Some people are so utterly consumed with the thought of playing an upcoming game that investing their money in a plain jane copy just won't do. These super-fans need to show their devotion by buying the biggest, bestest, most expensivest version of the game available. If that version comes packed with special soundtracks, art books, figurines, or other tchotkes, all the better.
It's for these players that game publishers make collector's editions, packed with exclusive goodies and stuffed into fancy cases. Of course, not all collector's editions are created equal. Some may make a super-fan feel like every penny spent was worth it, while others can leave a gamer shuddering in embarrassment. Read on to find out more about five collector's editions that disappointed, and five that have become the stuff of legend.
The Fable 2 Collector's Edition sounded pretty cool when it was announced. As originally envisioned, it would ship with a premium box, five printed "Fate" cards, a Hobbe figurine, a code for exclusive Halo-themed in-game DLC, and a bonus "Making of Fable II" DVD. Mere weeks before the game's release, though, Lionhead Studios announced that a "supply chain issue" would force Fable 2's collector's edition to ship without the cards, figurine, or premium box. Suddenly, the collector's edition price was dropped down to the standard game's price.
Lionhead tried to apologize by releasing printable .pdfs of the Fate card art and a free downloadable soundtrack that mostly consisted of music from the previous game. When the collector's edition finally did ship, many North American buyers found that their copies were missing the promised DLC codes, and all the content on the bonus DVD was already freely viewable online. Lionhead's response to the missing DLC codes was to make the content freely available to all Fable 2 owners. Ultimately, any player who bought Fable 2's collector edition got nothing special for their trouble save a cardboard slipcase.
The Collector's Edition of Dead Space 2 promised users a Move-compatible demo game, free bonus in-game DLC items, a soundtrack, a concept art book, and a toy replica of the 211-V Plasma Cutter. Now, the Plasma Cutter was probably the signature weapon of the original Dead Space, a refurbished piece of mining equipment that could carry you through the early parts of the game and save your butt in an emergency later on. It's also a seriously cool-looking piece of tech, which should've made a replica version one heck of a gaming conversation piece.
The problem: the Plasma Cutter in the game is a huge thing that envelopes the protagonist's entire hand and would be hard to fit in any sort of reasonably sized game box. Gamers should've known better than to expect Dead Space 2's replica to be in any way faithful to the in-game version, but enthusiasm can run away with common sense in the best of us. When Dead Space 2's Collector's Editions finally shipped, many buyers were disappointed to find the replica was tiny, miscolored, and completely unconvincing.
The collector's edition of Assassin's Creed was supposed to ship with a bonus video DVD, a miniature strategy guide, a six-page Penny Arcade comic, and a figurine of protagonist Altaïr. This was all packed into a fairly large premium box, which got player hopes up for some sort of super-cool six-inch Altaïr action figure that'd be perfect for display on a bookshelf or coffee table.
The figurine included in the game was actually a mere 2.5 inches tall. That might've been tolerated if it had still been a nice figure, but it was atrociously sculpted and the paint job was worse. The figure looked like Altaïr after he'd been savagely beaten and left for dead in the desert. The packed-in books were thin and small, so the impressive-looking premium box the game was packed in mostly contained nothing at all.
This should've been one of the coolest collector's editions ever, but, once again, a cool-sounding collectible turned out to be much crappier than fans had hoped. The collector's edition of Arkham Asylum promised features like a fifty-page character encyclopedia, a bonus DVD featuring interviews with famed voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, and exclusive collector's edition Challenge Map DLC. The big draw, though, was that the game shipped in an oversize box that contained a 14" replica of the game's Batarang design.
For once, the pack-in shipped at the expected size and with all of the promised details. It really was a replica of the Arkham Asylum Batarang, only it was welded to a stand. That's right, you couldn't pick up and hold this Batarang or lay it down on its side. The stand held it bolt upright, making it an absolutely enormous and unwieldy piece. Prices rapidly dropped on Arkham Asylum collector's editions despite the game's popularity, just because the sealed boxes took up so much space. Few gamers actually had the space available to show off the Batarang replica, either.
No, no, we're not about to bash Halo 3's Legendary Edition. Remember, Halo 3 shipped with two different collector's editions: the extremely posh $150 Legendary Edition that gave super-fans everything they'd ever want (including a miniature replica Master Chief helmet) and the more modest Limited Edition. The idea of the Limited Edition was that, hey, not everyone has room for a helmet, but they may want a bonus DVD, art book, and poster. Well, the Limited Edition of Halo 3 also shipped in a special steel DVD case that was, to put it kindly, not good at holding DVDs.
The case design was flawed, such that the game DVDs could become loose during shipping and get scratched up as they rattled around. Many Halo 3 owners willing to pay a little extra for the Limited Edition found themselves arriving home after midnight launches only to discover that their copies of the game were completely unplayable due to the scratching. Microsoft ponied up replacement discs, of course, but there can be no crueler failure of a collector's edition than destroying the very game disc inside it.