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There’s little special about these editions

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When is a special edition not a special edition? Why, when it’s a standard edition, of course. But with the plethora of different special, collector’s, mega and super-duper editions doing the rounds these days, it’s getting harder for publishers to come up with something that actually, genuinely, really offers something ‘special’.

Not too long ago we saw Modern Warfare 2 hitting the headlines with its ridiculous package of game, other crap and night-vision goggles. Now, it’s safe to say that without the NVGs it would have been a standard special edition, rather than something talked about all over the internet for months on end. We’re so accustomed to what we get with spec. eds. (it’s like spec ops, HAHAHA) – soundtracks, art books, DLC and the like – that it takes a ridiculous gimmick to get most people to even notice.

Or, in the case of Bioshock 2, it takes a massive box that just damn well looks the part. Also it has a glowing Eve hypo, but that’s besides the point. This is quite a special special edition, and rather than relying on cheap gimmicks has instead opted for bits and bobs that work, that feel right and absolutely look right. It’s at least had more careful consideration than a 20-page art book with a four sentence intro does (coincidentally, it also has a massive art book with annotations on just about every illustration… I think I’m in love with this special edition).

Then you go to the doldrums: the pointless spec eds. The Heavy Rain types, with coming with additional DLC you’ll be able to buy later anyway and a soundtrack that will likely be on iTunes already. The ones with no thought put into them whatsoever, and even less special about them. It’s not a comment on any games themselves, but even the likes of Bayonetta had a dull, standard ‘Climax’ edition that offered nothing truly memorable.

So what have we learned today? Well first of all, I’m not very good at opinions this early in the morning. Second, publishers: think hard about your special editions. Make them stand out, make them actually, truly special and you will be rewarded with sales. Don’t pepper them in gimmicks, just make them desirable. And then send them to me for free.




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