Hacked Off: The Strange Place Pre-Orders and Special Editions Are In at the Moment

Pre-orders are getting out of hand, just like DLC did all those moons ago. There once was a time where you would just go into a shop, on release if you wished, and pick up the game. Nowadays there are about 125 options for you to pick from, all with exclusive items.

I have no problem with people who want to pre-order a game. If you want it that much, I’m sure committing to buying it is no issue. Sure, you might get the game cheaper after a couple months. Some people are fine with this, others not. Personally, I say knock yourself out, do what you want. The first game I ever pre-ordered was Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. I know, of all the games that I could have pre-ordered up to that point, that was the one I decided on. What can I say? I’m stupid. Before this I had never seen the point of pre-ordering. I would just get the game on the day of release if I still wanted it. It’s not even that Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts came with anything extra. I just really wanted it. I had been waiting too long for a new one. Look what happened though – disappointment.

Since then, there has been a long list of games I’ve pre-ordered. At least now they actually have a reason for a pre-order. Exclusive items. The items you get range from physical items, normally concept art and a couple other smaller items. A new addition has been cosmetic items in the game; maybe a special weapon, which is useful for all of five minutes, or a clothing item. Obviously, this is a genius way for developers to get people to lock in sales. None of the items offered are sold separately, so if you want them, you have to get the special editions they come with. It’s not even like we can stand up against this. There is no way all gamers would strike against pre-ordering a game to try and get them to stop. It’s the same thing that happened with DLC. People wanted to stop publishers/developers from selling extra content through DLC by not buying it, but loads still did. Hence, the DLC world we are now in.

The games that annoy me the most are those that have multiple pre-orders available across multiple shops. This means if you wanted to get everything, you’d have to buy the several copies of the game. While most of the things are cosmetic, why shouldn’t that bother us? Oh, just because that person pre-ordered it from this shop, they get a cool outfit, but then again I got this cool item. The Final Fantasy XV special edition I pre-ordered came with the travel pack. There was no indication what any of the packs did, but different places offered different ones. This one cut the prices of motels and fuel in half. Sure, this isn’t much, but over time it certainly makes a difference to the player’s finances.

Do you remember The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Limited Edition New 3DS XL? Man, that was a mouthful; anyway, even those had to be pre-ordered. They sold out in around 20 minutes. How do you even sell out of something that’s not out? ‘Oh, so far we’ve got 100 pre-orders, so let’s make at least 100, oh, actually we planned to only make 100, so I suppose we’ll have to close pre-orders.’ It’s the same with the Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector’s Edition that came with a Noctis Play Arts Kai figure. They sold out tremendously quickly. Having an option for them to sell out lets you make up the price. But, I’m sure enough people would buy them and that there’d be more profit, even with a lower price. The figure is buyable separately, just without the special weapon, so it could be worse.

I experienced a dilemma last year with the Life Is Strange Limited Edition. The only way to get the official soundtrack was through the limited edition. I loved Life Is Strange, like a lot, and the soundtrack was beautiful. After the first episode I knew I wanted the soundtrack. Now, some of you will call me crazy, and you’re right, I probably am. You know what I’m going to say, so I’ll say it. After having already purchased and finished the game, I bought the limited edition. This would’ve been more upsetting had I not originally gotten the game on sale, and then the limited edition also cheap. If I had paid full price for the game, I could imagine being a little more peeved. Surely, there would be more people inclined to just buy the soundtrack separately. I’m sure it would sell well.

There are some weird things developers offer with special editions. One of the Resident Evil 7 Collector Editions, in America, comes with a musical box in the shape of the house featured in the game. While I personally think this is a cool item to get, it’s still a little weird. Are there many people who were crossing their fingers hoping this would be a thing? Why is this only in America, anyway? In Britain we only get a boring statue of the house. Sure, it looks nice, but it hardly plays music. The dummy finger USB also looks lower in quality. Was there a survey I wasn’t aware of that said we wanted this stuff instead? Why not offer the same edition to all countries? Some of these editions don’t even come with the game. Why, just why? Is this a whole new era where we can pre-order a game but not actually get the game?

The weird items you can get from various editions don’t annoy me, they confuse me more than anything. The Dead Island: Riptide Collector’s Edition came with a female zombie body statue. Not any ligaments or even a head, just the torso. I just can’t see the real appeal for it. For figures, I’d like them sold separately at a later date, just so people don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on launch day. A particularly absurd one was Leon’s leather jacket from Resident Evil 6. I mean, it was a really nice jacket, but it would set you back nearly a thousand dollars. Why make a special edition such a stupid price?

Pre-orders have gone into a weird place. While I’d like to say they will revert back to the way they were in the old days, I just can’t see that happening. If anything, they’ll only get worse.

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1 comment

Tobias Palm January 23, 2017 at 11:22

Hello there! I’m the community manager for Life is strange, thanks for supporting our game! 🙂 Interesting read here too! Regarding the LE we produced last January, hopefully I can answer some of your questions.

The LE came out around 3 months after episode 5 had been released – it would have been weird (and risky) to release a LE for episode one of a completely new and untested IP, which is why it only came later and also so that people could have the game on disc rather than ‘just a box’.

About the soundtrack – as we licensed the music ourselves, we (Square Enix) only have the rights to use the music in game and for certain promotional purposes. Legally, we’re unable to sell the Music as a stand alone item under the current agreement. To include it in the Limited Edition as part of a bundle was the only option.

Hope that clears things up from our side and maybe even sheds a little light on some other special editions! 🙂

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