One man’s bonus is another man’s loss, particularly when it comes to video games. This generation has gone from nurturing the previously blossoming idea of awarding retail loyalty with a small treat to frankly abusing the concept. Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat isn’t doing wonders with their pre-order campaign, separating the retro finishing moves and attire of the Ninja’s between three different US stores. When a game is based on nostalgic promises, denying players content isn’t the best way to win over the masses.
Last night, the pre-order bonuses were announced for L.A. Noire and again, the audience will be divided by who they choose to purchase the game from. GAME are offering the Naked City case which sees Detective Phelps try and solve the mysterious death of a fashion model and the Badge Pursuit Challenge has you searching the city for 20 badges, earning extra experience points as you do resulting in a suit that provides extra ammo. Amazon has the Broderick Detective Suit to boost fighting power and defence while Play is adding the Slip of the Tongue case, an investigation into a car theft that ends in a huge auto-fraud operation. Lastly, Zavvi has the Sharpshooter Detective Suit and as the name suggests, aids gunfire and aiming.
Giving away suits seems fine, they’re suits and only marginally affect the experience but when whole missions are at stake, things begin to get a little unfair. I know, life isn’t fair and Rockstar are a business doing what a lot of other publishers are guilty of so shouldn’t be singled out but I’ve been so excited for L.A. Noire that missing out on content simply because of my choice of shop is a bummer. Sometimes, pre-order bonuses end up as DLC down the line so it’s possible these will do the same but DLC timings are tricky to get right. Too soon and the allurement to pre-order from certain retailers is gone. Too late and the interest in a game can disappear.
The hope lies on Rockstar’s past and how it’s doubtful that a company like theirs would section off some truly great missions in order to please retailers. The likelihood is that the cases on offer are more of an incentive to buy the game at launch rather than wait for a preowned copy so fairly insignificant to the overall experience. That I find easier to understand. Making games is an incredibly expensive business both financially and mentally so the reward to go to the those who created it not those who re-sell it. Then again, rewards for being an early adopter should be for all who purchase not just the people who go to the right store.