman franchise, is having a very good few years. Hitman 3 was a critical and commercial success, and recently saw the addition of a whole new roguelike mode in Freelancer. Now, the developer has announced that it’s trying its hand at something completely different: an online fantasy RPG.

IO’s press release for Project Fantasy is light on details. In fact, it seems to be more of an advertisement of job opportunities, inviting interested developers to join the fold. But it’s exciting to see IO branch out and. The developer hasn’t only made Hitman in the past; it’s also responsible for cult classic Freedom Fighters, and the Kane & Lynch franchise. But by and large, IO has made third person shooter or stealth games until now. Online fantasy RPGs aren’t really my genre, but I’m interested in anything this team makes.

Of course, it’s not the only new game IO is working on. In 2020, the developer announced Project 007, a James Bond game offering a fresh take on the 007 story. I’m a huge Hitman fan and an admirer of the Bond franchise, so that’s the one I’m really excited for. It’s probably going to be years before we get either game, but the future is looking pretty exciting for IO.