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Expansion Pack

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This unique console example required you to physically lock cartridges together.

Extra material produced for an existing game, either by the game's original production company or by a third party. Expansion packs generally provide a new story line, more levels or maps and occasionally new items, equipment or units.

What makes an expansion different from a new game or a stand-alone game or even a sequel is that you usually need to have the original game installed to play it. The expansion contains more data for the game and does not have a game engine of its own, and it usually doesn't come with the original game. Although a few companies have been releasing standalone expansion packs, which do in fact come with the engine, and allow the gamer to play with the extra content by itself, but having the original game too may have benefits (such as an Old Save Bonus allowing you to pick up with your endgame character, and avoid bag-spillage).


There has been some controversy over the fact that additional purchasable content on some games actually consists of unlocking material which shipped with the original game. While this practice is not exactly fraudulent, and has been employed for productivity software for years (for a commonplace example, Windows Vista's five or so versions are all included on every disc, and the license key determines which features will be enabled), some gamers have felt cheated by being compelled to pay extra for content they already physically possessed.

This is not a new phenomenon. It is said that back in the 1970s, IBM would sell a low-end version of its original 360 mainframe, that if the customer ordered a higher-end version (which cost several thousand dollars for the upgrade), IBM would send out a technician who simply used a clipper to sever one wire. The technicians, of course, were told to behave as if this was a complicated procedure.


Nearly every RTS game ever made had at least one expansion pack. While the older games usually just added bonus missions that were more challenging than the original game, it has become custom to expand the different factions' unit lineup as well as frequently adding new factions to the game altogether.

MMORPGs used to rely heavily on this model and the biggest titles with physical editions still do, either as the sole method of distribution or as an option for those with poor internet connections. Free-to-Play titles deliver most of their content updates online but may occasionally bundle several patches together on a disc in an example of this trope.

Not to be confused with third party self-titled add-ons, which usually just contain maps made with the games map editor (and usually not very advanced either). Third-party add-ons are often (though not always) produced by a game's fan community, and can take the form of extended (or heavily-revised) storylines, additional missions, new weapons, or a 'Total Conversion', which is a time-intensive process that (as the name suggests) converts the game into something else entirely, and usually involves a graphical overhaul, a new soundtrack, and even (in the most extreme cases) new model design and programming extensions (some of which push the game's original engine far beyond its design limitations).

Related to Downloadable Content, which, depending on what and how much they add to their base games, are basically downloaded Expansion Packs. See Mission-Pack Sequel for when developers try to pass these off as entirely new games. (Expansion packs have sometimes been retooled as mission-pack sequels because publishers would rather have stand-alone games to sell to a wider audience, or because the hardware on a particular platform isn't conducive to physically separating the Game Engine from the scenario data.)

These aren't just for video games either; Board Games, and Euro Games in particular, are noted for having a lot of them. See also Source Book.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was going to receive one on the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD add-on, but the DD's commercial failure led to it never being released. Remnants of that plan remain in the finished game; leftover codes can force a save to be marked as a "Disk" save, but all it does is make it unusable, as it needs the never-released expansion to play. Despite this, development on Ura Zelda never truly ceased, and it did eventually see a release as Ocarina of Time: Master Quest on a bonus disc bundled with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, then later as a separate unlockable mode in the 3DS remake.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild received two expansions. The first of these, The Master Trials, adds the Trial of the Sword — a 45-level gauntlet with a fully upgraded Master Sword as a reward. It also adds a harder difficulty mode called Master Mode, a progress tracker called "Hero's Path", and additional items to help your exploration of Hyrule. The second expansion, The Champions' Ballad, adds a new storyline quest that starts after you've defeated the four Divine Beasts. This quest ultimately ends with Link gaining his own Divine Beast, the Master Cycle Zero.

    Adventure Games 
  • It Came From The Desert had the data disk Antheads: It Came from the Desert II.
  • Uru, the MMO spin-off of Myst, received a gratis expansion due to its general failure as an MMO. To D'ni gave non-beta players offline access to previously online-only areas. Path of the Shell was sold later. They rendered an installation incompatible with any online play, which had been shut down, until the GameTap-funded revival in 2007.

    Dating Sims 

    Driving Games 

    Fighting Games 

    First Person Shooters 
  • Borderlands had four DLC campaigns which added new areas to explore as well as new weapons. Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot added a bank to store extra items in while The Secret Armory of General Knoxx added in a new vehicle and a Bonus Boss meant as a high level challenge. The sequel also had DLC campaigns that followed the same formula, with each one also adding at least one new Raid Boss.
  • Crysis received Crysis Warhead.
  • Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is a direct sequel to Doom 3's story that adds to the base game a five hour campaign, three new weapons, a few new enemies, and a final boss. The BFG Edition also includes an additional mission pack titled The Lost Mission, which is a couple hours long but adds no new content besides maps.
  • Final Doom provided two full level sets in one package, TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment, the first of which was originally intended to be a freeware Game Mod until id Software struck a publishing deal with its development team.
  • Ghost Recon ultimately ended up with three: Desert Siege, which takes place during a second war between Eritrea and Ethiopia; Island Thunder, which takes place in Cuba following the projected death of Fidel Castro; and the PS2-exclusive Jungle Storm, which takes place in Colombia as the Ghosts are deployed to finish off the guerilla movements that started the problems in Island Thunder. On consoles they were released as separate games, which has left it in the somewhat unique position of the original game and its first two expansions frequently being considered a "trilogy".
  • Half-Life had a number of successful expansions, including Blue Shift, Decay, and Opposing Force, and the sequel continues this tradition proudly with the Half-Life 2 Episode One and Episode Two.
    • The class-based multiplayer game Team Fortress Classic can also be considered an expansion pack for Half-Life 1. In addition to recycling the vast majority of its assets from Half-Life 1, it was available as a free add-on for all owners of the original WON retail version of the game and was bundled with every subsequent retail release. It's not for nothing that the game sports the lambda logo on its cover art. To this day, the "Half-Life Complete" pack on Steam still includes it.
    • Thanks to Steam, the Episodes also blur the definition between expansion pack and sequel: if Half-Life 2 is installed, the Episodes will re-use assets and engine components from that game, acting like expansions; but if it isn't, they'll add the necessary files themselves.
    • Meanwhile, Blue Shift inverted the concept: It was packaged with its own copy of the engine and was in fact a full standalone install, but marketed as an expansion pack rather than a sequel due to its short length and unaltered gameplay. It was also sold at retail with Opposing Force bundled, with the two expansions together roughly equaling a full-length game.
    • A third party, We Create Stuff released (before Portal came out) a flash-based 2D game based on the idea of Valve's 3d Puzzle game. We Create Stuff then released a complete replacement map pack for Portal that can best be (charitably) described as exceedingly Nintendo Hard.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault has two of them. The first is Spearhead, which adds British and Soviet weapons like the Sten and Mosin-Nagant, and a new campaign centered on US Paratrooper Jack Barnes from his time and Normandy and Bastogne, as well as his reassignment to the OSS late in the war. The second and last is Breakthrough, which adds Italian weapons and an entirely new campaign set entirely in the Mediterranean.
  • Monolith Productions has a bit of history with both third-party and self-made expansions for their games, particularly first-person shooters:
    • Blood first had the third-party "Cryptic Passage" which just added new levels. Shortly afterward came the Monolith-produced "Post Mortem", which included new weapons, enemies, and various changes and bugfixes.
    • First Encounter Assault Recon had just third-party expansions, "Extraction Point" and "Perseus Mandate", which continued/complimented the base game's story, as well as adding new enemies and weapons.
    • F.E.A.R. 2 had the first-party, 4-mission Reborn DLC campaign.
    • Aliens vs. Predator 2 had the third-party expansion "Primal Hunt", a prequel to the base game.
    • There were also a pair of third-party expansions for Shogo: Mobile Armor Division that never saw release.
    • Blood II and TRON 2.0 each had a single first-party expansion: "The Nightmare Levels" and "Killer App", respectively.
  • Postal 2 has the Apocalypse Weekend expansion, which adds two more days to the plot, and is (now) bundled with the base game. The Paradise Lost expansion — released a whopping twelve years after the original game — is a separate purchase, and adds a plethora of new items, features, and is roughly the same length as the base game.
  • Quake had Dissolution of Eternity, by Rogue, and Scourge of Armagon by Hipnotic. Quake II had The Reckoning, by Xatrix, and Ground Zero by Rogue. And Quake III: Arena had Team Arena by Id themselves.
  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad received a standalone expansion called Rising Storm, set in the Pacific Theater, and released in May 2013. It added four new factions: the US Army and Marine Corps, and the Japanese Army and SNLF, complete with American and Japanese weapon arsenals.
  • SiN had the Wages of Sin expansion pack by 2015 Inc., which added a new set of levels, fixed a few bugs, and added a few new features, such as the ability to use the standard handgun two at a time.
  • Shaw's Nightmare had the Fotom Pak.
  • The one for Star Trek: Elite Force had the rather bluntly descriptive title of Star Trek Elite Force: The Expansion Pack.
  • Unreal had the expansion pack Return to Na Pali.

    Hack and Slash 
  • "Vergil's Downfall" for Dm C Devil May Cry.
  • The Xtreme Legends releases for the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors games. As consoles are generally not expansion-friendly, they've traditionally also worked as stand-alone games, but there's really nothing worth playing if you do use them as such... and with the advent of DLC, Koei seems to be moving towards just making them straight expansions.
  • The Sengoku Basara series has also had expansions (Battle Heroes for the second game and Utage for the third) which made certain NPC characters playable and added some new game modes.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Games 
  • Almost all MMORPGs that remain popular long enough will release numerous expansion packs. Ultima Online and EverQuest both have over a dozen expansions apiece.
  • Final Fantasy XIV is particularly notable for being terrible at launch, and only with its first expansion, A Realm Rebornnote , did it achieve the popularity it has today. Since then, three expansions have been released, each including new areas, jobs, and other content.
    • Heavensward, which includes the frozen mountains of Coerthas in which the theocracy of Ishgard is settled, in addition to a new playable race in the Au Ra and three new jobs: the gunslinging Machinist, the card-powered Astrologian, and the menacingly noble Dark Knight.
    • Stormblood, which takes the action eastward into the conquered nations of Ala Mhigo and Doma. Three more classes also join the ranks: the Samurai, the Red Mage, and later on the Blue Mage.
    • Shadowbringers brings the heroes to the light-ravaged world of the First, brings two more classes into the fold (Gunbreaker and Dancer), and introduces two new playable races (the Viera and Hrothgar).
  • The Phantasy Star series from Online onward:
    • Phantasy Star Online had two expansions over the course of its run: Episode 1 & 2 adds a second story campaign and three additional character types, while the PC-Exclusive Blue Burst adds another campaign in the form of "Episode 4".note 
    • Phantasy Star Universe has Ambition of the Illuminous, which includes new content and a new story campaign that focuses more on player-created characters.
    • Phantasy Star Online 2 has a yearly tradition of rolling out loads of new content each year in the form of "Episodes", each of which includes new stages and classes.
  • The first PlanetSide had the paid-for Core Combat expansion, which added underground caverns made by the Precursors, several new ancient weapons, vehicles, and game mechanics. However, the expansion flopped, with very few players entering the exclusive underground zones. The Aftershock free expansion added Humongous Mecha and required Core Combat, though both were eventually made available to all subscribers.
  • Rift had Storm Legion, which promised to triple the size of the game's world.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • Rise of the Hutt Cartel, which introduces storylines on Makeb and Oricon, and the daily quest hub CZ-198.
    • Galactic Strongholds, which gives players access to customizable Player Headquarters.
    • Galactic Starfighter, which introduces an objective-based PvP mode.
    • Shadow of Revan, which introduces storylines on Manaan, Rishi, Yavin 4 and Ziost.
    • Knights of the Fallen Empire, which introduces an episodic single-player campaign, the planets Zakuul and Odessen, and an overhauled gear and companion system.
  • World of Warcraft.
    • The Burning Crusade, which released Outland as the Expansion Pack World (seeing a connection already?) in addition to a lot of other stuff, including two new playable races.
    • Wrath of the Lich King opens up a new continent, Northrend, and introduces death knights as a playable class.
    • Cataclysm, besides adding new areas, refactors all the initial zones to the game's then-current standards, introduces two more races, and adds high-level stuff amidst the old zones that have largely been ignored.
    • Mists of Pandaria adds the continent of Pandaria, playable pandaren for both factions, and the monk class.
    • Warlords of Draenor features the world of Draenor, an alternate universe past version of Outland, and updates player character models.
    • Legion introduces the Broken Isles, customizable Evolving Weapons, and the demon hunter class.
    • Battle for Azeroth adds allied races (basically unlockable sub-races) and lets Alliance players quest in Kul'Tiras and Horde players quest in Zandalar.
    • Shadowlands opens up the titular afterlife as a new area, and revamps leveling, crunching the huge 120 levels to just 60.

    Idle Game 

    Platform Games 
  • New Super Mario Bros. U has New Super Luigi U, which contains 82 levels that are more difficult than the standard game. Luigi U is also a standalone retail release, playing with the trope.
  • Skylanders has several expansions per game that add new levels, battle arenas, or racetracks.
  • Probably the ultimate expansion pack would be Sonic & Knuckles, a cartridge game that literally attached to the previous title, Sonic the Hedgehog 3! This was because they were originally meant to be one game, but it was split in half, both in order to meet the deadline and due to the full game's unusually large filesize (it couldn't fit on a normal cartridge, and instead had to be put onto either two normal carts or one very expensive larger cart), and a lock-on system was devised to allow the games to be played on their own or combined into one game. The feature also allowed people to lock Sonic & Knuckles onto other games - locking it onto Sonic 2 allowed players to play through 2 as Knuckles, and as an additional Easter Egg, locking it onto the first Sonic game resulted in an expanded version of the 3 & Knuckles sphere-collecting Bonus Stage with 128,016,000 different possible stage layouts and a password system allowing players to select whichever layout they wished, and locking it onto any other game would result in roughly the same but without the ability to advance through the stages after completing them.

  • Nine months after Metallica was released, Stern Pinball conducted a fan poll for two more songs to be added via a software update. The winners were "Ride the Lightning" and "Blackened".
  • The Pinball Arcade is a framework for playing digital reproductions of Physical Pinball Tables. Players buy packs of one or two tables to add games as desired. They can also try games for free, but play stops once the lowest high score is reached.
  • Zaccaria Pinball has Time Machine as a free table, but additional games must be paid for separately.
  • Similarly, Zen Pinball and Pinball FX comes with Sorcerer's Lair for free, but additional tables (most of which have prominent licenses) require separate in-app purchases.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Oh No! More Lemmings was originally conceived as an Expansion Pack for Lemmings, though was released as a standalone game. It is abundantly evident in the learning curve, which is a lot steeper in Oh No! More Lemmings, where there's one category of stupidly easy levels that were clearly added in as an afterthought, followed by four categories of Nintendo Really Fucking Hard madness...
  • Owners of Tetris: The Grand Master 2 — The Absolute got a free update kit called Tetris: The Grand Master 2 — The Absolute PLUS (commonly referred to as "TAP"), which added some new modes: TGM+ (garbage rises from the bottom if you're clearing lines too slowly), T.A. Death (pieces drop instantly and you must survive for 500 levels, or 999 if you clear the first 500 fast enough), and allowed players to play Doubles mode on one credit. In addition, the "Grand Master" rank in Master mode is more difficult to obtain, as if it wasn't already hard enough.
  • Worms: Reinforcements was an expansion for the original Worms that added a single-player challenge mode, new sounds and custom levels, and many game balance adjustments. Added items were health crates and the Mole Bomb (which rarely appeared due to a bug).

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Every Age of Empires title got an expansion that introduced new factions and units.
    • Age of Empires has The Rise of Rome, which also added the ability to queue unit production instead of manually ordering one at a time.
    • Age of Empires II has The Conquerors, which introduced New World civilizations to the series (and added Spain and Korea). The HD Edition added The Forgotten, with 5 new civilizations, and The African Kingdoms, which added four more civilizations.
    • Age of Empires III has The Warchiefs, which added playable Native American factions, and The Asian Dynasties, which added Asian factions in the Americas.
    • Age of Mythology has The Titans, with a new campaign and enormous Titan units for all civilizations. The HD Edition added another expansion, called Tales of the Dragon, focused on Chinese Mythology.
  • Battle Zone 1998 had the second-party developed The Red Odyssey expansion, which included two new brutally difficult campaigns; one for the returning American NSDF, and another for the new Chinese Red Army, which avoided the Cosmetically Different Sides of the NSDF versus Soviet CCA of the vanilla game. A mission pack containing 45 instant action and 52 multiplayer maps was also released. In the Updated Re-release, The Red Odyssey was released later as DLC.
  • The Command & Conquer series considers them obligatory. The first few (The Covert Operations for the first game, and Counterstrike for Red Alert) just added new missions, but from The Aftermath for Red Alert, they always added new units as well.
    • Tiberian Sun: Firestorm, while adding little to the core gameplay, had a new internet mode that allowed players to join either the GDI or Nod in an attempt to conquer the world.
    • Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge added a third faction lead by the eponymous Soviet psychic, as well as adding new units to the existing factions (the Soviets in particular underwent significant changes, what with Yuri taking all their psychic tech with him).
    • Kane's Wrath, in addition to bringing the "multiple branches per faction" idea from Red Alert 2 to the Tiberium games, also told the story of what exactly Kane was up to both between Firestorm and Tiberium Wars, and between TW and Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight.
    • Red Alert 3: Uprising has the obligatory three "what happened after the war" campaigns, along with a fourth campaign telling the Origin Story of the Empire's special infantry unit, Yuriko Omega.
  • Company of Heroes had two standalone expansion packs — Opposing Fronts added a British faction and the German Panzer Elite for multiplayer-use along with single-player campaigns for the factions. Tales Of Valor provided three single-player episodes, new units for the multiplayer factions which would replace current units while chosen, and three new multiplayer game modes (two strongly resembling a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and another being a Hold the Line game mode).
  • Commandos had a standalone expansion titled Beyond The Call Of Duty that added new missions which upped the difficulty, changed the commandos' voices, and added new weapons and equipment for the commandos, including non-lethal attacks for the Green Beret, the Driver, and the Spy.
  • Dawn of War:
    • The game's first expansion pack, Winter Assault added the Imperial Guard as a playable faction, playable with its own story campaign. Dark Crusade also introduced two additional races (The Tau and the Necron), and "Risk"-Style Map campaign, which was a Standalone Expansion Pack.
    • Dawn of War also got a third expansion pack, Soulstorm which added Dark Eldar and the Sisters of Battle.
    • Dawn of War had a notable exception, or at least Playing With, to the typical restriction of needing the original version: You actually could buy and play the expansion packs standalone, and freely play the single-player campaigns. However, playing Multiplayer restricted you only to the factions introduced in that expansion pack.
  • Dawn of War II had two standalone expansion packs: "Chaos Rising", which introduced Chaos, and "Retribution", which introduced the Imperial Guard. Chaos Rising was the traditional version of an expansion pack, while Retribution was a standalone. Retribution discarded the previous game's requirements for multiplayer factions, as well, making all six factions playable by itself.
  • Empire at War: Forces of Corruption adds a third faction to fight both The Empire and Rebellion, the organized crime of the Star Wars universe. It also includes new maps and a new storyline.
  • Massive Entertainment's first RTS Ground Control received an expansion pack, furthering the adventures of major Parker. A few faction tweaks and some additional options for units added a bit more depth.
  • Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots introduces six new factions, as well as new campaigns, game modes, and game mechanics.
  • The Brood War expansion for StarCraft picked up the story with a 20-hour campaign and added 8 new units (to complement the original's 30 non-builder units).
  • StarCraft II has two standalone expansions. The first game, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, serves as a base for both StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (released March 2013) and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (released November 2015).
    • Wings of Liberty is the terran (human) campaign, Heart of the Swarm is the zerg campaign, and Legacy of the Void is the protoss campaign. Each section has 20+ missions on its own, more than the total of all three factions' in previous installments. Wings gives each race about 15 general non-builder units, plus 10 campaign-specific ones for the terrans. Heart adds 2-3 new general units per race and 14 campaign-specific ones for the zerg. Legacy adds 2-3 new general units per race and 23 campaign-specific ones for the protoss.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds had Clone Campaigns as its Expansion Pack. This included two new campaigns, two new factions (Confederacy and Galactic Republic), as well as new techs and units.
  • Syndicate had an expansion for the first game titled American Revolt.
  • Total Annihilation had two expansion packs, The Core Contingency and Battle Tactics. The first was a full expansion complete with campaign and dozens of new units, the second a map and mission pack.
  • Warcraft II had Beyond the Dark Portal, which took the fight, well, beyond the Dark Portal, to the orcs' homeworld of Draenor, adding several hero units and a new tileset in the process.
  • Warcraft III had the Frozen Throne, which added lots of new heroes, units, buildings and maps in addition to a new campaign. One of the new places visited in the story was Outland, the ruined remains of Draenor.

  • The Binding of Isaac has had multiple expansions. Typical features are new room types, tonnes of new items, a new character or two, and a new Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Wrath of the Lamb more than doubled the content of the original game, adding so much stuff the team had to stop because it was more than Flash could handle. This inspired them to remake the game in a new engine with all the missing content a few years later. Said remake has also had a few expansions, with the final one, Repentance, being the largest addition to the game ever.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Originally designed as Baldur's Gate III, Baldur's Gate II's expansion Throne of Bhaal was the climax to the Bhaalspawn story. (The game that would later be developed as a "Baldur's Gate 3", The Black Hound, had nothing to do with the BG series' Bhaalspawn saga. It was only named that due to Interplay lacking the rights to make Dungeons & Dragons games that weren't called "Baldur's Gate", the same reason for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Throne of Bhaal was more a "proper" expansion pack, as compared to Tales of the Sword Coast, which added a few dungeons (though they were big ones!), spells, and items and raised the level cap without actually impacting the main story. The original Baldur's Gate eventually received a proper story-driven expansion pack, Siege of Dragonspear... but only in its 2012 Updated Re-release incarnation by Beamdog.
  • Blue Dragon had a pack of special items released for download, then an entire new Bonus Dungeon, then a New Game+ mode that made the game super difficult.
  • City of Villains is an expansion pack and Gaiden Game for City of Heroes. It is also an example of an expansion that is fully built into the core game, and has to be unlocked by paying the complete price of an additional game. Furthermore, as of the end of 2006 City of Heroes has at least two smaller "bonus" packages that add extra powers and costume options to the game which can only be activated via separate purchases from NCSoft. (As of 2008, the games are no longer separate and everyone who had only one can access the other for no extra cost. 2010's Praetorean story arcs will be another stand-alone gaiden game that can be an expansion pack for City of Heroes / Villains.)
  • Diablo II had an expansion, Lord of Destruction, where you traveled to the Barbarians' homeland of Arreat and fought Diablo's older brother (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • The original Diablo had an official expansion pack called Hellfire, but it was made by a third party and was pretty sloppy in quality.
    • Diablo III has Reaper of Souls, which adds a new act, a new class and many more.
  • Divinity II: Flames of Vengeance continued the story of Divinity II: Ego Draconis so well, that they were henceforth only ever released bundled together (under the subtitle The Dragon Knight Saga).
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening picks up the story where Origins left off, with you in charge of rebuilding the Grey Wardens in Ferelden. You have the option of importing an Origins character sans any DLC content save the "Return to Ostagar" stuff (since the other DLC content is incompatible for some reason), or starting fresh with a level 18 Orlesian Grey Warden Commander. There are enough new features to call it an expansion (new talents, higher level cap, new companions), but not enough to call it a sequel (it's still basically the same game).
    • Dragon Age II was expected to have an expansion pack, as well, titled Exalted March. However, due to the sequel's controversial reception, all planned expansions for it were scrapped a year after the release (except for two DLC campaigns that have been released in the meantime). Some parts of the expansion's planned storyline, according to the Word of God, were reintroduced in the next main game.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire was originally planned to be an expansion pack to Daggerfall, but this idea was scrapped during development. Battlespire was then released as a stand-alone Dungeon Crawler.
    • Morrowind has two expansion packs, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, adding additional areas and quests, and possibilities (as the title hints, the character can become a lycanthrope). However, they also update the game .exe to include additional functions not present in patches for the original game, introducing unfortunate dependencies on the expansion packs for the vast majority of the enormous selection of Morrowind Game Mods created by the community.
    • Oblivion has had several small downloadable content packs, and two full sized expansions — Knights of the Nine and The Shivering Isles.
    • Skyrim has two major DLC expansions, the first being Dawnguard. It adds small new areas to the ends of the world map, and new vampire and werewolf content with a quest line where you can choose to join the vampires or Dawnguard (vampire hunters). The second major expansion, Dragonborn, adds Solstheim, the Nord-ruled island north of Morrowind from the Bloodmoon expansion, as well as side trips into the realm of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge. The Special Edition includes both of these expansions out of the box.
  • Fallout 3. Mothership Zeta, The Pitt, Operation Anchorage, and Point Lookout all count, but the most important DLC is Broken Steel, which completely changes the ending of the vanilla game so as to allow you to play after beating it, as well as adding some new sidequests and increasing the level cap.
    • Fallout: New Vegas does similarly, with added bonuses: Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road, in addition to the obligatory new sidequests and items, increase the player's level cap by 5 per expansion (up to 50 with all four). There's also the Gun Runners' Arsenal, which as its name suggests adds a ton of new (highly-expensive) weapons for the player to use, and the Courier's Stash, which gives the player all four of the pre-order armor and weapon sets.
    • Fallout 4 is different in that it has two big expansions with several smaller ones: the two big ones are Far Harbor and Nuka-World, which bring the player character to new locations, with the smaller ones being Automatron, Wasteland Workshop, Contraptions Workshop, and Vault-Tec Workshop, which add several more options for the settlement building in-game.
  • Tribes of the East, the second and last add-on to Heroes of Might and Magic 5, is an example of a stand-alone expansion. Mostly so because the main game's flaws, which mostly were addressed in this expansion, caused mediocre sales. However, there is no real bonus to owning the main game and the expansion, since all features except the campaigns are contained in TotE.
  • The original Icewind Dale also received a very short expansion pack, Heart of Winter. The game designers acknowledged the short length of Heart of Winter and released a free downloadable second expansion pack called Trials of the Luremaster. You need your copy of Heart of Winter installed to play it however.
  • Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 each had enough Downloadable Content to collectively count as good-sized expansion packs, and could be purchased together by buying the season passes. 3 added 13 hours of single player gameplay in four episodic packs,note  dozens of new weapons and powers, one new full party member, several new guest party members, and two new sets of enemies and bosses (plus 'possessed' variants for the Collectors). 2 which added 11 hours of single-player gameplay in six episodic packs,note  two full party members, two guest party members, a new vehicle with unique levels and mechanics, about a dozen new weapons and powers, four bosses,note  and new variants for many existing enemies. 3 also received about an expansion pack's worth of free multiplayer updatesnote  that easily doubled the amount of content available in that mode in terms of classes, weapons, maps, and enemies.
  • Monster Hunter: World has Iceborne, which introduces the long-awaited cold-weather area, the highest quest rank, many iconic returning monsters such as Nargacuga, Tigrex, and Glavenus; and new ones like Namielle, Shara Ishvalda, and subspecies for monsters seen in the vanilla game. In comparison, previous games used to be re-released with expanded content, and whenever possible included an option to import saves into those expanded versions so players didn't have to start over again.
  • Neverwinter Nights had two clear expansions, Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark, each of which introduced a new campaign, several new spells, weapons, feats, and prestige classes. Hordes of the Underdark also increased the level cap, introducing an epic tier to the game. In a strange twist, canonically the PC of Hordes of the Underdark is the same as Shadows of Undrentide, but NOT the same as the one in the original campaign.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 ended up with two expansion packs too: Mask of the Betrayer, which is considered by many to be the Spiritual Successor to Planescape: Torment as well as Storm of Zehir which attempted to replicate the dungeon crawling style of the Icewind Dale games. NWN2 also had a smaller expansion titled Mysteries of Westgate that was distributed as DLC.
  • Persona 3 proved so popular that an expansion game, Persona 3: FES was released. This contains the original game but with an extra difficulty level (Hard), new calendar events and additional Personae to summon. The real meat of the expansion comes in the form of an extra 20-30hr scenario which serves as a direct sequel to the events of the main game. All this plus the fact that it retails for less than the original means that there's little to no reason to purchase the original any more.
  • Pokémon:
    • While most of the Post-End Game Content in the series falls under Playable Epilogue, the Kanto Region in Pokémon Gold and Silver counts as an Expansion Pack that shipped with the original game. GSC was technically "beat" when Lance was defeated, allowing your player to go to the Hall of Fame. From there you went back home and learned about Kanto there. Sure, there is only a minimal, bare-bones villain plot in Kanto, but you get (most of) its set of Gym Leaders,note  several new Pokemon,note  plus a Champion at the end: Red.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield has two DLC expansion packs "The Isle of Armor" and "The Crown Tundra", eschewing the traditional third-versions for a pair of games. The packs bring new areas, challenges, and new and returning Pokémon. After both expansions had been released, the physical game was rereleased with the expansions already included.
  • Sorcerian had three add-on scenario packs released in Japan by Falcom, the latter two shifting the setting to Sengoku Japan and Ancient Egypt. There were also two third-party scenario disks, not counting the five Selected Sorcerian disks of Official Fan-Submitted Content.
  • Each of the "Soulsborne" games by FromSoftware (bar Demon's Souls) got an expansion pack in the form of Downloadable Content. Either one single DLC, or multiple episodic DLCs that are closely connected. Generally, their DLC includes new areas, bosses, enemies, and weapons, and are set in either the distant future or the distant past.
    • Dark Souls 1 has Artorias of the Abyss, set centuries before the first game, with the Chosen Undead taking the place of Knight Artorias, rescuing Dusk of Oolacile and killing Manus, Father of the Abyss. It ties directly into the sequel, as Nashandra was born from a fragment of Manus' soul.
    • Dark Souls 2 got three separate episodic campaigns that were later released as one in the form of the Lost Crowns DLC.
    • Dark Souls 3 has two DLCs that are directly tied to each other, with The Ringed City picking up directly where Ashes of Ariandel leaves off. In the latter, the Ashen One enters the Painted World of Ariandel at the request of a mysterious Old Soldier named Slave Knight Gael and battles its corrupted inhabitants in an effort to burn away the rot infecting it. In the latter, the Ashen One pursues Gael through the titular isolated city and ends up in the future at the end of the world due to the city being an island in the sea of time sustained by a slumbering god. The Ashen One then has to fight their way through the dying city in order to retrieve 'pigment' for the Painter, who intends to create a new Painted World for refugees of the dying old worlds. Serves as the Distant Finale for the whole Souls series.
    • Bloodborne has The Old Hunters. The Hunter travels to the Hunter's Nightmare, a world where hunters from the past are trapped forever. In the process they discover the source of Yharnam's curse.
  • Ur-Example: Epyx's games Temple of Apshai and Hellfire Warrior each had two expansions: Upper Reaches of Apshai and Curse of Ra for the former, and The Keys of Acheron and Danger in Drindisti for the latter.
  • Touhou Labyrinth received an expansion pack in the form of Labyrinth of Touhou Plus Disc. The expansion pack added ten more floors to explore after the main game, more playable characters, new items, extra bosses, and a New Game+ feature. The expansion pack's content were later added in the Labyrinth of Touhou Special Disc re-release along with more extra features and improvements.
  • Ultima:
    • Ultima VII: The Black Gate had an expansion titled Forge of Virtue.
    • Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle is sometimes mistaken for an expansion pack, but was actually the next fully-fledged installment of the series — the only reason it wasn't released as "Ultima VIII" was that due to time constraints, it ran on the same Game Engine as The Black Gate and series creator Richard Garriott insisted on programming an engine from scratch for each numbered installment. Serpent Isle eventually got its own expansion, The Silver Seed, but due to clumsy marketing and a rushed release (ordered by corporate suits), The Silver Seed was shipped partially unfinished; while the expansion is in 'winnable', numerous unchecked plot holes, dangling story threads, and even one or two only partially-designed-but-abandoned-midway sidequests mar the experience.
    • Ultima VIII was supposed to receive its own expansion, The Lost Vale, but it became a sad case of Vaporware.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt added two: Hearts Of Stone and Blood And Wine. The former adds more quests and a new storyline to the Velen/Novigrad region along with new monsters and roaming bands of former Order Of The Flaming Rose knights. The latter adds a new region, Toussaint, and is practically a whole extra game in terms of content. Also, unless being played standalone, it can't be accessed until Dandelion is rescued during the base game's main questline.
  • Xanadu Scenario II: The Resurrection of Dragon, an expansion to Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu which included some of Yuzo Koshiro's earliest video game music.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has Torna ~ The Golden Country, a prequel set during the Aegis War prominent in the game's backstory. It has different battle mechanics from the main story and is substantial and separate enough that it's available as a standalone title.

    Rhythm Games 
  • Rock Band has Track Packs, which consist of 20 or so songs that are usually available as DLC in the main games packaged onto a disc to give players unwilling to purchase DLC or without an Internet connection a sampling of the massive list of downloadable songs available for the series. Some of the songs are timed exclusives for the Track Pack before getting released as DLC later. Those with an Internet connection can use a one-time code on the instruction manual to port the songs over to the main games' library. The entries include:
    • Vol. 1 (Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 2 only)note 
    • AC/DC Live: AC/DC's setlist off their Live at Donington movie/album from their 1991 show at Donington Park. Unlike the other Track Packs, songs on this one are entirely exclusive and were never released as DLC.
    • Vol. 2
    • Classic Rock
    • Country
    • Metal
    • Country Vol. 2

    Sandbox Games 
  • Assassin's Creed III has an expansion pack called The Tyranny of King Washington. Curiously enough, it ended up getting split into three DLCs instead of one whole set.
  • Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 for the Playstation actually required you to have the original GTA disc to boot it. That is, it wasn't standalone like a Mission-Pack Sequel.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, two downloadable expansion packs that were originally Xbox 360 exclusive, but were released for the Playstation 3 and PC a few months later.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has The Frozen Wilds, an expansion that includes a separate storyline, an entirely different set of collectables from the rest of the game, and new, deadlier Machines.
  • Subverted by Mount & Blade. Warband was formerly announced as a classic expansion pack, then became a standalone one and was later on finally confirmed as a greatly Updated Re-release (and minor Continuity Reboot).
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a stand-alone expansion that uses the gameplay systems of Saints Row IV while also adding tons of new content.
  • X-Universe series:
    • The first game X: Beyond The Frontier has the X:Tension xtension pack, which expands the content and allows the player to purchase and fly other ships.
    • X3: Terran Conflict is a standalone expansion pack for X3: Reunion, though it offers so much new content that it is typically referred to as a separate game. X3: Albion Prelude is an expansion pack of an expansion pack — it requires Terran Conflict to run, though it runs from a separate executable and the player does not carry over progress in from Terran Conflict.
  • X Rebirth received two, which were timed to release simultaneously with massive free Downloadable Content updates that address core gameplay issues.
    • The Teladi Outpost adds a new ship set, solar system, some new mechanics and such, and unlike all previous expansion packs it allows you to continue on your old save game. 'Teladi Outpost was free for all owners to pre-order until the day of release, as a way to Win Back the Crowd after the game's disastrous launch a year prior.
    • Home Of Light adds three new solar systems - one of which has unique spatial anomalies - new factions, new weapons, and a new station type.

    Simulation Games 
  • Its successor, the ARMA series, upped the ante quite a bit. The first game, Armed Assault, only had a single standard expansion, Queen's Gambit (with an additional island and a new campaign). Then ARMA II came along and received some DLC. But the real expansion pack and DLC fever started with the release of ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead, itself a standalone expansion to the original II (with a brand new setting and lots of new features). So far, Arrowhead has received the British Armed Forces, Private Military Company, Reinforcements and the Army of the Czech Republic expansions. And lately, ARMA's helicopter sim cousin Take On Helicopters has also been receiving various small expansions, usually in the form of Downloadable Content.
  • Descent II: The Vertigo Series and Descent 3: Mercenaries.
  • The Porsche expansion pack in Forza Motorsport 4 re-introduces 23 of Forza Motorsport 3's Porsches, adds 7 new ones that weren't in previous games, adds achievements, and adds more single player events.
    • A Rally expansion pack was revealed for Horizon about a week before release. Later on, a free expansion pack called the 1000 Club was released that added special small tasks for players to complete in every single car in the game.
    • Horizon 2 received an expansion pack called Storm Island that added a whole open world island for players to drive on, complete with its own championship. Later on, the game received its own Porsche expansion pack. Additionally, a standalone expansion called Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious was released initially for free for a couple weeks' time that was essentially a glorified demo of the full game complete with its own storyline and set of achievements, and was also released on Xbox 360 unlike the other two expansions that were released only for the Xbox One.
  • The first generation IL-2 Sturmovik series released its new games as standalone expansions, with smaller addons (new planes, maps, missions and audio packs) usually released either as classic expansion packs or Downloadable Content.
  • Fasa's MechWarrior 2 received several: Ghost Bear's Legacy and a multiplayer expansion called the 8 player pack.
    • Might be mistaken for an expansion: MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries was a standalone game.
    • MechWarrior 3 got one as well, a bit harder to find though. Pirates Moon it was called.
    • Pretty much all incarnations of MechWarrior 4 received an expansion:
      • MechWarrior 4: Vengeance was followed up by MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, which continued the story from a different view point. Pretty much Darker and Edgier, as it picked up after the worst possible ending. Pretty much Battletechs/MechWarriors m.o.
      • Another expansion for MechWarrior 4: the Clan 'Mech and Inner Sphere 'Mech packs. Adding additional Battlemechs and weapon system to the games. Only usable in Multiplay however.
      • While not an expansion per se, MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries plays around the same timeframe as Vengeance and Black Knight. Furthermore, the 'Mech pack expansions could be installed for Mercenaries as well.
    • Same universe, different genre: the first MechCommander game received a gold upgrade. Which included different difficulty settings (and boy did the vanilla game need one!) and a whole new multi-mission campaign!
  • The original Operation Flashpoint : Cold War Crisis first received the Red Hammer expansion, which only added a new campaign for the Soviet forces and was made by the game's publisher (Codemasters). The second and more substantial expansion was Resistance, which was made by the main developers again and offered a lot of technical and gameplay improvements (RPG Elements, sidearms, better sounds, animations and graphics) in addition to a new setting and new guerilla warfare-themed campaign. Notably, the devs also offered various vehicle and weapon addons prior and after the release of Resistance in the form of free Downloadable Content — this was still a relatively new concept back in 2002-2004. All of the addons and most of the expansions were later included in the collector's edition of the game.
  • Rainbow Six had a follow up in the form of Eagle Watch, a series of depressingly tough levels. It's sequel contained Urban Operations that included mod support (such as replacing Rainbow with SEAL Team Six and several 9/11 fan add ons), Covert Operations that includes a counterterror encyclopedia and officer test (in story one of the members of Rainbow was moving from an enlisted soldier to intel), and Black Thorn, which interestingly changed an airport level to a bus terminal after September 11, and the developers released the map for modders to play around with. The third game was followed up by Athena Sword and a Korean only expansion pack that is free to download. The XBOX and PS2 conversions were similar in having stand alone expansions to the main game, some deviating from the PC versions.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon. The first three games have had two expansion packs each.
  • The Operation Jumpagate expansion to the 3DO game Shockwave is a rare console example: it was unplayable if the player did not have a complete save file of the original Shockwave.
  • Silent Hunter IV has the expansion U-Boat Missions, that allows you to command a German submarine with base on the Japanese-occupied South Eastern Asia.
  • The Sims is worldwide known for being an Expansion Pack Cash Cow Franchise, the first one having seven expansion packs (all now conveniently packed with the original for the price of one game, spiting everyone who actually bought them separately) and the sequel having 8 expansion packs containing new game features and content, and 10 lower priced 'stuff packs' containing content only. The Sims 3 has 11 expansion packs and 9 Stuff packs. The Sims 4 has 10 expansion packs and 12 'Stuff' packs so far.
  • Starfleet Command series gained a massive one for the second incarnation, adding new factions like the Orion Syndicate. Full title: Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Orion Pirates
  • How Commander Pavel Chekhov ever became a full fledged commander is beyond many. Apparently he lost a whole disc with missions for Interplay's Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Luckily these were found and added in an expansion called... Chekhov's Lost Mission. It did not add much to the core game, aside from 5 new missions with brutal difficulty, tying up a few dropped story lines.
  • SWAT 4 had The Stetchkov Syndicate. It added a new single player campaign with seven missions related to the titular Bulgarian mafia clan, numerous AI, command interface and multiplayer improvements, and several new weapons, including a nifty tear gas grenade launcher, a special marksman rifle and a more modern taser pistol that could double as a melee weapon.
  • Tamagotchi: The Tamagotchi P's in Japan feature USB-like items called a "pierce", which downloads new characters, items, destinations and backgrounds into the toy. The Tama-Go in the US had a similar thing with the "Gotchi Figures"; when plugged in, they added new games and items.
  • Vietcong had Fist Alpha and Red Dawn, while Vietcong 2 had Fist Bravo.
  • Wing Commander has expansion packs for both the first two "mainline" games and for the spinoff Privateer. Once the series began using Live Action Cutscenes, however, it became impractical.
    • For context, Secret Ops was the sequel to Prophecy, which was released for free in a series of episodic releases. Instead of FMV, there was additional text-based content (in the form of emails, news articles, posted orders, etc.) that you would look up online between episodes. The game was eventually taken offline, and was only legally available afterwards as part of the "Prophecy Gold" package, a box that included Wing Commander Prophecy and Wing Commander Secret Ops. Without the online story content.
    • The SNES version of Secret Missions, the first WC1 add-on, was a fully separate game that didn't need the original, but that was a function of cartridge-based games for which the method described in the Sonic & Knuckles example, above, was impractical on the basis of costs (WC at the time not being the cash cow that was the Sonic series).
  • The first Zoo Tycoon game had two: Dinosaur Digs & Marine Mania. The second had four: Endangered Species, African Adventure, Marine Mania & Extinct Animals.

    Stealth Games 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions was, in America and Japan, simply a (literal) mission pack spinoff to the original MGS. Unfortunately, for reasons known only to Konami, they added a disc-check onto the European versions, requiring players to own Metal Gear Solid for the game to boot. Doubly-unfortunately, the disc check doesn't work on certain PS2 models and most PS3 ones, rendering European copies of Special Missions unplayable on those consoles.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was followed by Portable Ops Plus, a stand-alone expansion that focused on adding more multiplayer modes and character types from other MGS games in addition to those featured in the original MPO.

    Third Person Shooters 
  • Splatoon 2 has an expansion released in June 2018, Octo Expansion. It adds a second single player campaign where an amnesiac Octoling, with the help of the New Squidbeak Splatoon, must escape from the depths of a subway station and make it to the surface of Inkopolis, at which point the ability to play as an Octoling in Turf Wars is unlocked.

    Turn-based Strategy/ 4 X 
  • Civilization has this as a tradition beginning in earnest with the third installment. In each case, there are two expansions, with the second expansion including all or most of the content from the first. The pattern has been that the first expansion is mostly just new content grafted onto the base game, while the second also includes some upgrades and refinements to the game mechanics made after consultation with the player community. In III and IV, the second expansion also featured most of the "scenario" variants (typically based on a particular historical period, e.g. Sengoku Japan or Charlemagne's wars).
    • Civilization III: Play the World and Conquests
    • Civilization IV: Warlords and Beyond the Sword
    • Civilization V also has two expansion packs — Gods and Kings and Brave New World.
  • Endless Space has the Disharmony expansion pack, which introduces a new mechanically unusual race and revamps the oft maligned combat system, along with a host of other smaller changes. The game also has about a dozen free micro-expansion packs, which introduce new Hero Units, planetary anomalies, and random events.
  • Endless Legend has the Guardians expansion pack that adds five unique and extremely powerful Elemental Embodiment Hero Units, civilization wonders, city specialization, random events, and new terrain anomalies.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri has the Alien Crossfire expansion pack, which adds five new human factions and two new alien ones.
  • Syndicate has a single expansion pack called American Revolt. It is notably quite difficult.

    Non-video game examples 
  • Real Life version: At Disney Theme Parks, Toontown was added to Disney World (although after the New Fantasyland expansion it became the Storybook Circus sub-area), New Orleans Square and Bear Country (Critter Country today) to Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure for Disneyland Resort.
  • Every Collectible Card Game in existence. Magic: The Gathering averages one expansion every 4 months or so. Yu-Gi-Oh can top that with a new set every three months. As well as all the special packs.
  • Also popular with board games. Settlers of Catan has several expansion packs as does Alhambra. Sometimes these are combined into one set as a 'big box' release.
  • Dominion is an interesting case. There are 10 expansions (3 small (150-card), 5 standard (300-card), 1 large (400-card), and 1 extra-large (500-card)) and one set that contains basic cards with updated art. To play any game, you need a base set (Original or the first edition Intrigue) or the non-playable base set plus any expansion. To make this confusing mix even odder, while the non-playable base-set contains only cards that are in the base set and intrigue, they're an updated design, so some players may purchase this set even if they already have one of the two base sets. It provides no new cards, but they are nicer-looking versions of old cards you might have at least two full sets of already.
  • Trivial Pursuit has its share. Feeling like questions about decades? Music? Sports? Movies?
  • Supplements for tabletop RPGs are almost inevitably this. It's in the nature of these games that all one usually really needs to buy to play one are from one to three "core" rulebooks and any special dice it requires — but that doesn't keep rules expansions, new setting information (or new settings altogether), pre-made scenarios and the like from also selling.


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