A collector’s edition usually represents a great opportunity to nab yourself some official, bespoke merchandise to truly solidify your love for a franchise, character or universe. They’re never cheap, but what else are you supposed to line your trophy cabinet with other than the mini fridges, superhero masks and RC cars that come packaged within these vintage bundles of gaming goodness?
That said, not every collector’s edition has been worth the investment, with the following examples representing an ill-fated selection of overpriced, poorly conceived, and weirdly designed products that probably should have never left the drawing board.
Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition (2013)
This one is bound to go down in the annals of video game history as (possibly) the most ill-conceived collector’s edition of all time. I’m really not sure who Deep Silver was originally attempting to appeal to with the ‘Zombie Bait Edition’ of Dead Island: Riptide, but the included (*ahem*) bust of a female zombie’s dismembered torso is as garishly ugly as it is creepy.
As you might imagine, the product caused quite a stir amongst fans of the franchise, but Deep Silver went ahead and sold the thing anyway, despite preemptively apologising for the offense it may have caused. It hurts a little inside to think that someone, somewhere, probably has that bust sitting proudly at the centre of their living room mantelpiece.
Halo 3 Legendary Edition (2007)
If you’re going to sell a Master Chief helmet, Bungie, you’re going to need to let us wear it. That might seem like common sense, but the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 features a life-size replica of the Chief’s iconic headgear which, for the most part, looks fantastic.
But those of us who want to run around the house dressed as a Spartan are left sorely disappointed, since the helmet is designed as a display only item. Adding further salt to the wound are the reports that the unique casing of the Legendary Edition didn’t suitably protect the discs held within, meaning the game turned up on people’s doorsteps already scratched or even broken.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition (2015)
'Tis a sad day indeed when that thing you bought looks nothing like it did on telly. For all the greatness of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there was no making up for Geralt’s dishevelled appearance in statue form, which was meant to be the crown jewel of the game’s pricey collector’s edition.
The promotional art boasted a stunningly detailed model of Geralt in a tussle with a griffin, but the seemingly rushed paint job meant the poor Witcher was devoid of any of his typically dashing demeanour. Contrarily, he barely even had a registrable face. Each model was separately hand-painted, meaning the quality varied for each buyer, but the majority of photos posted online suggests that the standards were generally pretty low.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Collector’s Edition (2017)
From a purely visual perspective, the Resident Evil 7 Collector’s Edition seems like a great investment for any long-time fan of the series, but the best premium products are those which appeal to all five of the senses (well, maybe not taste) in order to truly impress.
Unfortunately, Resident Evil 7’s mansion replica quite literally stinks. I’m not sure whether this was an intentional design feature (there’s no doubt the Baker’s home smells as bad as it looks) or the result of a factory blunder, but the model exudes the deeply unpleasant aroma of stale chemicals. The American version didn’t fare much better either, boasting a burnt dummy finger USB stick that, well, looked like something quite different to a finger.
Overwatch Collector’s Edition (2016)
For all intents and purposes, the Overwatch Collector’s Edition represents a perfectly well-crafted product; one that includes the game’s soundtrack, some concept art and a high-quality statue. The problem lies with the character selected as the inspiration for the statue itself, Soldier: 76.
Of all the diverse and interesting heroes to have chosen from, Blizzard went for the blandest of the bunch. As if there aren’t enough statues of angry, gun-toting male video game protagonists already, this also represents a missed opportunity to have provided us with an amazing replica of Mei, Roadhog, Tracer, Lucio, or literally anyone but Soldier: 76. Maybe put it up to a fan vote next time, aye Blizzard?
Batman: Arkham Asylum Collector’s Edition (2009)
If you’ve ever read a Batman comic, watched a Batman movie, or played a Batman video game, you’ll be well aware that the Caped Crusader tends to use his Batarangs for throwing, rather than as an ornamental decoration for sprucing up Wayne Manor.
Alas, apparently Rocksteady didn’t get the memo, as the Batarang replica that comes bundled with the Collector’s Edition for Arkham Asylum is sealed tightly onto a stand, rendering it completely unusable as anything other than a piece of home decor. For those worried about health and safety, the Batarang itself is made of cheap plastic; hardly a weapon fit for a vigilante, then.
Call of Duty: World at War Limited Collector’s Edition
Back when Call of Duty was really beginning to hit its stride, the good folks over at Treyarch designed a Collector’s Edition for World at War, with the pièce de résistance being a stainless steel canteen, inspired by the ones that real soldiers would carry into battle. Unfortunately, contrary to preconceived expectations, the canteen is in fact sealed shut, and brandishes a label which candidly warns “For display only. Not for drinking.”
And just like that, all hopes of gracefully sipping malt whiskey from a World War 2 flask are shattered. To add insult to injury, the edition includes DLC codes for instant access to a powerful gun and a double XP boost in multiplayer which, at the time, immediately established a pay-to-win system for the game’s online component.
Tron: Evolution Collector’s Edition (2010)
To be fair, few would expect much from a collector’s edition for a movie tie-in game anyway, but Tron: Evolution still manages to undercut these lowered expectations. This version comes packaged with a light-cycle model based on the game based on the film based on the book, but there’s no hiding from the cheaply designed quality. In fact, the figurine is so dinky and tacky that reviewers have compared it to a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy.
The secondary item thrown into the edition is a $10 voucher to go and see Tron: Legacy in cinemas which, naturally, became completely worthless within a few months of the game’s release.
F.E.A.R. 3 Collector’s Edition (2011)
The miracle of birth is a beautiful thing, except when the person giving birth is a pale, cursed ghost with paranormal abilities and a penchant for murder. That didn’t dissuade Warner Brothers from shipping off a statue of a pregnant, naked Alma with the European collector’s edition of F.E.A.R. 3, though, which is arguably more horrific than the game itself.
The creepiness doesn’t stop there either, as Alma’s rounded belly also glows in the dark at night; a gimmick likely to turn even the most experienced midwife into a chronic tokophobe.
Resident Evil 6: Leather Jacket Edition (2012)
Look at it any way you want, but it’s hard to justify the existence of this absurdly overpriced edition of Resident Evil 6; a game which, by the way, is largely considered to be a series low-point.
With the aptly titled 'Leather Jacket edition' of Resident Evil 6, you’re essentially coughing up one grand in hard earned cash for an item of clothing. Granted, you’re awarded a copy of the game alongside some stickers and four ‘tablet cases’ (whatever that means), but you have to hand it to Capcom for displaying a flair for the truly extravagant with this luxury bundle.
Infamous: Second Son Collector's Edition (2014)
Considering Infamous: Second Son features a superhero with the power to control smoke, neon, video and concrete, you’ll forgive me for suggesting that the inclusion of a beanie hat as the magnum opus to the game’s collector’s edition is something of a disappointment.
Of course, it’s important to keep your head warm during the cold winter months, especially in Seattle where Second Son takes place, but it’s hard to be motivated to splash out on a deluxe edition of a game when all it contains is a hat that’s probably too small for your head anyway.
Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition (2015)
Like the Dark Knight himself, the Batmobile Edition of Rocksteady’s final game in the Arkham series managed to vanish out of sight with little warning. According to Warner Bros, the titular Batmobile model was so janky, it was forced to abandon even releasing the product to those who had pre-ordered, making up for the botch with a public apology and a full refund.
The official statement from the company explained that “unforeseen circumstances greatly compromised the quality of this extremely limited run of product.” My money’s on Joker having something to do with it.
Dying Light: The Following Spotlight Edition (2016)
RRP: £6.88 million/$9.99 million
There’s crazy, and then there’s ”The Spotlight” edition of Dying Light: The Following. For the low, low price of ten million dollars, one lucky fan could enjoy acting lessons, an FX makeup session, the promise of a supporting role in the still to be announced Dying Light movie, and a ton of other goodies in between.
One has to wonder if this was a publicity stunt or just a cheeky joke. Acting, parkour, and driving lessons will run you, what, a few thousand, and while a role in a film is hard to come by, ten million seems a bit steep. This was the only non-standard version available for Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition and it seems highly unlikely that it sold. You could've just included a t-shirt or something, guys.
No Man's Sky Collector's Edition (2016)
Hello Games’ space-faring title launched all the way back in August of last year, but customers who pre-ordered Iam8bit’s Explorer’s Edition of the game didn’t receive their copy until January 2017. This didn’t make a great first impression, but it turned out that the product itself was never worth the wait.
Customers reported that the hand-painted spaceship replica boasted signs of significant wear and tear before they had even opened the box. Meanwhile, the rest of the items - a pin, a notepad & pen, and some stickers - fail to justify the original asking price. On a more bittersweet note, at least the delay meant that the unreasonably high expectations for No Man’s Sky had been well and truly tempered by that point.
John Woo’s Stranglehold Collector’s Edition (2007)
An underrated gem from the early days of last-gen, John Woo’s Stranglehold is billed as the video game sequel to his cult classic movie, Hard Boiled, a copy of which is thrown in with the collector’s edition.
Despite arriving in the form of a Blu-ray disc, however, the film runs in bog standard definition, with stereophonic audio quality to match. Ironically, the fact that it’s still a Blu-ray disc means that Xbox 360 owners are treated to nothing more than a brief making-of DVD about the game itself.
Looking for the next great game to add to your collection? Check out our list of the best new games of 2018.