I used to really like Collectors Edition games, but now it seems they've fallen into a rut where every collectors edition is the same. A tin case, an art book, a crappy toy and the standard CE price tag (give or take $5).
Sometimes, if you're lucky, its a tin case and a walking billboard t-shirt (that only come in XXS and XXL). You know, the ones that are pretty much just a cheap t-shirt printed up to look like the E3 booth polo shirts.
Publishers have found a cookie cutter solution that involves minimal work and the price tag that works for it. Gamers have got used to forking over a little more for the Collectors Edition without thinking about whats in it.
Something needs to shake both of them up. I doubt it will, but I'm hoping that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's Prestige Edition is that something. It comes with crappy Night Vision Goggles based on the ones used by the characters in game. It costs twice as much.
Anyway, I freakin' love it. This is exactly what I think Collectors Editions are meant to be. The standard edition of the game, plus some extras that could sell on their own and a price tag tailored to fit.
Instead of working within the standard Collectors Edition budget and just pressing out figurines at $1.50 per unit, they sat down and looked for something that a Call of Duty 4 fan might enjoy and figured the price out based on the content.
Like I said, I don't think this will pay off for them. I think its a little too extreme. What I'm hoping it leads to is Collectors Edition content being taken a little more seriously and breaking free of the mentality that you have to make your Collectors Edition include these things and cost this much or else it wont sell.
I don't just want high-quality packs with bigger price tags but smaller scale packs with lower prices. If the game isn't big budget, then I'll settle for paying $5 more for a really nice laser cut keychain of the games logo. A nice mouse-pad?
From there you get more ambitious. A custom headset modeled after the in-game ones. A real-life version of the hat the main character wears. A remote control Liberty City Police Department squad car. If an figurine is appropriate then put in a decent one. Just don't fall into the trap of using the same cookie cutter package for everything.
Really the idea that publishers need to be slapped on this one is ridiculous. Games lend themselves to this sort of stuff perfectly. You're always using cool signature weapons/gadgets and wearing neat signature clothes. Not to mention the loot. The game is centered around finding a mystical artifact? Why not give the Collectors Edition a prop replica version you can put on your shelf.
Even just giving the standard Collectors Edition content some thought would be great. What's the point of a Banjo-Kazooie figure? Best I can tell you can sit it on your computer desk as a decoration. If its purely decorative then there are much better things you can do. How about paper weight/bookend made out of Gruntilda's skull or Jiggy with a display stand? Even a Banjo-Kazooie themed sticker set would be better than a crappy rubber toy.
So what's your idea of the perfect Collectors Edition content? Altair white hoodies with Assassin's Creed? Gear style COG tags with Gears of War? A Weighted Companion Cube with The Orange Box? A big o' helmet sized Metroid statue with Metroid Prime?