Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Halo 4: Pre-Order Pandaemonium

I have never seen any product enter the free market this terribly. Halo 4 is stumbling into stores this November like a drunken ex-husband on thanksgiving, knocking things down and shouting racist slurs to Grandma.

So Halo 4's developer ("343 Industries") decided that people who pre-order the game from select retailers(er... ALL retailers) should get little bonuses. Okay, that's not so uncommon. Lots of games do that. Maybe little costumes for your character, additional maps or bonus material like behind-the-scenes videos. And like some games, if you get the Super Ultra Expensive Edition, you even get little artbooks and DVDs and stuff.

...But then there's the Super Ultra HYPER Expensive Edition Console, which not only includes all of that, but also an exclusive in-game armour that looks like a cross between the Shredder and Rarity.


The REGULAR Super Ultra Expensive Edition simply comes with early access to new armour sets and abilities. And if you don't get the SUEE version, you're in luck! Because those upcoming DLC multiplayer maps can be bought separately.

Alright, with me so far? Because here's where it gets stupid:

Not quite, but still.

Retailers started listing armour "skins" (multicoloured designs) that they had exclusive access to as the actual armour itself, leading to questions of whether or not everyone can get every helmet in the game. Over the last couple of weeks(leading up to launch), people on forums have noticed that the perks granted to those who pay extra... are in fact available to everyone else. Except people who pre-ordered have to pay extra. This is a very shady way of doing business. Almost as if they intentionally waited until people couldn't get a refund.

Even that super special Unicorn armour is looking like it will be available for everyone. This despite consistent pleas to the contrary by developers and PR people from 343i and Microsoft.

I pre-ordered Halo 4's SUEE version when it looked like I was getting more. I canceled that pre-order when it became obvious that I was getting a huge bait and switch.

...And now, two weeks before release, they announce(on Twitter) that... those not exclusive things that were exclusive aren't exclusive... again??? And they announce this AFTER it's too late to get the Super Hyper Mega Fighting Championship X Edition back, because they were only sold in limited quantites to begin with and have sold out since?

THIS IS MARKETING GONE BERSERK. This is why you don't go overboard with pre-order bonuses and special editions for games! This is why you don't chop up content into so many pieces. This is what happens when the person in charge of distributing and promoting your product has no clue what they're doing.
Do I have to pre-order to get the crotch plate?

It's not a matter of the bonuses being something I need to complete my life. It's the fact that this developer and publisher, and to some extent the retailers have all shown a stunning lack of professionalism, even by video game industry standards. Simply talking to their audience would have settled this easily, with no hurt feelings or cancelled pre-orders. Instead they continue to jerk around the people they depend on for success.

To hell with these people. If you want this game, buy it used. Buy a used copy from Gamestop. The only language these cretins understand is money, and that's the only way to let them know they've thrown four years of work down the toilet. If they want to earn your money again, they can try not to fuck it up with Halo 5.

The soundtrack's cool, though.




  1. Ugh. Microsoft and 343i have REALLY jumped the shark on this? Are they TRYING to turn their customers into enemies? It's working on me.

    Also, first, bit of new soundtrack I think I actually like.

    1. Wait! That first sentence should be declarative, not interrogative! Edit! Edit! Noooooo!!!

      Ah, whatever.