Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015
event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we'll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist publisher Ubisoft recently announced a $170 special edition of the game that includes a remote-control plane. This package continues the game industry’s bizarre race to see who can release the biggest, most elaborate boxed set that people will still buy.
Blacklist’s Pint-Sized Paladin Edition (not its real name) isn’t the most opulent big-box around, and it’s far from the most expensive. Here are some of the most ridiculously expensive special editions ever released, in roughly ascending order.
Note: For comparative purposes, I’ve used sites like Exchange Rates and Currency UK to convert foreign currencies to the U.S. dollar. I calculated these values from the exchange rate on the day the game came out. Converted amounts for unreleased titles come from current rates, so these values are approximate.
Steins;Gate’s Double Pack Limited Edition
Cost: ¥18,690 (app. $202)
Steins;Gate is a Japan-exclusive visual novel about a group of teenagers who discover a way to send history-altering text messages back in time. It came out for the Xbox 360 in 2009, and a port for the PlayStation Vita comes out next month. Superfans can buy the “Double Pack” for the portable system, which includes the game, a disc of bonus content, an advance ticket to the upcoming Steins;Gate film, a metal hairpin, a ribbon choker, and the outfit you see in the above picture.
Are they real, human-sized clothes? I couldn’t really tell from my research, but I hope so, considering the price. You might wonder why anyone would pay so much for a game just to have an authentic version of a fictional character’s clothes. Keep that question in mind — we will revisit it later.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s Prestige Edition (UK)
Cost: £119.99 ($217)
One of the things we’re going to see repeatedly in this article is that things tend to cost more in the United Kingdom and Australia. That’s why the U.S. release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s Prestige Edition, which cost $149.99, is not on this list, but the UK version, which was almost 70 dollars more, is.
The two sets are exactly the same. They both include the game, a download for the original Call of Duty on Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network, an art book, those infamous night-vision goggles, and a mannequin head based on main character “Soap” MacTavish to store the specs on when you’re not re-enacting the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
That’s actually the least creepy way I can imagine someone using those things.
Resident Evil’s 5th Anniversary Special Package
Cost: ¥28,000 (app. $230)
Say hello to one of the other trends we’re going to see again and again: elaborate special editions for the Resident Evil series (also known as Biohazard). This Japan-exclusive set came out back in 2001 to commemorate the original game’s fifth birthday, and it’s full of items of varying usefulness.
The Special Package included Resident Evils 1, 2, 3, and Resident Evil: Code: Veronica (which itself included a demo for developer Capcom’s other scary-shit-in-a-house game Devil May Cry), a DVD copy of the backstory-providing compilation “Wesker’s Report,” a pen, a key ring, a regular ring, some dog tags; a commemorative coin, and a locking briefcase to hold it all. So I guess you got plenty for your money.
Capcom only made 10,000 of these, which is probably why if you want one now, you’ll buy it at a high price.
Gran Turismo 5’s Signature Edition
Cost: €179.99 ($241)
While we’re talking about cramming a bunch of things into a box: That up there is the Europe-only Signature Edition of developer Polyphony Digital’s fifth Gran Turismo game. While the polished metal box in this set isn’t as espionage-ready as the briefcase in the Special Package, it’s still pretty cool in a “staring into the abyss” sort of way. And what’s in the box? Well, the game, obviously, along with a wallet, a key ring, a 1:43 scale Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, a USB key containing a trailer for GT5, five in-game cars, and two books. One shows off the game’s cars and locations, and the other has 200 pages of tips and essays.
Oh, and do you see that little card up there on the wallet? That granted you entry into a contest to win a full-sized version of that little Mercedes up there. The competition included both in-game and real-life driving events, and Marco Calvo of Spain ended up winning. Mercedes values the car €180,000, so for Mr. Calvo, this bundle is actually the best value of any game ever.
Even if he lived in Australia, where this thing cost $299.99 (about $294 US).
Duke Nukem Forever’s Fully Loaded Package
Duke Nukem Forever had several games’ shares of awkwardly named limited versions. You had the Balls of Steel Edition, the King Edition (it came with bubblegum because references to John Carpenter’s 1988 alien-invasion film They Live are still totally cool), and the boring old Steelbook Edition. But the PC-only FLP (I will not type it again, and you can’t make me) was the most expensive Duke experience available.
The FLP included the game, an art book, a mousepad, a wearable belt buckle, and an EVGA GeForce GTX 560 graphics card. I assume the new hardware allows you to play Duke Nukem Forever at maximum graphics settings — because we all know how notoriously taxing Duke Nukem games are.
Tekken 6’s Wireless Arcade Stick Bundle (UK)
Cost: £149.99 ($248)
Special editions aren’t always about keychains and snazzy cases. Sometimes, developers try to give their fans something useful. Take this Tekken 6 bundle that came out in the UK for almost $100 more than its U.S. counterpart. It comes with the game, an art book, and a wireless fight stick by peripheral maker Hori.
OK, so you could probably take or leave the book, but hey, that controller is alright, I guess. I’m sure they would have thrown in a keychain if we’d asked nicely.