If you told me you hadn’t stepped into a physical games retailer for years, I’d find it understandable. After all, digital versions of games can be purchased online for a fraction of the price, and buying physical copies of games continues to look like a rip off. So if you’re not familiar with the tendency for triple-A games to come out with both a standard edition and some form of special edition, you could be forgiven.
These days, you can’t throw a rock in a game store without hitting a special or limited edition of some game or another. You can tell them apart from the standard editions because they’ll likely be in a larger box, containing not just the game but a stack of other supposedly exclusive goodies. Take Batman: Arkham Knight. The limited edition comes with, among other things, a Batman statue, an art book, and a comic book. Some are just lazy. The Assassin’s Creed: Unity special edition came with nothing but a piece of glorified DLC. What all these special or limited editions have in common is that they’re ridiculously pricey. Being just a lowly games writer, I don’t even bother to look at them. Why make myself sad with the knowledge I can’t afford the awesomeness?
CD Projekt Red are taking a different approach. The standard edition of The Witcher 3 contains a bundle of bonuses normally reserved for overpriced special editions. The box contains a very nice map of the northern realms, a pack of stickers, a CD containing the soundtrack, The Witcher Universe Compendium Booklet, and codes for both The Witcher Battle Arena and the House of Glass Digital Comic Book. CDPR has also promised an amazing 16 pieces of free DLC.
On top of those nice goodies, there’s also a very nice letter from CDPR to their beloved customers. “Dear Gamer,” it begins. “First of all, we would like to thank you for your support. We really appreciate that you have decided to spend your hard-earned money our game and hope that you will have a fun time playing it.” It’s the little things like this that prove the developers really have put their hearts and souls into a game. They’re genuinely thrilled that people are going to play it and enjoy it.
The letter is also a reminder that, even when we feel like all those triple-A developers are just sucking money out of us, there are still some that make games because that’s what they love doing. “At CD Projekt Red, we believe that when you buy our games, you’re entitled to continuous, free support – updates, patches and bits of new and amazing content. We owe you that for believing in us and purchasing our game. To thank you, we have prepared something really special – 16 DLCs for you to download, totally free of charge, regardless of the platform or edition of the game you own.” With a philosophy like that, these are developers we can all be happy to support.
For a photo of the full letter, take a look on VG24/7.