Say hello to one of the biggest bullshit pre-orders. And I wouldn’t even give a damn if it wasn’t for one of my favorite game franchises. Remember the original Deus Ex, that uber spectacular niche RPG-FPS hybrid with jaw dropping story, advanced game mechanics and multi-path, multi-choice levels and missions? Well, the game is not niche anymore, it has been blown to the masses and it’s now getting riddled with the usual money grabbing bullshit.
And I used to take Eidos and Square Enix as honest developers/publishers. I guess the default stance of every gamer should be “All developers and publishers are scum”…
Cutting out content and selling it back as “bonus”
They are again taking out content and offering it to you as “bonus”. How about providing that content to all buyers of your game and encourage people to go the honest path of actually buying the game, because they’ll be actually rewarded for it. Or has everyone already forgot about The Witcher 3 and its countless free DLC’s? Maybe they were taken out or actually made as extras, bottom line is, they are free and everyone is getting them whether you pre-ordered or purchased the game on actual release day. And game sales speak for themselves. Even on PC which is constantly being trashed around as piracy heaven. Respect the gamers and they’ll also respect you.
Pre-order bonuses encourage piracy
Instead, this bullshit pre-ordering is only encouraging people to be even more cautious about spending their money and potentially leading into them just pirating the game. After all, it’ll be free and they’ll get ALL the extras. Where if you’re a honest gamer and you want to support the developer by actually paying for a game, just not by pre-ordering it, you’ll get screwed by missing actual game content like entire missions!
Bonuses ruin gameplay experience
I also absolutely hate it how developers and publishers babysit people who pre-order with aids for faster progress. I’ve first seen this nonsense on large scale in GTA5 and it made me not want to pre-order a game just because of that. If you pre-ordered GTA5, you got 500.000 of in-game money. Why the hell bother and even play the game when you get half a million handed to you from the start. That’s like getting BFG in the first level of Doom/Quake. It’s pointless and retarded. Sure, give me this kind of goodies AFTER I finish the game. I loved going all crazy with weapon cheats after I finished games, but getting it on first play through, that’s just retarded and entirely ruins the whole point of progress in games. Cosmetic, fine. But goodies affecting gameplay, sorry I just don’t want them. Even if I’d pre-order the game, I’d want to play the game as it was initially designed and use these goodies on second run only. Something I bet won’t be available as an option to the players who pre-order Mankind Divided…
A no win situation for players
It’s a now win because you have to go in blind. I’ve tackled this before in some of my blog posts and I’ll mention it again.
If you want to see how game looks and plays, you have to look tons of developer trailers, videos and gameplays prior to game release to see if it’s any good, so you can be sure you’re spending your money well. However, by doing so, you totally ruin your game experience. I’ve been doing this for few years until Alien:Isolation where I turned a new page. Yes, I’ve pre-ordered the game, sorry father for I have sinned, however I’ve purposely avoided all gameplay videos, because if I’ve learned anything from the past, gameplay videos totally ruin experience. Only thing I’ve watched were developer commentaries where I haven’t watched any actual video, just voice, so I didn’t even know how alien actually behaves in the game. When you enter the game after watching bunch of such videos, you know tons of stuff about the game and it’s just not the same. Especially watching someone else play it is wastly worse than playing a demo yourself. And that’s why I’ve enjoyed Alien:Isolation so much. I’ve never experienced such gut wrenching sensation as first meeting alien in that lobby where it slays few humans. I was genuinely scared for my life. But making sure you experience games this way, you have to avoid all the videos and buy the game blind. Meaning it’s a no win situation for you. You have to either sacrifice game experience and watch all the resources about the game or you ignore all that and potentially piss away 50+ € for a game that you’ll hate…
I miss demo games…
What I really miss are demo games (this explains how old of a dinosaur I really am). A playable presentation of the first game level. Or even how Valve did with original Half-Life, a game level that doesn’t even exist in the game released later. However I wish it was included since it was same gut wrenching experience as with Alien:Isolation. Walking those corridors in the beginning with just a crowbar and headcrabs jumping up your face, meeting brutal commandos in that hangar for the first time, meeting zombie scientist down in the dark sewers and vortigaunts terrorizing those commandos, the experience was just incredible. Or the System Shock 2 and original Deus Ex where demo presented the first game level to the player and then leaves it with a massive cliff hanger. It’s the best way to hype the players, give them the actual feel of the game and not ruin them game experience since it’s the first level which often leaves so many things unexplained (especially in the mentioned two games). That’s why I’ve enjoyed those games so much and I haven’t enjoyed many others later for which I watched gameplay videos taken out from the middle or even end of the game. It’s ridiculous.
Demo games are in my opinion the best way to present a product to the players with no downsides. And trust me, playable demos hyped me for the games far more than ANY gameplay video to date. Ever.
So, when would I pre-order the new Deus Ex?
I’d pre-order it if I could experience the gameplay of the first level myself (in person, not watching someone play it on video). It would be a good indication if game has the same good feel to it as Des Ex Human Revolution which I played and am familiar with. If Mankind Divided felt very similar, I’d pre-order it. If it felt more like original Deus Ex, I’d also pre-order it. But if it would feel more like a game that is just clutching on to legacy of predecessors and running with a cheap gameplay, I wouldn’t buy it. That’s why I only bought Deus Ex 2 when it was really cheap years after release. What does this tell you as a game developer or publisher?
Make a good game that won’t let me down and I’ll gladly hand over my money and be your loyal customer even in the future, because I’ll know you actually respect me as a customer and that you strive for quality and perfection. But using dirty tactics like these pre-orders only do one thing. Make me not want to buy your game. And this is exactly what I’ll do with Mankind Divided. I’m a hardcore Deus Ex fan, but I’m not going to support this bullshit even if it means I’ll be punished by missing out a whole game mission. Respect has to be mutual and I’m not sensing it here…