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Video Game Merchandise That Turned Out Different Than Advertised

Gamers often show their dedication to their favorite titles and franchises by purchasing merchandise to wear while out and about or put on display in their homes. From models of iconic ships and vehicles to posters and branded clothing, players have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to emphasizing just how much they love their fandoms. They can even purchase special editions of upcoming releases for access to interesting merchandise. While some video game collector's editions have gone a bit overboard, many come with fun bonuses like soundtracks, statues, decks of playing cards, or steelbook cases.


Unfortunately, collector's items don't always live up to the expectations created by the companies behind the associated game. Sometimes dedicated fans finally receive their expensive collector's editions in the mail, only to discover that the promised features only bear a passing resemblance to what they thought they had purchased. This misleading advertising has led to crushed dreams, broken trust, and disillusioned playerbases. Some game publishers have even become repeat offenders.

Honorable mention: Fable 2's last minute change

"Fable 2" was slated to be a massive release for the Xbox 360 in 2008. It was an exclusive RPG for the system and a follow-up to the largely successful first "Fable" for the original Xbox and PC. To capitalize on the hype for the choice-driven title, Microsoft announced a special collector's edition that sold through pre-orders leading up to the game's release. It was advertised as coming with a cute figurine of the Hobbe enemy type, a behind-the-scenes DVD, a set of themed tarot cards, a special box, and some exclusive DLC that let the player dress up like Master Chief from "Halo" (via Destructoid).


Just a few short weeks before launch, however, Microsoft diminished the contents of the collector's edition because of "supply chain issues." The company announced that the collector's edition would drop most of its physical components and only include the bonus DVD and the in-game DLC. With the decrease in content, Microsoft also lowered the edition's price from $80 to $70, but fans were still disappointed to miss out on the physical goodies. To make matters worse, according to TechCrunch, some buyers didn't get the code for the in-game DLC with their package and had to get it sent to them from Xbox's support team later on. However, "Fable 2" only gets an honorable mention because it was a change made just before release rather than false advertising.


Fallout 76's nylon bag

"Fallout 76" made the risky move of attempting to translate the world and structure of the "Fallout" series to an online survival MMO. However, the game went on to have a troubled development and rough release. "Fallout 76" bombed at launch due to a host of bugs, optimization issues, and a lack of engaging content for players to experience. Further souring the title's difficult start, fans that shelled out for the collector's edition found it terribly subpar. The special bundle promised to come with a plastic version of the iconic "Fallout" power armor helmet, a physical version of the game's map, some figures, and a canvas bag with branding for the in-game company West Tek. 


When they received their collector's editions, players discovered that the bag wasn't canvas at all and was instead made out of much cheaper nylon (via Kotaku). This is particularly bad because the advertisements for the edition reportedly stated that it would be made out of canvas — even after players received the nylon version instead. When fans complained about the change, Bethesda didn't offer a replacement, but instead gave them 500 Atoms, the game's premium currency, which is equal to around $5. As reported by Game Rant, the situation only worsened when it came out that Bethesda gifted bags of a better quality to influencers (per YouTuber HeelvsBabyface) while reserving the cheaper nylon varieties for paying customers. 


Hitman's imposter

While the titles in the "Hitman" series have gone through numerous iterations and changes, protagonist Agent 47 has not. This helped the bald, stoic character sporting a barcode tattoo on the back of his head become an industry icon. His star power even placed him at the center of two movies and a few novels. With Agent 47's popularity, it is not surprising that fans would want to collect memorabilia based on him, like statues or posters. However, one fan who goes by @DaSt34lth4g3nt on Twitter purchased an Agent 47 statue that was not at all what the seller advertised it to be.


The official image of the item on Amazon showed a high quality, detailed, 10.24-Inch PVC statue that depicted Agent 47 walking while aiming pistols in two directions. As pointed out by commenters, the version that @DaSt34lth4g3nt received looked more like the face from the popular "Stonks" meme than the product shown in the listing. Beyond that departure, the statue they got was also obviously of a much cheaper quality than the one advertised, both in terms of the material used and the paint job. Even the base of the statue was different, shaped into a small black square instead of a larger white and black circle.

Witcher statue issues

Another iconic protagonist who has seen plenty of memorabilia for fans to buy is Geralt of Rivia from "The Witcher." He has also had his fair share of botched statues released as part of collector's editions for his franchise. The first was a bust of Geralt that came with "The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings" alongside an artbook, a manual, and a few other fun items. Unfortunately, many fans received their busts in various states of disrepair. However, CD Projekt Red quickly sent out replacements to all buyers who encountered the issues. 


Similarly, when "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" came around, the game's collector's edition included an incredible looking statue of Geralt fighting a griffin. When players received the statues, however, many of them bore sloppy paint jobs on Geralt's face that looked nothing like him. Fans who purchased the collector's edition were understandably upset with the poor quality of the painting. 

Call of Duty World at War canteen

The collector's edition of "Call of Duty World at War" was a straightforward one. It came with early access to the FG 42 Machine Gun, a special storage tin to hold the game, a colored clan tag and a week of double experience in multiplayer, and a stainless steel canteen with the game's logo on one side of it (via IGN). With the canteen serving as one of two main physical components of the edition, fans were especially disappointed to learn that it wasn't actually a functioning vessel. Instead, its top was glued to the body so that it could not be removed.


Some fans managed to break the top off, but then reported that the inside of the canteen smelled terrible and would likely spoil any liquid put into it. Given that players couldn't store liquids in the container, it is unclear what its use was intended to be. The canteen's circular shape prevents it from standing up on its own and it didn't come with a stand, so it is very difficult to display in any way unless one manages to find or make their own stand for it.

Final Fantasy 14's moldy cups

"Final Fantasy 14" is another game that suffered from a historically bad launch (via Polygon). The title was considered unplayable by many, and ultimately had its servers shut down so that it could be entirely re-built and re-launched as "Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn." While "A Realm Reborn" saved the game and made it one of the most popular MMO's in the world, there are some blemishes on its story that cannot be erased.


One particular blemish came from an object that players got with the original "Final Fantasy 14" collector's edition in Japan. The edition came with numerous in-game items and other fun knickknacks, but once it was delivered few players talked about anything other than the included metal cup with a leather wrap around it. This is because the instructions that accompanied the bundle curiously stated that the cup could not be used to hold liquids or solids (per Games and Geekery). No matter how nice the cup looked, players who bought it were left questioning what could even be placed inside it. The answer ended up being particularly unpalatable, as tons of fans reported that the cup they received was filthy and covered with growing white mold.


Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's stones

The advertisements for the collector's edition of "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite" made the package seem like a great deal. It included not only the deluxe version of the game but detailed statues of iconic characters like Chun-Li, Mega Man, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man. On top of that, it also featured a lined case with Marvel's six Infinity Stones, which played a big role in the game and the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. 


The Infinity Stones in the advertisements for the edition made them look like gemstones, and while the $200 asking price implied that they wouldn't be real gemstones, players still expected them to at least look the part. Unfortunately, the Infinity Stones ended up looking nothing like how they were originally shown. Instead, they were made of plastic with flat colors, which led many players to compare them to plastic Easter eggs rather than a desirable piece of gaming merchandise. 

Max Payne's lean

There was a lot of excitement around Rockstar's "Max Payne 3." It was going to be the studio's first time taking a swing at the cult classic stylish shooter franchise, and it looked very promising. The game was also announced to have a collector's edition that included an art book, a bullet key chain, and a statue of Max Payne himself. 


When the game released, players were mostly happy with the collector's edition. The statue of Max didn't look exactly like the art shown on Rockstar's website, but it looked good enough to not spark a controversy. Shortly after the launch, however, fans reported that their statues were beginning to lean. This saw Max bending at the legs as the weight of the upper half of the statue slowly pulled him closer to the ground, permanently warping the plastic legs in the process.

Xenoblade Chronicles X's OST

One of the more misleading pieces of gaming merch came in the limited edition of the Wii U game "Xenoblade Chronicles X." The edition offered the usual steelbook case, artbook, and even a matte card of concept art for display. However, it was also advertised as including a unique USB stick that held ten songs from the game's soundtrack (via Polygon). Fans were disappointed that the USB had such a small percentage of the soundtrack, but that ended up only being the beginning of the unassuming collectible's issues. 


Fans of the game quickly discovered that the USB included a shoddy piece of DRM on it, causing them to head to Reddit and message boards to warn others against plugging it into their computers. Specifically, the USB's DRM would claim one of the drives of the computer that it was plugged into and completely lock it up, preventing it from being used for anything else. This was particularly dangerous for computers that only had one drive on them, as it could disrupt the entire system, preventing the issue from being reversed. 

To make matters worse, the USB would target the Y drive by default. Y drives are most commonly used for network drives, especially for businesses, meaning that any fan hoping to listen to the music at work could end up disrupting their entire workplace on accident. 


BioShock's broken figures

Another iconic character done dirty by poor statues is the Big Daddy from "BioShock." A statue of the menacing enemy was included with the collector's edition of the first game. However, when the entry finally released, many of the players that purchased the collector's edition received their packages only to find the statues broken in some form


The breaks suffered by the statue varied, but fans reported some being unboxed with a detached arm; the tip of its drill being broken off was also exceedingly common. This was a particularly bad look since it was the first game in a new franchise, meaning that fans who opted for the collector's edition took an especially big risk in paying extra for an IP they had never even played before. Thankfully, 2K Games eventually replaced any broken statues for owners that reached out and sent them a physical version of the digital art book included in the edition (via Ars Technica). 

Dragon Age: Inquisition Inquisitor's Edition

The Inquisitor's Edition of "Dragon Age: Inquisition" seemed like a great purchase for dedicated fans of the fantasy RPG series. It came with a large map of the series' world along with map markers like the ones used in the game, a feather quill and ink set, a themed journal, some tarot cards, and even a set of lock picks. 


When it was eventually delivered, however, fans who shelled out the extra money for the Inquisitor's Edition discovered that all of its components were very cheaply made. Even the lock picks were composed of thin plastic, making them useless to anyone with any hope of using them. Further, fans reported that some of the plastic components were broken when they took them out of the box. Even the map that was advertised as coming with the edition was blurry as if it was a smaller image that had been poorly scaled up to fit. 

Dead Space 2's lackluster replica

There are plenty of horrors and frights that people remember "Dead Space 2" for, but some fans also remember it for its terribly disappointing collector's edition. Most of the bundle was fine. Its special case worked as it should, its soundtrack was complete, and the in-game DLC worked properly. However, arguably the two biggest parts of the collector's edition were its concept art and the replica of the series' iconic plasma cutter weapon. From the edition's advertising, some aspects of both items were unclear, which led to fans feeling cheated when they eventually received them. 


For one, the concept art was confined to a single postcard with numerous pieces of concept art arranged on it, rather than a booklet or multiple pieces of individual art found in many similar editions. The replica plasma cutter was particularly disappointing as it was the main reason many fans wanted the edition at all, but it ended up being comically small. At roughly the size of the game disc, fans felt that it was incredibly cheap. That feeling wasn't helped by the fact that its plastic made it feel like a toy from a fast food restaurant kid's meal and its paint job didn't even match its appearance in the games.