Character Design

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Not all Collectors editions are just pricey rip-offs that work off of fan hype. Blazblue (A mildly popular Japanese fighting game)had it's collectors edition have the same price as the regular product, and came with a soundtrack and a tutorial dvd made by top Japanese and American players giving tips on the game to help new players understand the strategy and depth of the game. It also came with explanation of all the terms and mechanics in the game (now why they just didn't put that in the game is beyond my understanding). It was only available via pre-order, and now all material that was on the dvds is on youtube so anyone can get the info on the game if they didn't get the collectors edition.

Also, the game was out in arcades 6 months prior to the console release so people that where interested could try the game for 50 cents before they thought about the $60 purchase. Fighting games might not be most people's cup of tea, but it feels like Arc System Works where not trying to force people to get the extra bits for there its own sake, but a way to help the guys pre-ordering to justify their purchase.

My personal favorite section of the dvd is Mike Z's tutorial where he does a parody of the old school street fighter tutorials that where on VHS as he explains the finer points of Iron Tager. Here's a link.

Does it uprise you that once again a female character in a video game is wearing something akin to either bondage wear and/or 50% less protection than would be proper when fighting hordes of slavering creatures? I know nerds are tiresomely predictable but won't we outgrow this eventually? I'm still waiting out for a sensibly dressed video game character that does look like a sex icon for men to slobber over. Personally I think Bayonetta will become the Megan Fox of the video game world. That aught to make everyone suddenly repulsed.

I always had it in my head that No. 47 was bald so he could wear wigs etc. and make him more or less forgettable. The whole point in my mind was that he was a face in a crowd like Jason Bourne. I had that in mind from when I played the first game.

Abe from Abe's Oddessy is another one that springs to mind. goofy, jumpy and likable. but that game generally had great character design.

I always liked Conrad Hart in the same vein from Flashback and Fade to Black. An 80's straight to video action star trapped in an alien future.

The only Special Edition's I really liked was the Mass Effect 1 and Dreamfall collection. They came with neat little art books that were nice to read through when the game is installing. I got the big daddy figurine purely by mistake in order and felt horribly guilty when I looked upon it's obviously sweatshop painted features. It sits to this day in a box in my cupboard. Haunting me....

The only special edition I got in the recent past is the Tekken 6. I wanted the fight stick, so I paid the 150 dollars to get it. It served a purpose outside of looking purty because pulling off any of the super combos with the controller is a nightmare to do. The Fallout 3 Collectors edition I'll get because I can use the lunch box as a lunch box when it is time to do so.

Indeed... I always thought Agent 47's ties and gloves made the character.

Hear, hear.

"Game of the year" editions are now the name for the packaging up of the original game and DLCs, so referring to special and collector's edition still as "game of the year" editions is not really accurate...

Yeah...and all you really get in these editions is a bunch of stuff which, if you think about it, truly isnt that important.

The only one I liked the Halo:ODST one as it offered a new controller. I needed a new one anyway, and I wanted th e game. So it actually cut my costs down.

Well, my stand point on this issue is simple.

I've never brought a collectors edition of any game but I can see the point of them for a fan view, I just don't have the money for it.

As for good character design, I would say that he's right about it. I have seen some pretty good designs, such as some of the cast of TimeSplitters, those guys and gals had class!

Just have to say, I have no sympathy for anyone who buys just about any game in "special" or "limited" edition. What is really the point? I mean really? So you have the game, big whoop, so does everyone who spent Ģ10-Ģ50 less on the regular version. So you have the soundtrack, isn't that well.. ye know.. in the game already? and if you want the songs so damn bad, then just pirate them like any decent person would. And so you now have "limited edition" art book(s), and I bet about a week after you flick through it and go "whoa... *drool*", you'll never even remember you have the damn thing until you spot most of the pictures (which are "limited edition" don't forget) on a Google image search.
And the figurines (or models if you prefer) just waste space and will either get sold or broken somewhere down the line. PLUS most people will no doubt think you're a jackass with the kind of ego which needs "special" or "limited" things to stand out. Unless you're rich, in which case you are that kind of jackass.

Man that post is longer than I was intending... Oh, exempt from my lack of sympathy are those who steal/buy-for-pittance these games from the weak of mind (weak of mind as in stupid people, not those who are mentally ill.. because that would just be sick... and evil).

I think there is a bit of a benefit to the LE/CE/SE coming out at the same time, that wasn't touched on. That benefit being the ability to save some money.

Say you are a fan of a new game coming out. You buy it on day one for $60, then 4 - 6 months later they release a "Special Edition" with some misc trinkets, soundtrack, etc thrown in, and they are charging $89 for it. Being a fanboy and wanting one, you may now be spending $149 for the game and the extras. Great for the developer, but bad for you. Granted you may be able to get some money back for a trade-in or selling the extra copy, but you still will pay more then just buying the edition you would have wanted. I see it as a benefit to the gamer.

From what I've seen, most people who buy the special edition know they like the series and so shelling out the extra $10 - $50 is not a big deal for something they enjoy and/or collect. For new IP's it can be risky though. As long as you are given the choice I don't see the problem. If we were all forced to buy the Legendary Edition of Halo 3, I would have my torch and pitchfork with you.

Now sometimes where people can get screwed are the "Limited Editions" For instance, if you weren't sure about Bioshock and just bought the game and afterwards was thinking "Wow, I want my own Big Daddy figurine" well have fun paying double the price on e-bay for it. Although that is the nice thing about "Limited" editions though, you get to pretend you are part of some gaming elite who has 1 of 100,000 of something.

What I am getting from this is: established games + Collector's Editions = ok; new games + collector's editions = bad?
So Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition is a good thing, but Dark Void's is not? I tend to agree, but I see the Collector's Editions now less about the creepy figurines and more about selling a more expensive box with a gift certificate for some cheap DLC.



I have to disagree here on the collectors/limited edition thing

It is what it is A COLLECTORS edition right or a LIMITED edition
It's just what it is it's supposed to come with that stuff cause that's what it is
Limited editions most of the time include maps and soundtracks and making off's
Collectors editions go a little further and off everything thathe limited edition has + Art books,goodies,Posters,lore books and the like

I Don't see anybody ranting about buying A premium Xbox (with the hard disk) opposed to an arcade one (without hard disk) I know it's not the best of comparisons but still

Because it has more storage space than a lowly card.

That's not what I was referring to but ok

I know, but it answers your question as to why nobody rants about buying a premium xbox over the standard one. Therefore you may need a better example.

I agree that there are too many Collectors/Special/Limited Editions for games. Personally, it takes quite a bit to get me to purchase one, especially any kind of pre-order. Pretty much the game needs to be from either Bioware or Blizzard, and have special things that are worthwhile, like extra content.

Unnecessary shit however, falls to things like knock-off nightvision goggles, plastic batarangs, minature busts of a helmet and yes, most figurines. Why these are special, I dunno.

*Goes off to play with his punching Galeon from Lunar*

First off, I will say that I had purchased the collector's edition of Batman: Arkham Asylum. I can complain about what I spent a hundred bones on, but who I am to do so? I knew ahead of time what I was in for, but I didn't know that the batarang had been changed because some idiot thought it was a good idea to let children play with a dangerous object that was created specifically to sit on a shelf, out of reach from grubby, tiny hands. Still, I sit by my decision of buying it to this day, and I'll live with it for the rest of my life. It's not like it was the first mistake I ever made.

But anyway, about collectors editions as a whole, I can see how stupid they can be for anyone dumb enough to blindly purchase one. Especially if the game ends up being either regretfully lack-luster or a big steaming pile of smelly 1's and 0's. And I agree with Yahtzee on the fanbase factoid that warrant a game's need for special variants and and how they should be sold after the initial sales and feedback come in from the game's first release.

Dorian Cornelius Jasper:



I Don't see anybody ranting about buying A premium Xbox (with the hard disk) opposed to an arcade one (without hard disk) I know it's not the best of comparisons but still

Because it has more storage space than a lowly card.

That's not what I was referring to but ok

Well, that's because you picked a poor example. There's a real, practical reason to buy a premium console and the hard disk is an actual, practical consideration. Limited edition swag, on the other hand, is not. Especially if said edition costs too much more than the base game, at which point you're probably getting ripped off by the cheaply produced, overpriced extras.

But everything is overpriced in this world
surely this is no exception

I only buy collectors editions of series I'm already familiar with, or at least from developers that consistently put out quality games. Even then, it's one of those things where sometimes they go a little nuts. I used to work at a Blockbuster and I remember seeing some of the big huge "Deluxe ultimate collector's" versions of games sitting propped up behind the front desk for over a year, because they were like, $200. Now, Fallout 3 is a good game, but does that box honestly contain enough material to justify spending the extra 140ish dollars? Probably not. Hence why nobody bought it (I haven't worked there in about 4 months now. I wouldn't be surprised if that box is still there).

As for character design, I know he mentioned the TF2 sniper last week, but if anyone who has TF2 is interested in this kind of thing, I highly recommend running through the dev commentary. They go into a lot of detail about their character design process and make a lot of really good points about how to design a character from both an aesthetic and gameplay perspective.

Well what makes good character design depends on the character you're designing. It has to reflect who he or she is and their purpose, kinda like playing a reverse Sherlock Holmes deduction game where you're trying to figure a character out. It doesn't matter if the design is minimal or tacky they both have their meaning.

How would tacky work? Well for one thing if the game takes place in the 80s you'd see a lot of

But seriously tacky would work in a game taking place in a Mad Max setting where society has become nomads and have to carry their items where ever they go. They're always going to have to have that one "scary" mask to ward off other wanders, and if they carry their grenades on their vest that would usually mean they're the untouchable badasses with that one small

(every movie I've ever seen, if the character is wearing a vest of grenades, you know how he's going to get it.)

Minimalism is good of course for overall aesthetics, how the character blends well with the environment when it comes to color coordination. But of course when it comes to character design it's easier to sum up a character with a few trademark features then it is with a hundred.

For instance for all of Mirror's Edges flaws, you can't argue the game didn't have good design and sense of color coordination.

If you look at Faith you have the clothes that obviously tell you she's into parkour or some sort of outdoors activity. She has that bobcut you would see a lot of in 90s movies with femme fatals, and finally you have that little Clockwork Orange tattoo on her eye that sorta spells out it's the future and she is a misfit of what ever establishment is "evil" or "good" at the time.

You know, it just dawned on me that we've only started complaining about day-1 DLC now, but that there's been those "for more money, your game has X and X that the regular edition doesn't!" editions for a long while. Aren't those basically the same thing?

ya to whole collectors edition is iffy and plain outrageous for a game just released. what balls some people must have. what i am a huge fan of is the pre-order bonuses. this is something i hope never goes away. i like the idea of getting a little incentive for pretty much giving a company my money months in advance. sometime though i wish the bonus was more than just a skin or in game item. that's why i liked odst's pre-order bonus which was Sgt. Johnson for use in multiplayer. its something i can show off to others going na-na-na-na-na

Since Game of the year editions are just the game with all it's DC, I'm just waiting a few months before a buying a game now. Look at Fallout 3, it came with expansion packs more than the games worth. Soon more and more people will see things this way, and stop buying games. Waiting for special editions to be released with updated versions of everything and the gaming industy will start to see a decline. However, there're still the "hardcore" gamers that will want the game as soon as it's released, but half of these "hardcore" gamers download them illegaly anyway, so there'll be no difference in the market there.

Edit: Apologies, I see I've gone off topic XP

Just a heads up this is my first post on an Escapist article.
As far as Special/Collectors/Limited editions are concerned I haven't bought one since the Warcraft 3 Battlechest all those years ago because it had both games in one package for the same price as buying them separately. Since then all these new editions don't have anything in them of actual operational value. I can see how fanboys might find them attractive, but fans will see them for what they are: an excuse to spend time and money on something else other than actually working on making a good game.
Now character design. I don't like Twitter because it didn't let me send my entire synopsis of the Mario character; Mario: Italian plumber wearing red and blue outfit indicates subject may be doing drugs, this would also explain the strange settings of all his games and the appearance of bipedal turtles and walking mushrooms as hallucinations from the characters mind.

I don't mind paying a bit more for something substantial. I hate direct downloads, be it games or movies, for the reason that you don't get a physical product. Limited Editions just means more stuff and I'm all for it! In the long run what's an extra $50 for a game really.

I think the barcode on 47 was a nice touch. Obviously the story really isnt the greatest but the barcode went nicely with it. Perhaps an underground assassins company that uses the barcode like something at a grocery store would be better then the clone thing.

I really can't think of anytime I've wanted to shell out more money for a game because it was Special Edition. I'll do it with movies if either the movie was fantastic or something (I think I was probably 1 of about 50 people who spent $35 on the Watchmen Ultimate Cut, so sue me, I loved it) but games?

Games are an iffy product for me to buy already. I do agree with Yahtzee on how rediculous releasing games in special edition stuff before it has a chance to collect an audience that would consider buying it again.

It's like imagining (Movie Lingo Time) if Seltzer and Friedburg (The Parody movie guys) thought that "Meet The Spartans" was so perfect they could have gotten it released by the Criterion Collection before the movie ever came out on DVD.

We know the movie sucks, but to these guys, they are going to release it on a film format that is reserved for auteurs of cinema (And the rare exception of David Fincher for "Benjamin Button"). Try to think of that for a second. Imagine that movie being released on a format known for considering film an Art Form.

Now imagine a game that does the same thing. It is rediculous. Even as a die hard fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, I still wouldn't shell out $30 dollars for the entire trilogy I already own.

It sounds like I am going back and forth on this, but I stand by my thoughts on the whole matter: Don't release a Special Edition anything until the game has the time to appeal to an audience: Without that thought in mind, I see more video game companies going bankrupt on trying to win loyal followers with a prize at the bottom of the cereal box.

But everything is overpriced in this world
surely this is no exception

True, but some markups are worse than others. It's always the consumer's choice--and responsibility--to manage one's money according to one's wishes, but like DLC and increasingly invasive DRM, what starts as relatively inoffensive trends can grow more and more consumer-unfriendly as publishers grow more confident in their customers' willingness to give ground.

There's also the crass materialism involved in the urge to buy these overpriced swag bundles, but nobody actually minds crass materialism. Heh.

No mention of Pac Man for good character design?

I have a fantastic piece of advice re: character designs.

First, pretend you are me (I am an animation student, so this part is important). Are you pretending to be a gigantic hairy sasquatch reject? Good.

Now, imagine you have been instructed by a teacher or employer to animate a character (say, War from Darksiders). I should point out at this point that, as me, you specialize in traditional methods of animation and will therefore be drawing multiple, slightly-different drawings in order to bring the character to life.

Pay careful attention to the point at which you are overcome by the desire to rip your teacher/employer's throat out with your teeth. If it happens at all based on the character you're trying to animate, you have a bad character design and need to start over.

Animated characters need simple, recognizable designs for the same reasons as video game characters, and also because if you try to tell us animators to animate a character as busily detailed as War, we WILL hunt you down like an animal and devour your raw, steaming flesh.


Rather funny!

Hes right about Bayonetta though why would anyone want her guns??

Well they'd want her "guns" but I think whoever was in charge didn't understand the concept of entendre.

That's funny. I always thought "guns" was an entendre for large, muscly arms, generally on men.

Mario: Italian plumber wearing red and blue outfit indicates subject may be doing drugs, this would also explain the strange settings of all his games and the appearance of bipedal turtles and walking mushrooms as hallucinations from the characters mind.

Wuh? Wearing red and blue means you're on drugs? O_o *changes clothes*
Anyway, welcome to the Escapist! Don't feed the trolls.

I always thought Game of the Year editions just meant it included the game with all the DLC about a year down the track. I always think hard about whether or not I want to buy the limited edition version of whatever game I'm considering getting. The last limited edition version of a game I got was the Fallout 3 limited edition, because I just loved the look of it so much I had to get the artbook, but unless I'm really itching to get my hands on a certain game that looks awesome, I just pick up the game by itself. I'm considering whether or not I'll get the FFXIII limited edition at the moment, and if I get it, I expect it will be the last one I get for a while.

Mario: I dunno. Certainly very brightly-coloured, iconic, and simple, but I think the laws of Mario's universe are a bit too arbitrary for character design to effectively communicate much. I don't look at Mario's appearance and think "turtle-hating high-jumping twat."

I'm pretty sure that's not what Nintendo had in mind when they made Mario. Especially when it was as far back as 1982. Hell, Mario never originally jumped on turtles. He started with leaping over barrels being thrown by a giant gorilla. So I'm really not seeing Yahtzee's point there. Maybe Mario is just too hard for Yahtzee to evaluate with his view of character design.

I'd have loved for Yahtzee to use Travis Touchdown as an example in the article though. He's a more modern day type of character design. You can obviously tell from the specs and the anime shirt that he's a nerd and yet, ironically enough if you were to see him come at you with that beam katanna of his you'd probably piss your pants before he cut your head off. (Seriously, have you seen the scowl on that guy? He can look pretty fucking scary when he's mad)

the whole analogy of limited editions and anime piraters who print their gloss covers for self made boxes is kind of rude and old-fashioned, don't you think? I know you're quite ancient, but just because you came out of a biological greenhouse before other people doesn't mean you can't and adapt your views. I don't see anything wrong with the proliferation limited editions both because 1)it's incentive for people to spend, and gaming as service/entertainment industry must rely on people to spend and spend, and 2)things are weird because it's not commonly done in that region, not because it's inherently strange; hey, if more people do it, that girl you bring back to your apartment filled with ugly, burly, growling men with machine guns the size of their legs which are the the size of elephant's legs might just seem...okay.

Speaking of Special Editions that didn't need to happen, Saint's Row 2 had one with a bullet shaped flash drive.

I love that thing.

I find it kind of harsh on the comment about the people that buys special editions; I am one of the people that buy special editions just for the sake of it being "special".

let me put a background on this, I am quite a simple man, I have no other addictions besides Video Games, and well, I like special editions because those are the only "outlets" for my "impulses" I donīt buy expensive clothes, I donīt have a fancy car, I have a kid which I am sure doesnīt need anything I havenīt provided, so the only real expense (or luxury) I give myself are my Video Games, I love the helmet from Halo 3, I love the batarang and the lunch box with the bobble head, even more the night vision goggles, this expensive games I get are my way of telling myself "damn!, you are awesome, you manage to keep your family well fed and send your son to school and still have enough money to buy special editions", now donīt get me wrong, I only buy special editions that I think are worthy of being in a special edition.

But I do understand one of the most important issues, the quality of the Special Editions, and the price of said editions is kind of disjointed, and I would like to see more of my moneys worth in those editions.

great character design?

or was that just great writing?

anyhow i have bought special editions, but not of games, i bought the special addition of laura marling's first album, because it came with a ton of stuff, including concert tickets and a board game, and even though it was about 3 times the price of the cd, i genuinely want to support the artist so i hiked it out.

and i think that special editions are just a way of making up for piracy losses, they assume that if the people who wouldn't spend the money to play it don't, then they can recoup some by making the people who would pay more, pay more.

I just hate when collectors editions get IN game content, that's bullshit.


That's funny. I always thought "guns" was an entendre for large, muscly arms, generally on men.

That's the magic of entendre and the human imagination. As long as it would work by some stretch of the imagination it's acceptable, and even though it's an irregular use of the word guns that it would work by some stretch of the imagination makes it good. Also Austin Powers did something like this with the fem-bots so it has precedent.

I very much respect Yahtzee's point here in the article. I have been quite displeased at the rush to insist any idiot will believe the packaging of a game simply because it says "Special Edition". All that means is to pony up another $20-$60 to play the same game... and isn't that what it is about anyway? Who gives a flying donkey show fuck about collector's cards, dolls, posters, or soundtracks? If you enjoy all that stuff, more power to you. But it in no way constitutes making the game any more "special". GOTY editions do make sense in that some include DLC content or added maps, which actually rewards people with the patience not to run out and buy a game the day it hits the market.
I sense a lot of these companies are missing out on merch opportunities in the long run by tossing these little baubles out with the game box instead of trying to lure people in to buying the toys and posters and soundtracks apart from the game. There is a lot of cost that isn't being discussed with this premise, but the fact remains that your average 12 year old can't afford $80 for a video game. If they truly want to make a collector's anything for a video game, I could see them getting a professional to make up some figurines, charge $30 for a character from a video game and be done with the whole thing. At least make it look a little more mature instead of some goofy cartoonish looking plastic piece of crap sitting on your desk that no one gets the reference to, unless you work in a game studio. If that's the case, then you get all your swag for free anyway.
I reinforce the main point: save the "Special Editions" for games with a pedigree or a history to build from, not some flash-in-the-pan first and only run game who's studio is going in the toilet before the sales figures for the game's release week can be calculated up.

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