What I want to see in a special edition
Ok, with the Night-Vision goggle set for Modern Warfare, we've officially gotten into crazy territory here (anyone else feel weird typing goggles. I feel I should be typing Google). Special Collector's Editions are becoming the norm, and what was once a fairly uncommon sight is now almost mandatory for every AAA release. Even new IPs and franchises are getting them, but why?Well, all these special pre-order trinkets are there to make you more likely to spend your money on a game, pure and simple. A publisher knows that goodies entice people to buy games and if a significant number of games are pre-ordered, that alone can green-light a sequel. If you're sitting on the fence, unable to decide whether or not to purchase a new title, then giving you some extra crap may just change your mind. And I'm not going to lie, it's worked on me. Some extra goodies have helped tip me into getting some games, but it's also solidified my resolve in getting some new titles. But I don't think I've ever really been 100% happy with a special edition, because there's always been something that wasn't quite right or delivered on my own (probably bloated) expectations. So what would I like to see in a really good special edition?
Bundling a soundtrack in with a copy of the game isn't something that's been uncommon recently, but for me it's not been done really well for games I've liked. Recently Fallout 3, Bioshock and Grand Theft Auto IV had special editions that were released with soundtrack CDs, but aside from the GTA IV one, both CDs were just a couple of tracks comprising of either a few licensed tracks or remixes. Both Bioshock and Fallout 3 had wonderful music from the 40's and 50's that I would love on my i-pod (2K released the score for Bioshock as a digital download which you can get here
). GTA IV had a decent CD that had a good selection of tracks from the game's multiple radio stations (anyone else want to see a big bumper CD soundtrack boxed set, just like the San Andreas and Vice City ones?). I'd have loved to have soundtrack for games like Grim Fandango, Mass Effect, Silent Hill 2, KOTOR on my i-pod and having the CD soundtrack bundled in with game would have been awesome. The added bonus of this, is that inserting another disc into a case isn't too much of problem.
Proper "Making Of..." DVD
A DVD with some "Behind The Scenes" details of a game is always interesting, especially if you're interested in what goes into making a game. For all it's flaws, Stranglehold had a good DVD companion which went into a lot of detail about how the game was made. What I'd like to see however, is more of a "post-game companion". So you've finished the new Mass Effect game, and you're interested in some of the things that happened in the game whether it be design choices or why some mechanics worked the way they did. Simply watch the feature on the DVD and you'll get maybe the producer, level designer or artist going over things they think might be a bone of contention. This would be good for developers too, as it would give them a chance to explain the reasons for a lot of things that gamers often just assume the reasons for happening.
Stickers and other goodies
Let's face it, when I see Left 4 Dead stickers on sale on the Valve online store, I wish I had a set. I'd stick 'em on my PC case, I'd stick 'em on my work stuff.... I love stickers. And badges. And posters. I saw those Rapture posters that were washed up on the beach in Sydney and I was so jealous. I'd love to have one of them hanging up on the wall in my computer room. These things aren't exactly high-tech, but they are nice to have, especially for fans of a game. Now how hard would it be to give cheap stuff away like this for games? True it's disposable crap, but then again, it's not slightly better crap that you would feel obliged to keep. And how hard would it be to include a link with a downloadable game that would allow you to have goodies like this sent to you? You download Left 4 Dead 2 though Steam and you'll get a free sticker or poster kit? Sure, I'd love that. And why don't publishers bundle more things like Gamer Pics and Premium Themes along with games?
Things I can actually use
I know this might sound silly, but if you put something into the collector's edition that I can find a practical use for in my day to day life, I'd be very happy. I use the duffel bag that came with GTA IV to carry my gym clothes; I actuallly use my Fallout 3 lunchbox to carry my sandwiches to work. Things like these can be given day to day uses and that makes them enticing to me. Now I'm sure some of you will be using the night-vision goggles when you get them, and that's cool. I can't really see myself using them in any kind of legal way, so maybe it's best not to be in the way of temptation. So how about something like a USB memory stick (like Forza 3
), flashlight (yeah, tell me they won't do this with Alan Wake) or even just something simple like a nice pen. Just something you can use would be great, instead of another statuette, but I'm probably only saying that because my cat knocked over my big daddy figurine and broke it's leg!!
So, Special Limited Edition Collectors' Editions then? Waste of money? Potential Squandered? A Must-have? What do you guys think?