Special Editions: Then and Now.December 23, 2011
This year, followed by the past, has come with the infamous “special edition” branded in bright golden lettering across the cover, making them as eye catching and desirable as possible, but what are you really getting? and is it all really worth it? and how has it evolved from the simple slightly altered version of the original, to a $2oo dollar investment.
being of the generation of the 90’s, i don’t recall games being sold as special editions, however, i do recall “directors cut” and there were only a few games that did it, such as the resident evil series, metal gear, silent hill and pokemon. What was different between the standard edition compared to its cut up counterpart? If you have played both, you will find that the cut will include a different soundtrack, possibly different color schemes, and the occasional camera angle change, for the cost that was the same as the standard if not less, because they wouldn’t release it as soon as the original release date, as a way to get there fans hooked.
but then the new millennium came, and the gaming industry was booming, as it was gaining more and more attention as the new systems were released, better graphics, better game play, which ultimately lead to an increase in sales prices to the community, games went from $25 dollars to $59, as the publishers received more income from what they were releasing, they gave back to the community, in a way, that would pay for itself over time.
Earlier special editions would usually come with a different cover, a dvd full of interviews, and some concept art , such as halo 2,which came with an embossed metal box, bonus DVD featuring: The Making of Halo 2 (with a behind-the-scenes look at Bungie Studios); featurettes on game design, music, animation and more; outtakes of cinematics and character goofs; art galleries of concept art and in-game imagery; commentary from the development team. Jade Empire included a foil wrapper and unique cover, an extra character and other special content, new combat style, making-of video, demos of Microsoft Xbox games, Hitman also included bonus DVD with: the behind-the-scenes special “Carrier of a Hitman,” the Hitman trailers as well as video diaries, a soundtrack (including six previously unpublished tracks), and developer IO’s artwork gallery. Call of Duty 2 on the pc, DVD version; game trailers and concept art, mission walkthroughs and DVD-style developer commentary, a narration by veteran Ranger Len Lomell about the assault on Pointe du Hoc, and interviews with the voice-over cast. many other games carried the title, but I only scratched the surface. They were sold with a small difference in price from the standard. usually around $60 dollars or so.
Now adays, the typical special edition or collectors edition, as there now calling it, are filled with art books, collectible steel cases, posters, maps, DLC, and everyone’s favorite, the figures. These were huge sellers at all retail stores, as you would see them being advertised everywhere you looked, from Mortal Kombat all the way to World of Warcraft. For example, Mortal Kombat (2011) came with an art book.avatar costumes, alternate fighter skins, and a bookend featuring scorpion and sub-zero. Skyrim, which featured a map, the making of dvd, a steel art book, and a 12 inch statue of the main dragon of the game. Diablo 3, which will be coming with a behind the scenes dvd and blu-ray, sound track, in game content, a USB drive modeled after a soul stone and a diablo skull, again, there are much more, but they usually include the same 4 things, some sort of statue/figure, a steel art book, bonus DLC, a bonus dvd, for the average price of $100 to $200 dollars.
but here is where i question, is it really worth it? and why such a drastic change in prices?
from going to “same cost as original” to “same cost as the original times 3”
I understand that as time goes on, things tend to get more expensive, but such a jump scratches heads.
lets look at the suspects
Art books: usually consisting of about 100 pages, they contain bonus art, and sometimes artist pre-rendering of the game, but do you remember when they use to come in the game? usually when you beat a game, content would be unlocked, usually art, at no extra cost, so why did they take it out of the game? did they think they were losing money, or was it an opportunity to possibly make more?
Bonus DVD’s: same goes as previous, I remember beating Metal of Honor:Frontlines and they had atleast an hour of “the making of” going through the studio, showing renders, mo-cap filming, director and voice actor interviews, and the occasional gag real, and alot of games had this.
Bonus DLC: Remember when games use to take you months to complete? well, what ever happened to that? games now adays are significantly shorter, usually packed with on average 4 to 6 hours of gameplay, then within the coming months, would release DLC for it, adding in new missions. I see this as a problem, these games are being sold at full price, with less gameplay, and charging you even more as the DLC is being released. These games are sacrificing themselves for DLC, when before you would know the whole game from beginning to end, has now become you know what you know of the game until the publishers release the rest to you at additional costs.
Collectors Figures: This is another trend I see popping up, usually including a rendered statue, selling it with the game, and charging you another $100 dollars for it, when in truth, they probably made that for $2. Now I can see these being a great buy for a hardcore fan of a series, but i think the price is way too steep for an object that is made out of cheap pvc.
But there is a shimmering glimpse of hope, and that is with one games collectors edition, and that would be Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which includes
- Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City game
- SteelbookTM with exclusive art
- Stylized foil sleeve
- Umbrella Security Service embroidered patch
- Spec Ops Field Unit embroidered patch
- 8 bonus weapons
- USS costume pack
the price you ask? $70 which is only $10 more then the standard edition. I think that this would be a great buy, and definitely worth the small difference. will we see future packages such as these, offering alot of content for a small price change? i can only hope. I would like to see how things use to be, used in today’s standards, with all the content already on the game. But hopefully the community/publishers will take note to this, and realize that in this time and day, with the number of unemployed fans raising as the months go by, they will take that to note, and apply to future applications.