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Dreamlight Valley, Disney’s Cozy Animal Crossing-a-like, Won’t Be Free-to-Play After All

Disney Dreamlight Valley
Image: Gameloft

In a surprising move, Disney has announced that Dreamlight Valley, their Animal Crossing style life sim, won’t actually be going free to play upon its final release.

Originally, it was going to be a free game once it left Early Access. To play Disney Dreamlight Valley early, Disney and Pixar fans had to purchase a ‘founders pack’ or be an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. That, in turn, brought benefits like exclusive in-game currency and a heap of Moonstones, the in-game currency.

But now? Disney and Gameloft have done a U-turn that would impress even Lightning McQueen. They’ve announced that “..we’ve made the decision to remain a paid game for the foreseeable future.”

Why? Is it, in the words of Pitch Meeting’s producer, money? That’s almost certainly a factor. Disney Dreamlight Valley hit a million players within a few days of its September 2022 release. And, even with the Founders Edition of Disney Dreamlight Valley on Xbox Game Pass that’s a lot of people willing to pay for this Animal Crossing-style game.

But the the official explanation is that players have to pay so that Disney can deliver free content. Yes, we had to think about that for a second too.

“This choice ensures that Disney Dreamlight Valley will be able to continue delivering on a premium game experience for all players. It’s important to us that we maintain our promise to keep delivering free content updates that add new characters, realms, clothing, furniture, and more surprises to your Valley,” explains Disney’s latest Dreamlight Valley update.

The update explains players will still be able to earn Moonstones, but they’ll also be available for purchase. So while it’s becoming a paid game, it’ll still have an in-game currency that you can buy with real money. We loved – and still love – Dreamlight Valley, but it’s made us grin to see all the Scrooge McDuck jokes.

For new players there’ll be three editions, coming this December 5th. There’s the regular edition ($39.99), the physical-only Cozy Edition ($49.99) and the Gold Edition ($69.99). There are some extra cosmetic items in the Gold edition but the main difference is how many Moonstones you get. The Cozy Edition is a retail only release for Nintendo Switch.

On top of that, there’s a paid $29.99 expansion pass, A Rift in Time, in the works. Those who’ve already got the Founders Pack, or pick up before December 5th, will receive cosmetic items and moonstones.

Will Disney and Gameloft come to regret this decision? They’ll probably be too busy diving into a big pile of money, though negative reviews have started to trickle into the game’s Steam page.

Disney Dreamlight Valley’s full release arrives this December 5th on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You can read Disney and Gameloft’s update here.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.