Dishonored’s Dishonourable Pre-Order Rat Trap

By John Walker on July 27th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

A man, on his way to order the game, dispondent and annoyed. Yesterday.
We had thought Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III six separate releases was confusing. The plans for the game everyone at RPS is most excited to play this year, Dishonored, now makes that move look positively bland. In a display of eye-rolling pre-order bonus alchemy, Bethesda have announced a divisive and flat-out bizarre set of retailer-dependent exclusives. It takes the form of a handy guide for publishers to see exactly how they shouldn’t promote a game, as you can see below.

This has been a superbly promoted and hyped game – and given the design team behind it, it’s a game we’re all ridiculously eager to play – but what we learned this morning revealed some of the most ludicrous shop-pandering nonsense we’ve ever seen. Seemingly designed to make the purchasing decision for customers as pointlessly confusing as possible, Bethesda have done deals with Game & Gamestation, Tesco, Shop.to.net, and Amazon.co.uk (and presumably similar in other countries), that make us not want to buy it from anywhere.

Let examine the mess.

Game/Gamestation have the Special Edition, containing a fucking tarot deck, along with the Arcane Assassin Downloadable Upgrade Pack. In that you get the Void Channel power, the ability to consume white rats for mana, a statue of whale in the game that means you get an additional slot for bone charm bonuses, an “unhidden book” called Filed Notes: The Journal of Granny Rags, 500 bonus coins, and, er, white rats in the game won’t be hostile to you.

But if you pick Tesco‘s Shadow Rat Downloadable Upgrade Pack, you’ll get an ability called Delicate Touch, making breaking glass a quieter affair, another ability called Voyeur that lets you see better through keyholes, and a third ability called Deep Breather, that lets you breathe for longer under water. There’s also a Golden Rat statue, that also unlocks a bone charm, the 500 bonus coins, and an unhidden book called Field Notes: The Royal Spy.

Then there’s Shop.To.Net, with the Backstreet Butcher Downloadable Upgrade Pack. That has Fencer, improving your sword on sword advantage, Fire Water, letting you have bigger explosions from whiskey bottles, and Blast Resistant, reducing the explosion damage you take. There’s a Wolfhound statue, doing the same as above, and a book called Early Life And Times: Slackjaw, along with the 500 magical bonus coins.

And finally there’s Amazon.co.uk, with the sodding hell I’m so pissed off Acrobatic Killer Downloadable Upgrade Pack. This one has Raven, a health bonus for drop-down assassinations, Quick Dodge to help you move out of an arrow’s way, and River Affinity, speeding up your swimming. There’s a sodding Hagfish statue, an unhidden book called Rumours And Sightings: Daud, and more bloody coins, whatever the hell they’re for.

I’m absolutely buggered if I’m going to include the four videos that accompany each of these boxes, but the claim made is that you buy the box that’s “tailored to your play style.” OF A GAME YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED YET, BECAUSE YOU’RE BUYING IT.

Oh good GRIEF.

Game/Gamestation, Amazon and Tesco appear to be taking pre-orders at £30 for these packs, so at least they don’t cost extra. StopTo is charging £25 for the PC version, and an extra penny for the extra stuff, but saying it’s unavailable.

What is a customer supposed to do here? How is this helping anyone? I don’t shop in Tesco, but maybe I want to be able to break glass quietly? And why does only one retailer get immunity from white rats? And, if I buy the game online – because IT’S NOT 1998 ANY MORE – what am I missing out on? And will I suffer from having one less bone thing slot something?

WHO IS THIS HELPING?

The shops. That’s who. But the problem is, it’s all sold as if it’s of benefit to all of us. And it isn’t. It’s a pain in our lives, when we just want to buy the complete, finished version of the game, so we can play it as the developers intended. Bloody well let us.

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313 Comments »

  1. RF says:

    inb4 someone uses horribly circular and terrible logic to defend this because they’ve killed off their own savvy consumer to suck company dicks.

    • thepaleking says:

      I won’t defend it, but I will say I don’t give a fuck; because I know the creative minds behind this game aren’t the ones who come up with this bullshit, it’s a bunch of business majors in suits, who aren’t going to keep me from buying what looks to be an incredibly well made game.

      • RF says:

        And you think the creative minds will be the ones that get any money? They’re not. Their part in this is finished. Any money you give the company directly feeds into the marketing moguls and their CEOverlords.

        • enobayram says:

          I think a part of what thepaleking says is that he doesn’t give a fuck where his money goes either, he just wants to play this nice looking game, made by those creative people.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Clearly there are two different discussion happening here. Firstly “is this good business practice, and for whom?” That’s a pretty objective question; it’s good for shops, bad for players.

            The second question each consumer needs to answer is whether their wanting is strong enough that they’ll support a product and company that act against their interests.

            I think people who try to argue with the first conclusion are pretty silly, which was the point of this thread. The second question is personal choice, and even then will vary from product to product for the same consumer. In the past I’ve wanted AssCreed games badly enough to buy them despite my distaste for Ubi business practices. Nowadays I just don’t want them that badly anymore. No reason to have internet inquisitions about it, since the most likely event is just that people will claim they won’t buy something on principle and do it anyway.

          • mnidtasd says:

            Android 2.3 Tablet with 7 Inch Touch Screen, 1GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, 4G Flash Hard Drive, WiFi Connection This is right! http://ir.gl/df0910

        • Shuck says:

          In theory this would benefit new game sales, but I suspect this sort of nonsense is becoming necessary for the publisher to get decent decent deals with retailers, so in the end no one really benefits (as the major retailers end up on equal footing).

          Speaking as a developer who was in the position of being asked by the publisher to create new, distribution-channel-specific content, developers hate doing stuff like this. And this is the worst I’ve heard about – coming up with a bunch of new abilities that sound worthwhile but don’t significantly alter the game would be a serious pain. It’s like having to inconsistently add “free to play” elements into a retail game.

          • Wreckdum says:

            Blame Steam! With Steam sucking all the retail sales who needs a boxed copy? I haven’t bought a game with a box in probably 5 years. And good riddance. Steam is so much more convenient. Stop fighting extinction with this ridiculous marketing nonsense. Just go peacefully. Good game. You lost.

          • Shuck says:

            @Wreckdum: Supposedly in the US, more than half of PC game sales are still via retail, not download (I don’t know any retail shops that still carry any significant number of PC game titles though, oddly); no publisher can afford to lose half their sales. Besides, this is also a console game, so that’ll be the majority of their sales via retail channels. (And this is absolutely something that’s done for the benefit of the retail carriers of console games, rather than for the sellers of the PC version.)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Wreckdum – I’m sure steam isn’t threatening the financial security of Tesco, what do they need to get involved with this for? It’s stupidity, pure stupidity.

          • Caiman says:

            Anyone who thinks this benefits new sales clearly has a different internal logic to me. All this does for me is put me off knowing that if I buy version A I’ll be missing out on the stuff in versions B, C, D, E, and F, and therefore knowing there will be an eventual compilation will all the “DLC” and pre-order bonuses I’ll wait for that to come out in a year’s time. I want to play the game, but I’ve got no shortage of other games to play in the meantime while they drip-feed all their content to the public.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Caiman

            I can think of more games that released that didn’t do complete GoTY editions than did tbh.

        • DXN says:

          Um, you know I’m pretty sure that the creative people are going to want people to ‘give money to the company’, i.e. buy the game, so that they can continue to have jobs in the future.

          • RF says:

            Um, you know I’m completely sure that’s not how the development cycle works and you might like to get educated before spouting your uneducated opinion.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @RF – with your vast industry knowledge, I’m sure you know all about the bonus system and how in many companies they are linked to first month sales, you know those bonuses that the programmers and artists get.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            But that’s increasingly not how it works these days. Developer gets bought out by publisher. developer makes game, publisher releases game, publisher sacks developer or breaks the dev team into a thousand pieces and scatters them to the wind.

            I can’t imagine that any but the most entrenched developer team would get satisfaction — monetary or otherwise — from making these stupid pre-order bonuses.

          • RF says:

            @Sheng-ji: Yes, none. You see, the way it works is that a number of programmers, concept artists, modellers etc (whatever is needed) get take on for the length of the project. At the end of it, they’re gone. Finished. On to another project, probably at another studio.

            That’s the way it is for the vast majority of the larger companies (AFAIK, Paradox, Stardock and Valve are the only ones that don’t do this, but that’s due to the unique nature of their company infrastructure).

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @SkittleDiddler – In all fairness, when a studio owner takes the decision to sell his company (which no-one can force him to do) then surely the company was either on the rocks financially anyway – in which case he’s given his staff a slightly more secure future, or he’s cynically grabbing money and should burden the blame.

            @RF – Well, I wouldn’t sign a contract with no bonus included as the wages are far too low for the skill required. If others will, more fool them.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @Sheng-ji: try explaining it that way to Digital Extremes, who got sacked by THQ despite the fact that Homefront was a financial success. Or any of the dev teams that were bought out by EA and then mercilessly burned at the stake.

            AAA publishers don’t need a viable excuse to hire-and-fire at whim. They do it all the time because the industry allows them to get away with it.

          • Phantoon says:

            Homefront was also a terrible terrible game.

          • CountChocula says:

            @Skittlediddler

            Here is what one of the Arkane devs said about the tarot cards:

            ” the Tarot cards were designed by Arkane. This is a 78 cards deck that doesn’t match usual divinatory decks because we envisioned it as a typical deck from the alternate world of Dunwall. All artworks are original and were created by Arkane; there’s even a rules set for an original game called “The Game of Nancy” in the box. Sorry if it makes you angry, but we did really put a lot of work in there and we hope people who will pre-order from Gamestop will like it. ”

            A lot of research has been done, and we got inspired by several alternative Tarot decks, which are sometimes very far from the usual divinatory deck… But first, we wanted something that really fits the game settings, which was not possible with a standard set of Tarot cards. And there are also a few tweaks done for the Game of Nancy rules set… ”

            http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1377966-pre-order-bonuses-revealed/page__view__findpost__p__20872753

            I don’t know about you, but I would really like to try this card Game of Nancy tarot card deck. It sounds like fun and the developers put a lot of work into making something nice that fits with the setting of the world.

            If you don’t like it, don’t pre-order, but some people here in the comments are acting like the world is ending just because a game is available with some promotional trinkets. Personally, I wish there was a Collector’s Edition.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @Phantoon: “Homefront was also a terrible terrible game”. Which is moot. Homefront was a financial success, and that’s all that matters to the bean counters.

            I actually thought Homefront’s multiplayer was a pretty competent mix between Modern Warfare and Battlefield, but if you’re basing your personal opinion on the single-player campaign, I can understand why you’d feel that way. Regardless of quality, it sold enough copies to justify a sequel, so I guess you’ll have yet another opportunity to spend your money on a game and complain about it later.

            @CountChocula: I’m not sure why that post was directed at me specifically, but feel free to buy whatever super-duper extra-special edition you feel like buying. I’m not going to stop you. :)

          • CountChocula says:

            @SkittleDiddler I was responding to this comment you made –

            “I can’t imagine that any but the most entrenched developer team would get satisfaction — monetary or otherwise — from making these stupid pre-order bonuses.”

            The developer seemed to be genuinely proud of the work they did on the Tarot cards. As for monetary satisfaction, Arkane and Bethesda are business units of the same company. The more copies of Dishonored they sell, the more money their company makes.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Sheng-ji:

            R-F possesses a luminous imagination

        • FeFiFoShizzle says:

          but the game sales reflect directly on the developers, ensuring they can make games in the future.

      • scratchjohnson says:

        Well said. I think what people are missing here is that this dlc is all optional. I’m pre-ordering the game from Amazon, not because I care what dlc code I’m going to get, but because I enjoy their free 2-day shipping with Prime. I might redeem the dlc code and get the bonuses on my second playthrough, but on my first, I’ll play as the designers intended: no bonuses, no bs.

        Don’t let this minor gripe detract from your excitement and anticipation of what will undoubtedly be one of the best games of 2012.

    • Lekker Pain says:

      There goes my money. I am not touching this by a LOOOOOONG shot. Not even with a f* 1000km pole.

      • d3vilsadvocate says:

        Seems like “the bay” is the best place to get this actually… Such a shame.

        • Toberoth says:

          Don’t use this to justify pirating the game. It doesn’t work. If you’re going to pirate, then pirate, but don’t pretend you’re doing it because of this.

          • Phantoon says:

            I’d pirate the DLC, since there’s no other way to get it, surely.

          • Belsameth says:

            Actually, I *really* wanted to give Bethesda money for this. Now, not so much…

          • S Jay says:

            I have around 100+ games on Steam, I really don’t pirate. But this is the kind of BS I am not very inclined to put with (the same way I did not buy Mass Effect 3 because of the Origin nonsense).

          • CountChocula says:

            Are the majority of RPS readers pirates or something? Why are all these people bragging about pirating games on a website that attempts to inform and support fans of the PC gaming industry? Go brag about your fascinating piracy plans somewhere else.

          • eclipse mattaru says:

            @CountChocula: Blame Queen Elizabeth I guess, she was the one that started it by awarding pirates with knighthoods :P

        • d3vilsadvocate says:

          If I can pirate the DLC and buy the game, why not? But I guess it won’t be compatible, as always.

          I’ll probably end up buying the game and playing the pirate version or something like that.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I don’t see any issue here – If you bought the game, I doubt anyone cares where you download it from BUT I still think you will be basically spoiling the game for yourself by giving yourself “cheat” powers. I mean, imagine if you could get them all working together, you will give yourself a substantial advantage in game and throw out the careful design that went into it.

            I can see the walkthrough now – “If you have the Tesco Pre-order of this game, you can safely smash this window and not get detected so enter the building here, if not you need to got through the level properly

          • grimpunch says:

            This will be my plan. Pirating DLC and putting it on the game. I pay for a “full” product and i’m going to get it.

          • CountChocula says:

            Why the heck are you so interested in a tiny little item pack? Who cares about that stuff, the only good DLC is going to be something with some meat on it. The point of this game is not to become overpowered, it’s about having fun with the emergent gameplay in a sandbox environment.

            If you feel like the game is too hard because you didn’t get some meaningless pre-order item pack, you can just dial down the difficulty setting. Forget about the small stuff and wait for some high quality DLC you can really sink your teeth into that hopefully we might get at some point in 2013 provided the game sells enough copies to justify the production cost.

        • El_MUERkO says:

          What I was thinking too, had a pre-order with Shopto, cancelling it, I might buy a GOTY edition when it’s in a Steam sale.

        • S Jay says:

          Agreed, ARRRRR!

        • Xzi says:

          I agree with Phantoon. With it being single-player only, buy the game and pirate the DLC. That is, of course, assuming that you want any of this DLC to interfere with the experience. Reading through it, it seems like having just one of these bonuses could potentially make the game a lot easier. Too easy, even. I can’t imagine having all of the bonuses on one character would be a good idea if you’re looking for any sort of challenge at all.

      • scratchjohnson says:

        Once again, the game does not ship with DLC pre-applied. You have to choose to redeem your download code and apply it. You can very easily play the game without even worrying about the dlc.

        Please don’t pirate this. This is a work of art, and the only way to truly show that you appreciate games like this is to pay for them.

    • tetracycloide says:

      inb4 someone uses horribly circular and terrible logic to decry this because they’ve killed off their own sense of proportion to suck their own dick.

      Oh, to late I see.

    • derbefrier says:

      I wont defend it. I also don’t care. DLC is optional and not required to enjoy a game. I have yet to find a game with DLC worth buying IMO. the only time i ever see DLC is when i buy a GOTY edition. To me this is no different. i am perfectly happy with whatever i get because i really don’t give a fuck if someone else gets a power or something i don’t. It only affects your enjoyment of the game if you let it. I don’t give a fuck so it doesn’t bother me at all.

  2. Kynrael says:

    I really hope this doesn’t mess it all up. They were doing great ! :(

  3. Njordsk says:

    I’ll pick the cheaper (legal), and they can shove their preorder DLC for all I care.

    • RF says:

      That’s really gonna show them.

      • Njordsk says:

        So? You want us to miss a great game because of that? No way.

        • RF says:

          Christ, it’s called a bit of willpower. Or, y’know, you could do the naughty naughty and get it that way.

          • Mordsung says:

            Some people just don’t give a shit about this kind of stuff. It sucks, but I don’t care that much.

            Every company on the face of the planet is trying to fuck me at every moment of every day, I don’t feel the need to rank them as better or worse or boycott one over the other.

          • Shuck says:

            These sorts of bonuses are aimed at console owners however, not the PC game players. By pirating it, all you’re doing is telling the publisher that the PC isn’t a viable platform for which to develop; it’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.

          • Phantoon says:

            You may not, but I do.

            I haven’t played an Ubisoft game since they originally announced their stupid DRM crap, years ago.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Phantoon

            You mean that DRM crap they largely rolled back years ago?

          • DK says:

            “These sorts of bonuses are aimed at console owners however, not the PC game players. By pirating it, all you’re doing is telling the publisher that the PC isn’t a viable platform for which to develop; it’s cutting off your nose to spite your face”

            No I’m telling them that they’re fucking morons and that shit don’t fly on PC.

            They don’t need me to provide them with a justification for it – they can justify anything they do with the parrots cry of “PIRATES! PIRATES!” regardless of facts.

            There is no reason to let that influence how you act, because how you act does not influence THEM.

        • eks says:

          Um, yes. That’s the entire point of voting with your wallet.

          This is going to prevent me from buying/playing this game. There are lots of games I don’t play because I don’t like the business practices that are involved. You should too if you care, if you don’t care, that’s fine too but you don’t really have any right to then complain when companies continue to do it.

          To be honest, there are plenty of (smaller) video game developers that treat their customers well that even with the huge list of games I refuse to buy, I still have a massive backlog of games to play.

          • Optimaximal says:

            Assuming he doesn’t buy the DLC, that is voting with his wallet. He’s not spending money that he doesn’t deem worthy of spending.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            Yeah, I’d agree with that. I think if you just buy the Steam version with no DLC and say “fuck you guys”, it sends the message just fine, since it’s not rewarding their BS marketing.

            If you’re on console only (why are you reading RPS?), you seem pretty fucked, however.

          • Phantoon says:

            Please. Console users not only accept this punishment, they come back to ask for seconds. They don’t have mods or the range of access we do, so they take anything they can get. Generally, they just don’t know any better.

          • tetracycloide says:

            The problem is it doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to tell them why you didn’t buy so they’re free to make up whatever reasons they want which may or may not include the actual reasons you have. What you’re actually doing when you ‘vote with your wallet’ like that is not rejecting the specific practice you don’t like but everything that went into the product. The question is not ‘ do I agree with every business decision made start to finish’ but is actually ‘does fragmented pre-order bonuses outweigh everything positive about this release.’ If you think it does that’s your prerogative, just like it’s my prerogative to point out that if you do think that your perspective is pretty skewed.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        That’s really gonna show them

        If your response to them offering a number of retail versions with different DLC is to buy the download version with no DLC then: Yes, it will “show” them. It’ll show them that the silly DLC options are a waste of everyones time and they shouldn’t bother. You’ve also not encouraged them to try it again.

        If you pirate it, then they can just dismiss you as a thieving wanker and your actions/opinion become irrelevant.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Buying it from the same place you normally would actually would show them. What the stores are going for with these bonuses is shifts in consumer activity. So buy from wherever you would normally buy and don’t change your choice of vendor regardless of what bonuses are offered.

        • The Random One says:

          I think if your usual place to buy it is one of the participating shops the best thing to do is to buy elsewhere. If everyone did that the sales in shops that pulled this crap would lower and they’d stop doing this. Of course, no one does this because everyone is like “Ooooh booo hooo, there are things in this game that hardly matter and knowing people have them and I don’t is causing me actual physical pain because I have the self-control of a spoiled child! I need to get at least one of them!”

          The idea that I should choose a retailer over other because I plan to play the game as sneaklily rather than murderously is stupid beyond belief. I suppose that when I want to go back and replay it murderously I’m screwed?

    • Premium User Badge Smashbox says:

      Yeah I’ll take the Keep Your Fucking Tat and Give Me the Fucking Game Edition™ please.

    • Roshin says:

      Fuck the shops. I haven’t bought a physical copy of a game in years and I’m not about to start now. I’ll buy it from Steam. I’m sure there will be a shitload of DLC eventually.

      • austerus says:

        @Roshin: I would agree but:
        - it works on Steam if you want the PC version, not for consoles
        - on Steam is much more expensive than from, say, amazon (almost double) – I never got that, if you scrap the physical medium from the price you end up with a much higher one?
        - these packs and many others will be available to download for a price .

  4. lordcooper says:

    Oh for fucks sake, just let me give you money in exchange for the game.

    *weeps*

    • McDan says:

      It does seem like they are trying to make this hard. I didn’t pre-order arkham city for this reason, though in this case I’ll probably go for the game one though, as I would like to try a non-lethal playthrough first. But in the end none of then will make much difference really.

  5. Premium User Badge Anthile says:

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    (yeah, still gonna buy it but this trend has to stop)

    • RF says:

      It’s not going to whilst you still buy this shit.

      • Premium User Badge Kelron says:

        Hypothetical situation: someone makes a game that looks interesting, clever and different, with a new IP. The game has assorted pre-order bonuses, and no one buys it in protest.

        Publisher response? Pre-order bonuses have proven to be an effective tactic in the past, so the problem here must lie with no one wanting to play the game.

        • Nallen says:

          Or, “We must add more significant pre order bonuses in the future.”

        • Screwie says:

          Hmm… well, maybe you could buy the game from anywhere which isn’t offering these obnoxious exclusives?

          • Chris D says:

            Actually this is probably the best course of action given that most of us probably want to play the game because it looks awesome but don’t want to encourage this kind of marketing nonsense.

            Make a point of buying it from somewhere that doesn’t give a preorder bonus, even if you otherwise would have.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      epic kaomoji. I approve wholeheartedly.

  6. Ratchet says:

    Fuck Bethesda. There, I said it.

  7. Jason Moyer says:

    Arkane is on my list of developers whose games I buy first-day, but jesus. How about just selling me the goddamn game, in its entirety?

  8. 0011110000110011 says:

    Saw this ridiculousness from Bethesda’s blog, marketed (as you said) as if we were getting a great deal. Even if we pre-order, we miss out on 3 out of 4 preorder bonuses.

    With the Borderlands preorder, if you buy it earlier, you get an extra character later on. Sure, you can buy special editions with physical stuff, but if you just want a digital copy (Steam), sure, have a character later on, thanks.

    I was really looking forward to this, considering preordering. As it is, there’s no point pre-ordering, in fact piracy is probably the only <£100 solution to getting all the pre-order stuff.

    Another day, another publisher falls.

    • wtf says:

      Exactly my thought, if people can’t get the full game by buying it, they will just pirate the “full” version…

  9. onsamyj says:

    Any word on Steam version? Because, yes, it’s no 1998 any more.

  10. Yargh says:

    I’ll wait for it to appear in a Steam Re-Honoured bundle at 66% off with all DLC included then.

    In the meantime there’s a nice Borderlands 2 4-pack offer on Steam this weekend.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Does the Borderlands 2 pre-order on steam come with the DLC?

    • Axess Denyd says:

      That’s what I was thinking. I’ll get the whole thing for $7.50 or so next year. I got more than enough from the summer sale to keep me busy anyway.

    • Boothie says:

      Probably wont be any, as i understood it all these perks are shop exclusives, wich means if one gets it on steam u wont get any, personally i could live with this shit if u could pick up the dlcs for a few extra pounds, im going full stealth so any perks that i dont need for that ill avoid like the plague (see what i did there?) but since ill get it on steam and none of those shops even exists where i live im out of luck DAMN U GREEDY BASTARDS WITH WALLETS FOR HEARTS *shakes fist*

    • enobayram says:

      I think that’s the proper response to such nonsense.

    • jonfitt says:

      Yup, I’ll now wait for the edition that comes out later that doesn’t make me second guess if I bought the right pre-order edition.

      GOTY or whatever they decide to call it.

      I understand that it’s all probably useless tat that doesn’t matter, or skills that you get later in the game anyway, but the decision to try and make one shop’s version of the game different to another is baffling. It makes me second guess buying it from somewhere and why would you do that?
      Oh right, kickbacks from an obsolete retail channel. I hope it’s worth it.

    • benkc says:

      Likewise. The game looks interesting, but I guess I won’t be getting it until it’s “old”.

  11. kwyjibo says:

    Fuck the shops. I’ll be getting the GOTY Complete Maximum edition on Steam when it appears.

    • MattM says:

      All this just makes it easy to pass up the game at release. Ill wait until they are done with all this annoying versioning and dlcing and if I am still interested a year or two later pick it up for $7-$20.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Precisely. Computer games seem to be a rare type of commodity which gets both cheaper and better with age.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Indeed. Just transitioned from “the moment the reviews hit” to “once it’s on sale with all the trimmings” to me.

      Enjoy getting less money at a later date, Bethsda.

      • LintMan says:

        I did that with Dragon Age 2 after I missed out on the limited-time-only pre-order companion, but somewhat annoyingly they never put out a “GOTY” DA2 with all the DLC. But then, I keep hearing the game sucked, so I guess it all worked out in my favor. :-)

  12. Premium User Badge RaveTurned says:

    Another game to put on the back-burner for a while. Plenty of other decent titles out there to spend my money on. I’m sure next year’s inevitable GOTY edition will have all that jazz and more for less money, available for purchase online.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      As well some of the fan-fixes that will make this fucking playable should be finished by then. I know this is Arkane, not Bethesda, but still.

  13. Captain Hijinx says:

    Oh god, no.

    Why are they doing this? They’re actually giving away skills as different pre-order bonuses?

    I loathe this crap.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Yeah, exactly that is so dumb. Funny thing is in the US one store is getting a USB whale oil lamp and people are going crazy for that. If you must do this crap, give us stuff like that and let us get a cool toy and play the game as it is supposed to be without overpowered abilities.

      I for one will be deliberately buying a version with no extra powers, I don’t want to ruin my game before I have even installed it and I don’t want to encourage this kind of behaviour.

    • pruchel says:

      Come watch Batman 8 at Generic Cinema Corp. and you’ll get to see extra footage of batman taking a piss! Watch it at Cinema 2084 for double surround sound, and extra contrast! At Cinemateque Batman will instead wear a blue and pink outfit, and you get three times the gore!

      WEEEEEEE MARKETING!!

      • arccos says:

        Good point. I haven’t seen it done much at all with movies, but occasionally Wal-Mart or whatever will get a special edition of a music album around here. Not that I buy digital entertainment at retail these days.

  14. Greggh says:

    Reading this with an english accent XD

    ‘Oy chaps, ye bloody need to colm down, bugger!’*

    *I’m terrible impersonating accents, both typing and speaking.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      ‘Oi, chaps*, you need to bloody calm down! [pause], [mutter:] Bugger (me / in hell / etc.)¬!’

      Fixed.
      *Obviously ironic.
      ¬Doesn’t really work here, and sounds more like an invitation. “Fuck a duck” may be a better choice.

      And now I’ve tickled myself at the prospect of a phrasebook offering genuinely appropriate profanity for the foreign visitor. They always get it wrong, which is actually amusing (in a non-pompous way) in itself.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      You sound too Scottish.

      Try this:

      Bladdy ‘ell guvnor them what fuckers ‘ave only gawn and fucking fucked the fucker ‘aint they. Sodding pig whistlers they are Mr Holmes.

      Spell “color” with a u and be indignant at the next Assassin’s Creed game. You’re all set.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Or this:
        Yarr, we not be loiking this down ‘ere in the Wescountee. Damn grockles an emmits an their ways! Whas a Com Put errrr anyhows? S’all a bit Bodmin if yer ask mi. Moi cusin got is phone wit’intnet t’other day. What a polaver that was.

  15. Gundato says:

    I’m not huge on pre-order bonuses in general, but I understand them. I even tolerate retailer-exclusive (for the time being) DLC on the condition that there be a single package for a few retailers, or that everything is included in the deluxe edition (TW2 and Dawn of War 2: Retribution both did this). But to spread it out this far just discourages me from pre-ordering and instead waiting for the DLC (and a sale) to come out.

  16. woodsey says:

    As per usual, I’ll just buy the standard edition (assuming such a thing even exists) and hope that all this nonsense has been added in purely for the sake of being a ‘bonus’, and is not something that’s been forcibly cut.

  17. daz_uk says:

    Just…just….STOP. IT.

    I work for a large publisher/developer and I can say I reckon a few marketing types sat around thinking they were being really cool and help design the game by ‘securing’ some great ‘retail space’ for the game. Then they told the developers who largely face-palmed all the way back to their desks, whilst doing a crying,flying,screaming,dying death-wank.

    • wodin says:

      Your probably spot on. Things where easier when a game developer made his or her game their way, then sold it. Hopefully more developers will try going to Indy route and free themselves from the suits.

      Besides it’s shocking how little of the money from a game goes to the developers and instead to the publishers etc.

  18. aliksy says:

     (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

    I just won’t buy it until there’s a complete edition, if then.

    • Vorphalack says:

      I shall probably do to Dishonored what I did to Fallout: New Vegas. Wait 3 years for the Ultimate Edition to go on sale, and play the shit out of it knowing i’ve got the complete game all patched up. Deals like this just don’t motivate me to buy things.

      • Edg3k says:

        The difference between this and Fallout Ultimate Edition is huge. Ultimate Edition was the game plus the DLC. These dont really count as dlc and more like unlocks to make the game easier. Fallout New Vegas (far as i remember) didnt have pre order bonuses (could be wrong, only one I pre ordered was fallout 3 and I got a lunch box for that). If you dont want the bonus stuff, just dont pre order, thats what i think.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Probability of pre-order bonus content appearing as DLC: 100%

          Probability of Dishonored getting unknown quantity and quality of additional DLC: 100%

          Probability of game still being patched 2 years from now: 100%

          I’m fine with waiting.

        • Sparky says:

          Fallout New Vegas had several pre-order ‘bonus’ options: the first was an exclusive special edition big-box set with a pack of Caravan playing cards, a large “Platinum” chip, chips from all the in-game casinos, a making-of dvd and a handbook, etc etc; and then there were 4 retail outlet specific special offer promo versions which featured various different (inconsiquential) in-game perk/weapon/object combinations offering various combinations of waterbottle, shotgun etc etc – all a waste of time …and all very similar to Dishonored’s marketing options… ..and then there was the promo from gamestation that offered an actual pip boy key ring – but said they had run out on launch day, just after opening up, with no one else in there…

    • Sheng-ji says:

      No, the complete edition is one with none of those powers! If you get them all, you will literally ruin the game, even one set will significantly unbalances it, of that I am certain.

  19. Jekhar says:

    I don’t know why everyone is so upset with this. This is good news for me, i will save money. Because i will wail for the complete package, aka the GotY. Thank you very much dear publisher!

  20. kud13 says:

    10:1 all of those “preorder packs” will be available for 3.25 each in the Steam X-mass sale. DXHR taught me as much.

    and I guess Beth just lost a day 1 purchase.

    I would suggest everyone who is like me sends an e-mail to Bethesda explaining why we won’t be purchasing our most anticipated game of 2012 on release day.

    • MattM says:

      There also seems to be common for these pre-order packs to not be well balanced. They make the beginning of the game way to easy and rob you of the joy of finding new stuff since it is worse than the dlc gear.

  21. Lucky7s says:

    Hopefully they’ll do what they did with New Vegas and release the whole thing on Steam, eventually (http://store.steampowered.com/app/901778/). I still don’t like this one bit and I’ll most certainly not preorder this, not even on Steam.

  22. Om says:

    “What is a customer supposed to do here?”

    Don’t buy on release. I’m going to wait for the inevitable special/GOTY edition that has all this crap included. I’ve got plenty of games to play between now and then

    • DClark says:

      Yes, retailer-specific bonuses are the second surest way to get me to not buy the game on day one (next to obtrusive DRM).

      If they pull the same thing CDProjekt RED did with The Witcher 2 retailer-specific stuff (gave it away to everyone two weeks after release) then they might salvage a full price purchase, but I think their retailer-specific content plus whatever DRM they’ll choose to use will have me waiting for a better deal than full price.

  23. killuminati says:

    Well I’m italian and I live in Italy and none of those shops are represented in my country.. so WHAT should I choose IF I was interested in buying this?
    My only option would be Amazon.co.uk but what if I’m interested in other promotions? Still I won’t be buying it except maybe, during the STEAM sales 2 year ahead for the GOTY edition at 10 Euros. Guess this won’t help not Bethesda, neither the retailers and the customer…

    • wodin says:

      Hmmm..looks like here is a big gap in the market for someone to open a game shop in Italy.

      you need to look into it, might be a good business idea.

  24. Ed123 says:

    I don’t care about inconsequential stuff like multiplayer skins, but this crap has pushed the game off my Day-1-purchase list and onto my goty-steam-sale list.

  25. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    I read this on the “Mozilla Firefox” edition of RPS, which included a bonus video of John doing a happy dance to calm us down, two extra naughty words, the Deus Ex referencer which unlocks a “What a shame” comment and twenty Scotch eggs.

    Owners of other browsers get none of this, presumably because they are smelly and horrible.

  26. sinister agent says:

    Is there a competition on among major publishers to give people a reasonable excuse to pirate their games now that price isn’t generally valid anymore? Because that seems like the least cretinous reason for all this.

  27. AJ_Wings says:

    I don’t mind these exclusive pre-order bonuses as long as they’re cosmetics or skins that have no bearing effect on gameplay but what the heck is the point of segmenting gameplay features and abilities exclusively to retailers?! Stupid Bethesda, Stupid. You didn’t pull this shit with Skyrim, why pull it now? *ugh*

    I do hope these are early unlocks and not exclusive because that would be truly asinine.

  28. diebroken says:

    “DLC is a messed up business…”

    • Gonefornow says:

      “Those elements mixed together is definitely like a sauce.”

      I was willing to buy the full price (50-60 whatever it is now a days) for this one, but this nonsense is not going to make that happen.

  29. Toberoth says:

    Fuck all that noise, if the game is well-received on release and seems like it’s living up to its promises, I’ll get the bog standard Steam edition. I couldn’t care less about all that other shite, I just want to play the damn game.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      I agree. Plus why are people acting like they know how important these dlc packs within the game? Some people are likening them to expansion packs, others think they’re game breaking exclusive advantages but we don’t know for sure yet. The perks and stuff could just be standard thIngs u get in game anyway. They don’t sound that incredible to be honest. A perk that Inceases vIsIon when lookíng through a keyhole… serìously? What about a health bonus for drop down attacks… how much health? 1%… 1000%? I don’t think missing out on any of this stuff will effect the game at all, so they can bollox

  30. TheManfromAntarctica says:

    I’ll do like I did with DEHR: wait a few months, but it cheaper on Steam with all DLCs included.
    No big deal.

  31. Ubik2000 says:

    This is obviously insane/stupid/horrible and obviously just another reason to put off buying it until it inevitably goes on sale on Steam (let’s see – probably the holiday sale). That also will be a good time to get all this preorder crap, when it’s been repackaged as DLC and is 75% off. Usually even a better deal than waiting until GOTY, because then THAT edition starts off full price, and you need to wait for it to get discounted all over again.

    All logical. The OTHER problem here is: how is all this stuff going to be integrated into the actual game? Will there be any thought put into it whatsoever, or will you be getting all these special abilities right from the jump, completely screwing with the balance, progression and flow of the gameplay? I SUSPECT: the latter. Just like: all DLC ever.

    My favorite example of this was when I bought Dead Space 2 on a Steam sale a while ago. I had played 1, and thought I would have a handle on how things worked, but then I got to the first inventory station and why do I have tons of weird guns and armor already? What is going on here?

    Turns out the Steam version I bought had all the DLC in it. Which took the form of weapons and armor. FREE, UPGRADED weapons and armor. So I had better versions of all the equipment in this SURVIVAL HORROR game from the start.

    I had to just pretend they weren’t there. Insanity.

    • Optimaximal says:

      If a game is worth it, I’ve got no qualms with paying full whack for a GOTY edition, especially as they shouldn’t be getting any more money out of me.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I remember people who pre-ordered KoA: Reckoning had the same issue. And Dragon Age, no?

      Honestly it shows to me that the developers need to work harder as well; why aren’t they putting in the work to integrate the DLC stuff properly? Are the marketing people forcing them to make stuff available immediately in game? Do they just not have the time?

  32. duncanthrax says:

    Looks like they just turned 0-day purchases into 0-day downloads. Way to go.

  33. Screwie says:

    Arrrggh, exclusive in-game abilities are the lowest of the low.

    To deliberately strip out and cage the parts of the player’s abilities like this is ridiculous, and astonishingly this is for a game that is touting its flexible mission approach.

    I’m not paying for this.

  34. Over says:

    And then they wonder why people pirate their games…

  35. Mbaya says:

    As others have mentioned, I think this game has gone from a preorder to a “I’ll wait for a GOTY edition”.

    I don’t mind preorder insentives that are purely cosmetic, I can tollerate insentives that have early unlocks…but missing out on actual content because I didn’t buy the game from somewhere is terrible.

    Is there any word on if these abilities/bonus’ are earnable ingame (or have their ingame equivelent), or are they purely exclusive to retailers?

    I can’t help but think both the developers and the customers will suffer the most from this. The game might not sell as many units as expected, the publishers will blame the market not wanting a new IP and go back to churning out the typical games rather than taking a risk…

    Sure, I imagine we’re all laying it on a ‘bit’ thick…but this just sucks for everyone involved it would seem.

  36. Jason Moyer says:

  37. scut says:

    As idiotic as these marketing decisions are, the different versions sound as if they’ll make almost zero change to gameplay. They’re effectively just tweaking a few stats here and there, and I would feel confident that by the time players are 1/4 progressed through the game they will have out-leveled these ‘exclusives’.

    So, in summary: The changes will be negligible and you shouldn’t be bothered… yet with such negligible changes there was no point in Bethesda offering them because it only insults their fanbase.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      If it’s just bonuses for idiots who want to cheat themselves out of gameplay, awesome. The way I’m reading this article, you’re getting items/skills that aren’t available in the vanilla game.

      • scut says:

        I hear ya, but look past the sales pitch of each bonus, the in-game effects will be so small they won’t make any real difference. (The Journal of Granny Rags = extra fluff that will be posted to GameFAQs on launch, ‘white rats won’t be hostile’ = a level 1 nuisance enemy will be even more easily ignored, etc etc)

        Wait for the GOTY edition on sale in a year or so, and in the meantime play the bajillion other amazing games already out. Or don’t buy it at all and donate to a dev team making a game that you can stand behind.

  38. dE says:

    Oh well. Luckily I haven’t been as hyped as others about this game. Still interested mind you, but I’ll happily wait for the – countless times mentioned – game of the year edition. I can wait. There are so many great games out there, that I’m in no rush to throw my money at a specific one.

  39. Jorum says:

    Someone needs to explain to the retailers that this is, if anything, probably hurting their sales.

    Rather than incentivising people to buy from Tesco/Amazon/whatever, they are giving them excellent reason to not buy from any of the retailers at all and wait for GOTY edition to come out on Steam with all the extras and probably hefty discount.

    • DClark says:

      but without retailer-specific content, retailers would have to rely on competitive pricing and quality customer service to earn their customers’ loyalty…

  40. thesisko says:

    These are all cheats, probably game-balance disturbing ones that the development team was forced by marketing to come up with after the entire game was wrapped up and balanced. I’ll get whatever version lets me play with all of them turned off.

  41. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    This is just nonsense.

    Regarding my own purchase, I just decided that I don’t care about all that. I’ll buy it where I always buy my games (either Amazon.co.uk or Steam, depending on if I want a box or not – in this case I do, so Amazon it will be), and see what I’ll get.

  42. aurens says:

    i understand this is manipulative but i don’t think it means you can’t get the ‘complete’ game. all of this extra crap is probably just that: extra. the game wasn’t balanced or developed with these things in mind. personally i would want whichever version does not include all this stuff so i can actually play the game as the developer intended. although it would be nice to have all those backstory files.

  43. aeromorte says:

    So the only complete version (with everything in it) will be the pirated version … ha ha ha just kidding just kidding

  44. Stevostin says:

    They can’t be stupid enough to do that for the PC versions, can they ? Who’s buying in shops anyway ?

    That being said I always see those extra as “let’s break the game” items. I always want to play on the version’s that has been tested the most. I keep away of all those extras as potential game breakers.

  45. JoeGuy says:

    Is this just lame content that was on the fringes of being cut or making it into the game so they snipped it and passed the content around to all the stores as pre-order bonuses?

    I think I’m officially just waiting for a decent price sometime next year, I’ve too much back-log and I don’t give much of a toss anymore. This isn’t a spur of the moment – “Nope, screw that big company, I’m not buying their stuff anymore” sort of moany moment, I’m honestly not buying this till the price hits a low point and makes me want it.

  46. Belsameth says:

    I support pre order bonusses, but stop with the retail exclusives already! It’s friggin annoying, to say the least. Also an insult to pre-ordering customers.

    Luckily pirating will most likely net you all bonusses :)

  47. Generico says:

    Oh look, another game I’ll be pirating because game marketing people are the dirt that scum wipes off the bottom of its shoes. I refuse to give money to any company that uses BS gimmicks like this.

    • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

      What would your reason for pirating it have been if they hadn’t pulled this crap?

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        “I’m a tight-fisted scrote and I think everything I like should be free”

    • theleif says:

      I won’t be pirating this game (I don’t do that anymore), but I could consider pirating the exclusive perks (if such a pack becomes available), and I doubt I would feel bad about that.
      Would that be such a bad thing to do?
      I really, really loathe retail specific bonuses.

  48. Emeraude says:

    Is there anything this gen can’t spoil ?

  49. caddyB says:

    No buy.

  50. 2late2die says:

    Actually, I’m going to completely ignore any and all bonuses based on specific shops. The most I would go for is whatever might come in a collector’s edition. But for this game I might even ignore that. You know why? Because I want it to be challenging and I bet you dollars to donuts, each of these bonuses unbalances the gameplay in some small way to make it easier.