Alpha Protocol has a unique pre-order bonus item promotion - you'll get different weapons depending on which retailer you pre-order with - but developer Obsidian says that people who don't pre-order at all won't be getting the short end of the stick.
Depending on where your allegiances lie when it comes to videogame retailers, you might be getting a slightly different Alpha Protocol experience than others. GameStop pre-order customers will receive two in-game weapons aimed toward the guns-blazing approach and Gamecrazy customers will receive items geared toward stealthy gameplay.
But what about people who want to pre-order Obsidian Entertainment's action-RPG from other stores, or who maybe don't want to pre-order it at all? Are they going to be missing out on a good part of the Alpha Protocol action just because they don't want to slap down a $5 deposit on a game? Obsidian doesn't think so.
"Weapons are an important part of Alpha Protocol's gameplay: players will choose from hundreds of weapon customization options in addition to the thousands of story and skill choices made," Matthew Rorie of Obsidian told The Escapist. "So these weapons are going to be fun bonuses for our fans, but they're not the only weapons and mods with some interesting attributes."
So, as intriguing a shotgun called the UC Regulator with good stats and mods sounds, you don't really need to pre-order unless you really want to - there are supposedly plenty of other guns in the game that are just as good.
This whole business of offering pre-order bonus items for games can be a neat promotion tool or run the risk of drastically changing the experience of a game solely because of how and where you buy your games. Obsidian's intent, they say, is only to deliver a little gift to the fans who have been waiting patiently for their game.
"Pre-orders are an important part of our industry," Rorie said. "When designing these, we simply wanted to reward fans of the game with a few different weapon options if they are excited enough to pre-order and play immediately on October 6."
The GameStop pre-order bonus is called the Assault Weapons Pack and includes two "specially modified weapons" in the UC Regulator and a rifle called the Rittergroupen Grizzly (nice name) with high accuracy, as well as some explosive sounding ammo like "epinephrine spikes." Michael Bay fans are probably going to go for this one.
The Gamecrazy bonus pack comes with the Hamilton Marksman, a high accuracy pistol, and the Samael Typhoon, a "high recoil control SMG," as well as some tranquilizer rounds, remote mines and "radio mimics." Sounds like the better choice for the Solid Snake/Sam Fisher wannabes.