The lights are on
These days, no would-be blockbuster video game can release without a special edition. Hell, some titles even have different tiers of varying specialness to accommodate all kinds of budgets and collectors. These bonuses may enrich the experience for some gamers, but I’m not one of them. I usually stick to the plain old regular editions – and when I don’t, I regret it.
First of all, I’m not here to judge how you spend your money. If you want an art book, soundtrack, or statue of Ezio or Alduin, go for it. Display them proudly. I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase. For my part, when I buy a game, I’m buying an interactive experience. However, most of the stuff that is packed into special editions does nothing to enhance the game itself; Figurines, art books, and soundtracks are thrown in to give added value, but what are you really getting?
It isn’t that I dislike collectibles; I own a lot of them. It’s a question of quality. Take a look at the five different special editions we highlighted yesterday on our site. An airplane? A dub step gun? These things are neat in concept, and certainly look cool in photos, but I’ve seen enough special editions in my time at Game Informer to know that what you see isn’t always what you get. Like pictures of fast food in advertising versus reality (side note: those pictures are fascinating), the objects you actually receive can be underwhelming.
For instance, I bought the collector’s edition of the original Assassin’s Creed, and got a comically tiny 3” Altair figure with a terribly painted face. The Big Daddy that came with my BioShock special edition arrived broken. Alduin, the mighty dragon from Skyrim, is perched atop a chintzy-feeling hollow wall.
I’ve been tempted by these in the past (and probably will be again in the future), thinking that it’s going to change…but it probably won’t. This kind of corner-cutting is pervasive; no one would make any money on special editions if they actual included quality items. If I want a radio-controlled plane, I will buy one instead of paying an extra $110 for a version of Splinter Cell Blacklist that comes with one. If I want a particular figure, I just wait until NECA or Kotobukiya release a good sculpt that’s actually worth displaying.
Now, I get that these are for collectors, and collectors like to collect all kinds of stuff – and not necessarily the best stuff. I have another issue with special editions beyond the simple goods included in the package. In the promotion and marketing of these editions, there’s an implication if you’re a true fan, you should be willing to support your favorite series with a few extra dollars. If you don’t, you aren’t getting the whole package – you’re somehow being left out of the loop. It preys on a desire that I don’t understand – a desire to demonstrate and prove that you are a devoted follower of a game. Not that I don’t get obsessive about certain titles, but I show my devotion by buying them, not by adding to my pile of video game memorabilia.
Despite my complaints, I’m not actually against all special editions. Here’s when they aren’t stupid: When they include in-game bonuses. Extra weapons, characters, maps, missions, strategy guides – those are all things that feed into and enhance the experience. I buy a game because I want to play it, and I’m more than willing to pay a little extra to make that better. However, I’m not willing to pay extra for a bunch of junk I don’t want – and that doesn’t make me any less of a fan.
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Completely agree. I never shell out for a collector's edition unless there's in game content, and even then only when it applies to singleplayer, since I don't play multiplayer. All the extra real life items collector's editions include, while sometimes cool, don't really interest me.
Special additions are a waste of money. I bet half the people buying them, have them sitting around in the closet collecting dust.
I think the Special Edition version of GTA V is a pretty good collectable edition. It comes with the Tin Art game case, a frame-able Blueprint GTA map (I framed the cloth map from the special edition of Skyrim), and the extra in game items like the blimp, guns, powerups, outfits, tattoos, missions, etc.
To me, THAT is the best you can get realistically for a collector/special edition of a game. A mix of in game extra content/bonuses, and a few worthwhile and nifty physical collectable items.
I've never bought a Collecter's Edition. And probably never will. Sixty dollars is already enough money if not too much, in my opinion.
While I love buying collector's editions, I feel that they kind of peaked with the Infamous 2 CE. The soundtrack's great, Cole looks cool, oh- AND I HAVE THE BEST BACKPACK EVER.
I agree with not caring for extra garbage. Looking back at my Mass Effect 3 Edition, all I will see from the extra stuff will be my 'free' Javek and not having to look at the not-my-Shepard's face, not the art book.
Well said. Usually extra in game stuff will arrive on the disk with a cheaper, updated version of the game 6 months or so after its original release. Nothing like saving $40 on a good game.
Honestly, it depends on the special/collector's edition. If it has something practical or something I know I'd love to display in my "man cave" then I'll be more likely to purchase it. A good example of this was the inFAMOUS 2 special edition. The backpack that came with it was excellent and I still use it.
I have to disagree 100%, I find in-game bonus contents to be incredibly annoying, it conveys to me the fact that developers are willing to chop bits off the game so that they can label 100% of the game as "special edition" and sell chopped off and incomplete game (as in missing the contents that could enhance your experience) as being base edition.
It is much better that things like Skyrim map is included in the special edition. People who buy special editions are those who are so attached/intrigued to the game that they are willing to bring it out of the hard-drive and into the real world.
So the way I see it author just have too high of an expectation for a gaming memorabilia costing some $20~30 ($100 for special edition - $60 for game and - $10 for shipping larger packages). Skyrim is the only special edition game I bought in last couple years, and quality of the map of Skyrim and the artbook is exceptional. Alduin statue was little underwhelming but still looks great (it just feels light).
So my conclusion is 1. ingame additional contents are stupid and annoying 2, physical memorabilia is the way to go 3.quality of memorabilia could be better, but hey it's not like we are paying some $300+ to justify truly high quality stuff anyway.
I would mostly agree with this. I think there have been some really cool collectible things in special editions before. I have 2 things from my brother when he bought the special editions of Guild Wars 2 and the Star Wars MMO. They are both pretty good IMO. I would have to say that most of the "collectible" things in most things does happen to look like crap more often than not. I really don't care about a terry cloth that has your game logo on it.
Preach it brother!
I almost never get the collector's edition. But the video above convinced me to get the Mass Effect 3 Collector's edition, partly because it's my favorite franchise, and partially because of the in game content. The art book, soundtrack, lithogram, and N7 patch were meh. But getting the three extra guns, and, bonus costumes for my party members, and Javik were well worth the extra money IMO.
i rarely get collector's editions and it must be a japanese game and especially jrpgs...western limited or collectors are not worth it for me.
Recently there seems to have been a definite shift away from in game content to figures and books and soundtracks and clothing and replicas. Not to mention the new fad of season passes, which I tend to opt out of since I don't play multi-player and these passes usually consist of a wealth of map packs and other online bric-a-brac. What I wouldn't have given to have seen Liberty City Stories type content for Red Dead Redemption. I mean , really? No, these days I just go for the game in hopes that it is worth the $60 dollars I already have to pony up.
I actually hate when special editions include in game items. I don't want to spend even more money for an already expensive game but when I miss out on the items, trivial as they may be, I feel like I got a lesser version. It doesn't bring me down enough to actually buy the special editions though. There was one I was tempted by. Gear 3 with that Marcus statue. It looked awesome but I passed on it.