The idea of the pre-order has always been a sore point for me ever since I pre-ordered Colonial Marines. I toddled to the store and threw down my hard earned money on a game that my only encounter with was on a stage at E3, with brilliant lighting effects, competent AI and a real horror atmosphere. My younger mind was blown away by such a fantastic looking game and being a major fan of the franchise, I believed that it was an easy buy.
Yeah look how that turned out…
Since then I’ve had a mild disgust at publishers basically bribing consumers over a game that isn’t even released yet, its an “exclusive mission” here or “Unique weapon” there over some thing that you don’t even know if it’s in a playable condition. (I’m looking at you Arkham Knight for PC) It just agitates me.
Now Square Enix have taken the cake, not just a mild Victoria sponge from the local tesco, I mean the whole black forest gateaux with double clotted cream. They’ve done this in the form of the so called “Augement your pre-order” this is a multi-tiered pre-order model that goes as follows:
Tier 1 – You get to choose One of the three following packs for Adam:
His Classic pack that comes with a revolver (Upgraded, as see in human revolution) and custom trench coat as well as some in game currency as well as a paraxis point, there is also no evidence that this revolver is available in game through normal means. Dick move.
His Intruder Pack that comes with a silenced pistol with upgrades, yet another variation of the trench coat, as well as the money and paraxis point.
His Enforcer pack that comes with skin variations of Adams combat armor and combat rifle as well as all the other perks such as the money etc.
Now the problem that I hope you all immediately see here is that you are effectively blocking off 2 choices of in game content for yourself, as much as Square Enix wants you to believe that you’re in control, you’re not. Well look at it this way, you’ve put down money for a game that might be shit just for a pistol and a fancy coat, unless you turn into a free PR person and convince enough people to unlock:
Tier 2 – Digital art book OR Digital OST sampler.
This unlocks when the pre-orders hit a certain level, whilst this isn’t a massive selling point for me, as whilst I find the Deus Ex series visually striking it’s not an aesthetic that i’m interested in. However I know people who love this sort of stuff, avid collectors and fanatics of the cyber-punk theme, to lock this off from people is a desperate and manipulative way to get gamers to pre-order.
Tier 3 – An Exclusive Mission.
Now this is were i really start to lose patience, you should never never ever carve off a piece of content and hide it a cannibalized kickstarter like scheme because who is it serving doing this? it certainly isn’t the fans. It annoys me that sensible gamers are going to wait until it’s released and the reviews come in and not be able to access this ON THE DISC CONTENT IN A FULL PRICE RELEASE.
Tier 4 – Digital Novella/Digital Comic Book
Again this doesn’t effect me as much as some people I know, but the fact is that this will tempt people to pre-order and then make them try to convince their friends to pre-order the game. They become unpaid promoters for a game that they’ve seen little of and know less about. THIS SERVES THE PUBLISHER NOT YOU!
Tier 5 – 4 day early release
This is the major bitter pill, the one that will make fans buy into this terrible practice, quite simply because they don’t want to be exposed to any spoilers. It causes a split in the “Haves and Have nots”. There is no better way to cause tension among a fan base than to give the game to some and withhold it from others.
As a result of this you are being sold an incomplete experience, and just because you can decide what is actually missing when you pre-order is one thing but with the four day early release, the exclusive mission and the skins it seems the Square Enix are actively punishing people who don’t preorder the title.
Granted you can cancel the pre-order if a bad review comes out but with the way AAA publishers are throwing around review embargoes that seems less than likely, this means that you are making an ill informed decision without the whole arsenal of facts meaning if the game is bad then you will lose money.
In conclusion this is one of the worst pre-order models that I have ever seen, and this is coming from a company that should really know better, it worries me that if they do this with Deus Ex then what will they do when the time comes to release FFVII? Carve off massive bits of the story? Make Sephiroth pre-order exclusive and just replace him in game with Yosuke Matsuda wanking into piles of pre-order money? Certainly will make Aerith’s death a lot more weird to watch. So less of that…
Fucking with Deus Ex is one thing but fucking with Final Fantasy fans? Especially with VII? That takes stupidity. Only time will tell.
Lets just reiterate. There is no reason to ever pre-order. Ever. Just wait one day until an informed review comes out and then buy it, with digital copies as well as hard copies its easier than ever to get a game at launch regardless. The only reason to pre-order is to get the bonuses and if we let this slide then it’ll only get worse and worse until they’ll be selling the game in chunks that you can’t get because you didn’t pre-order and then you’ll pre-order which will lead to bigger and bigger chunks being locked away. You understand?.