Poe’s Point > Dante’s Retail Purgatory


So I’m somewhat interested in the upcoming videogame Dante’s Inferno, and NECA’s figure looks pretty cool too. However, I posted on Twitter recently that if the game wasn’t good, I probably wouldn’t want the figure–I rarely, if ever, buy toys just because they look good. I need to have some attachment to the property.

That said, I also rarely, if ever, pre-order videogames. Videogames are just too expensive an investment to risk them being crappy. There are obvious exceptions (e.g., it’s unlikely a sequel to a proven franchise like Halo is going to be terrible), but for the most part you won’t see me pre-ordering a videogame. Heck, most of the time I can wait until a few months have gone by and I can buy it used and save a few more bucks. So I can imagine a scenario whereby Dante’s Inferno gets good reviews, so I go out and buy the figure before I even get the game.

However, that’s not going to be an option this time.

The Dante action figure will be available in North America exclusively when you pre-order the game from select video game retailers, including GameStop, GameCrazy, TRU, Blockbuster, and Hastings. This is an added incentive to purchase Dante’s Inferno; a free $14 action figure for buying the game, which is great deal. Check with your local retailers and/or the Dante’s Inferno website for further details. The Dante figure will be available by itself in full clamshell packaging outside the U.S.

Dante’s Inferno has already had some iffy buzz; there’s just no way I’m going to pre-order it. Even if I do buy it–even if I were to buy it new–it would be after the reviews came out. So apparently, unless I’m willing to risk $60 on what could be a disappointing game, I can’t get a Dante figure. And what the hell is up with it being sold overseas in a regular package?

I see two possible reasons for this. One, Electronic Arts is worried about the game’s sales and made a deal with NECA for what is admittedly a pretty awesome exclusive incentive. Or two, NECA came up with the idea as a creative solution to a distribution problem–i.e., U.S. retailers wouldn’t bite after all the Gears of War, Castlevania, Bionic Commando and Prototype product cluttering their shelves and NECA had to look for another way to get the figures to fans.

Either way, I’m annoyed. I suspect the figure won’t be too hard to get on eBay–there will probably be a good number of gamers who pre-order and couldn’t care less about the figure–but it’s still annoying. If it had been an Ezio figure from Assassin’s Creed II with this set-up, I’d be ripshit.

Comments now closed (27)

  • There is a third option – The retailers. The retail game industry is falling apart and everyone, including the retailers themselves, suggest there are less than 5 years before they all close up shop. almost 50% of all new games are purchased as digital downloads now and consuls are moving the number upwards at a faster and faster rate. These retailers HAVE to find a way to force customers to actually go into a store and make a purchase and a figure like this will do it. Many people will chose to pre-order the game either because they want it or they know they can re-sell it.

    NECA is my last choice, they could get better sales off their own web-site so I am sure this was a deal between the retailers and EA

  • All I have to say is "bleh". I was really stoked for this figure when I read about it. I'm not a gamer by any means, so therefore buying the game really isn't in my window. This just looks like such a cool figure though… to eBay then, I guess…

  • I assume that you get the figure with the game, not when you preorder. Otherwise there's going to be a ton of people giving the $5 preorder and never coming back for the game. Usually they don't give you premiums like that up front, but its happened before.

  • I try hard not to be an old fuddy-duddy, but as a literature teacher who loves Dante's work and teaches it regularly, I am trying hard to pretend this game doesn't exist.

  • @LBAM: I'm right with you. I'm usually pretty open to reinventions and different interpretations of classic works, but I am really having a hard time with this. I’m scared that next they’ll design a game based on Ulysses, where Bloom rampages through Dublin, dual wielding pistols and carrying a rocket launcher on his back.

  • Poe, just pre-order the game at Gamestop… pick up your figure and game at the time of release, don't open the game and return it at either another gamestop or in a day of two, or by then reviews will be up and you may not have to return it. Gamestop allows returns on unopened new games within 30 days for a full refund, claim it was a gift that the gifty didn't want.

  • This will turn up at Forbidden Planet in the UK, I can keep and eye out for it and snag you one and send it over if you want.

    Problem solved.

    FP have a decent selection of toys from games.

    Makes a change for the UK to get something the US doesn't…sort of.

    Anyway, let me know.

  • Ha…I can vouch for the Gamestop return method. Hell, I know people who bought Smackdown and Ultimate Alliance 2 at Gamestop and returned the cheaper copy from Amazon and the employees took them despite the copies missing the big stickers advertising Gamestops exclusive DLC.

  • @Russ:

    You just gave voice to the recurring nightmare of this Irish Studies major. And it is a horrifying thought. What'd be next? Whitman killing Confederate soldiers by the bushel to restore the Republic?

  • @Tekwych: The 400 billion copies of COD MW2 disagree with you. So do the nearly million units of New Super Mario brothers. Games that have barely been out weeks that have sold millions and millions of copies.

    I don't know where you're getting those stats from, but just like the whole "Digital Media will replace DVD" scare, it's not happening. Not for another 5-10 years at the least.

    Games are selling better now than ever. The key is GOOD games. Most video games aren't even available for digital download. Usually the ones that are aren't the same kinds of games. I download a fair amount of games, but they're $5, $10 or FREE games.

    That's just more industry scuttlebutt to scare people. DVDs, Video Games and Movie Theatres aren't going anywhere, anytime soon. Talk to me in a decade.

  • I figured out what ticks me off on the design…His headgear belongs to Queen Bavmorda from Willow,lol.

  • @Newton Gimmick:

    The games are selling, yes. But not from the B&M game speciality stores. WM, Target, Best Buy and Digital sales have taken everything away. Stores like GameStop and GameCrazy are going out of business. Its why they're all trying to but into existing digital distribution systems to keep the money flowing. These speciality stores will not be able to survive as they exist now and their management teams know it. Look at the number of stores any of these chains have closed this year and note that not a single one of them has opened a new location.

  • This game looks great but you'll have to see about re-playability, otherwise its a rent. Looks like a God of War knock off like that Conan the Barbarian game released awhile back. And coincidentally, God of War 3 comes out just over a month later. Capitalizing on the hype, are they?

  • @LBAM: um boys… i hate to point this out, but for a competant teacher, ANY exposure that gets kids looking at/thinking about/hearing about classic lit is a good thing. my brother is also a eng lit teacher, and you better believe, every time a beowulf movie, or an illiad movie or an arthur movie comes out, he's get to re-engage to a new generation of movie goers and game players and treat them to the bountiful world beyond the two hour movie. forgive me, but if you think the dante game will hurt your ability to teach the material, you're not much of a teacher.

  • that said, i want the fig, and likely won't play the game… and there's nothing like a free action figure. i just have to look myself in the mirror and decide if i'm really that kind of douche…

  • I"M that kind of douche. But not the kind to insult a man's profession, Dayraven.

  • @dayraven: Usually, I'm totally in agreement with you. I love it when my students get exposure to classics via new mediums. When American McGee released Alice a few years back, that really sparked some interesting debate with my students that had played it. Of course, Alice didn't feature (possible) baby killing or a fake religious protest.

  • @dayraven:

    Hey Dayraven,

    Since you can't even actually spell 'competent' I'm going to assume you're not in the very small percentage of people whose qualifications regarding the teaching of literature are superior to mine. If you'd like to compare, let's go ahead. Until then, piss off and don't ever try to tell me how to do my job or what I should think about it.

  • Let me clarify WHY I don't find much value in this adaptation:

    Mostly it seems like a blatant and callow attempt to cash in on the well known name of "Dante's Inferno." There's no reason inherent to the narrative to use Dante's Inferno to tell the story of a badass dude picking up Deaths' Scythe and killing tons of demons. Video game writers invent stories for that kind of thing all the time. As a capitalist, I am all for game designers making money, but if their only reason to use "Dante's Inferno" is to create name recognition in order to drive profits, it's a bad decision creatively and it inevitably affects how I'm going to view the adaptation (poorly).

    Finally, The Divine Comedy has maintained awareness, excited audiences, and been hailed for its genius for 700 years now. More people have read it than will ever play this game. It doesn't need this game; this game needs it (and apparently a lot of invented controversy) in order to sell.

  • LBAM, DayRaven:

    I understand both of your points, but I think LBAM is in the right on this one. The issue isn't that something new is being done with this work; the issue is that the work's name and setting is being taken and little else. Most adaptations of Beowulf, or The Iliad, or Arthurian myth may change a lot, but they maintain a dialogue with the original work. This game, on the other hand, seems to be changing the entire context of The Divine Comedy in order to fit into a hack-and-slash God of War rip-off. If they'd called this game "Inferno (Inspired by Dante's Inferno)," I wouldn't mind; but when they're pushing this as a representation of the story while simultaneously ignoring everything about it other than "Name=Dante" and "setting=Hell," well, it seems a bit crude. Likewise, things like… well, every "controversy" and advertising campaign make it pretty clear that EA isn't intent on respecting the work.

  • i think you're missing the point… even if the game is WILDLY inaccurate, it still keeps the name alive and youth of today "in the know" enough that a teacher can use the game's falacies to inspire commentary and provide a connection to the actual source material that the students did not have before. i dare say you WANT the game to be way off target, as it provides an easy segue into the written material to inform a potential audience of where the new story departs. it's a pretty hard sell to tell kids "hey, this game is based on an old story… and is so accurate to the source material, it's like you're already played through and beaten the book… now crack that cover and let's get reading!"

    as for it employing dante's name in an exploitative way, that's complete poppycock. dante was at best a medicore writer, and if released contemporaneously, the divine comedy wouldn't have gotten any more attention than dean koontz' "lightning." what made him popular was that he was writing back when writing had just come back into vogue, and he was talking about hell in a way that people could relate to… whereas previous texts on the subject took a much more ephemeral and spiritual slant, he turned hell into pop culture… so he was definitely the stephanie myers of his day. and obviously, john milton hadn't written "paradise lost" yet, which really, when discussing the fiction lit of christian mythology, is the bar against which every other narrative should be measured. i mean, come on, the guy didn't even write the book in latin… if i wrote a book in street lingo, do i automatically gain respect? hell no! and i sure as hell couldn't impress people if i used passages like "the moment was so breathtaking, i can't describe it." part of being a capable writer is WRITING THE DESCRIPTIVE PARTS!

    but again, the important thing here is, it's a window through which one can make the past and the literature mean something to a modern audience, and that's nothing to sneeze at. now, if you'll excuse me, i'm off to spread my typos and wisdom elsewhere on the web… good day gents. 😉

  • @dayraven: When the subject matter has been butchered it is worthless exposing kids to it. Look at the films Arthur from a few years back and Disney's Musketeers.

  • Once you declare that Dante was a "mediocre writer" you have identified yourself as someone whose opinions on the matter may be safely avoided.

  • @LBAM: or someone who read the works and has an honest reaction, rather than the uptight meandering of relic. i'm similarly unimpressed w/ the works of shakespeare. face it, his narrative was weak, he chose the low-brow vernacular language to write it in rather use the vehicular of the time, and it's simply put, a narrative that doesn't hold up to it's reputation. you can stand there all you want on your pedestal professor, but it doesn't change the fact that i refuse to be swayed by your opinion. the guy is almost literally half a tolkien… that's not impressive to me. like any bit of art, it's only as important as the reaction of it's audience. you sad resistance to dissenting opinion only further paints you as a dinosaur. it's perfectly ok for my opinion to differ from yours, so in it's dismissal, you've just reinforced every negative sterotype about you that inspired my initial reaction to your close-minded post. you sir, are an elitist. and shame on you. try reading something written in this century, you may find that literature as an art has evolved dramatically since the 1200s… you know, like everything else has.

  • I'm no authority on classic/famous literary works, but I certainly can understand how one feels about certain works that are put up high on a pedastal. For instance, the film Citizen Kane, while I appreciate what it did at the time and recognise the achievements, at the end of the day, I honestly don't think its that great of a movie. I've taken four classes in film and in each one I've had to watch it, and each time I feel the same way about it. Yet most film scholar/critics all sing its high praises.

    I'm sure some may cringe, but in general, if something comes along that raises awareness or interest in any sort of classic literature or film, it can't be all that bad.