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Locked Up: Activision Flip Flops on GoldenEye's Paintball Mode

Activision's decision to make classic multiplayer variant a pre-order bonus is just...ugh.

Paintball mode in GoldenEye 007 had to be earned. On Wii, it was unlocked by default. Now, it's a pre-order exclusive.

Turns out the Internet’s rabid paranoia was right on this time around.

When Activision issued detailing pre-order incentives for GoldenEye 007: Reloaded this week, it mentioned GameStop pre-orders would have a code unlock paintball mode, a classic visual "cheat" from the original. The fear was no one else would have access to paintball mode, but Activision dismissed those fears, telling me it was a standard in-game unlockable.

"If you don’t pre-order the game from GameStop you’ll still be able to play the Paintball mode, but you’ll need to unlock it by progressing through the game," said an Activision representative to me on Tuesday.

As fun as GoldenEye's single player was, it was multiplayer where the hundreds of hours went.

All good, right? Wrong. Activision sent me a note earlier today with a rather unfortunate correction: paintball mode actually is exclusive to GameStop. You will not be able to unlock it any other way.

“For online multiplayer, paintball is exclusive to Gamestop consumers, you can’t get it without an unlock code,” said the rep. “It’s still available as an offline mode for Mi6 Ops missions.”

Okay, fine. Maybe Activision’s simply planning to roll this out as downloadable content, as has been standard practice this generation.

“All DLC is TBA [to be announced], nothing is confirmed yet,” said the rep.

If you're playing online and the host has paintball turned on, you'll see it, too...which means it's on the disc.

Sigh.

I realize moaning about a simple paintball variant is a weird thing to get hung up on, but hell, paintball was one of my favorite modes from GoldenEye 007. Unlocking paintball wasn’t easy, either; it required beating the Dam stage on Secret Agent in two minutes and 40 seconds. This was a satisfying achievement before Microsoft attached scores to such things. My friend group would sit around the TV for hours, playing each level over and over again, in hopes of shaving a few seconds off our time.

We never did unlock Invincibility.

But when we finally unlocked paintball, we’d earned the right to play paintball--and damn it felt good. So while anyone who picked up GoldenEye 007: Reloaded through GameStop could optionally unlock the mode early, everyone else would still have the ability to flip on paintball the old fashioned way: earning it.

In light of Warner Bros.’ decision to lock Catwoman behind an Online Pass, despite heavily promoting her involvement until the week before the game’s release, it’s not hard to feel like things have gotten wildly out of control. Publishers, where the heck is the line here? Players, maybe we need to start drawing it. For me, apparently, it's blatantly taking advantage of my nostalgia.

The situation reminds me of an image I found on Reddit, a sentiment that probably rings true with some of you:

There are reasons this has changed, though.

The relationship between players and marketing has evolved, becoming more personal--witness the rise of the community manager. It’s about “brand engagement” today, with companies obsessing over the number of retweets, likes, and shares across social networks. Many fans are completely okay with this. It works for some fans, and doesn’t for others.

At some point, though, when has everyone lost sight about, you know, the game?

That’s what rubs me wrong about this. You wouldn’t include paintball mode in a remix of GoldenEye 007 unless you were intentionally strumming the strings of my own memories, but by locking it behind a retailer purchasing incentive, it insultingly misses the point. You know what's worse? Paintball was unlocked by default in the Wii version from last year. Default.

Perhaps it’s telling that Activision told me one thing on Tuesday and another thing on Thursday--even the publishers we're upset at aren’t sure what’s going on or what to do. Activision had it right the first time, though, and it still has time to fix it.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Paintball mode in GoldenEye 007 had to be earned. On Wii, it was unlocked by default. Now, it's a pre-order exclusive.

Turns out the Internet’s rabid paranoia was right on this time around.

When Activision issued detailing pre-order incentives for GoldenEye 007: Reloaded this week, it mentioned GameStop pre-orders would have a code unlock paintball mode, a classic visual "cheat" from the original. The fear was no one else would have access to paintball mode, but Activision dismissed those fears, telling me it was a standard in-game unlockable.

"If you don’t pre-order the game from GameStop you’ll still be able to play the Paintball mode, but you’ll need to unlock it by progressing through the game," said an Activision representative to me on Tuesday.

As fun as GoldenEye's single player was, it was multiplayer where the hundreds of hours went.

All good, right? Wrong. Activision sent me a note earlier today with a rather unfortunate correction: paintball mode actually is exclusive to GameStop. You will not be able to unlock it any other way.

“For online multiplayer, paintball is exclusive to Gamestop consumers, you can’t get it without an unlock code,” said the rep. “It’s still available as an offline mode for Mi6 Ops missions.”

Okay, fine. Maybe Activision’s simply planning to roll this out as downloadable content, as has been standard practice this generation.

“All DLC is TBA [to be announced], nothing is confirmed yet,” said the rep.

If you're playing online and the host has paintball turned on, you'll see it, too...which means it's on the disc.

Sigh.

I realize moaning about a simple paintball variant is a weird thing to get hung up on, but hell, paintball was one of my favorite modes from GoldenEye 007. Unlocking paintball wasn’t easy, either; it required beating the Dam stage on Secret Agent in two minutes and 40 seconds. This was a satisfying achievement before Microsoft attached scores to such things. My friend group would sit around the TV for hours, playing each level over and over again, in hopes of shaving a few seconds off our time.

We never did unlock Invincibility.

But when we finally unlocked paintball, we’d earned the right to play paintball--and damn it felt good. So while anyone who picked up GoldenEye 007: Reloaded through GameStop could optionally unlock the mode early, everyone else would still have the ability to flip on paintball the old fashioned way: earning it.

In light of Warner Bros.’ decision to lock Catwoman behind an Online Pass, despite heavily promoting her involvement until the week before the game’s release, it’s not hard to feel like things have gotten wildly out of control. Publishers, where the heck is the line here? Players, maybe we need to start drawing it. For me, apparently, it's blatantly taking advantage of my nostalgia.

The situation reminds me of an image I found on Reddit, a sentiment that probably rings true with some of you:

There are reasons this has changed, though.

The relationship between players and marketing has evolved, becoming more personal--witness the rise of the community manager. It’s about “brand engagement” today, with companies obsessing over the number of retweets, likes, and shares across social networks. Many fans are completely okay with this. It works for some fans, and doesn’t for others.

At some point, though, when has everyone lost sight about, you know, the game?

That’s what rubs me wrong about this. You wouldn’t include paintball mode in a remix of GoldenEye 007 unless you were intentionally strumming the strings of my own memories, but by locking it behind a retailer purchasing incentive, it insultingly misses the point. You know what's worse? Paintball was unlocked by default in the Wii version from last year. Default.

Perhaps it’s telling that Activision told me one thing on Tuesday and another thing on Thursday--even the publishers we're upset at aren’t sure what’s going on or what to do. Activision had it right the first time, though, and it still has time to fix it.

Staff
Posted by sissylion

Activision is doing something terrible? Say it ain't so!

Posted by BongChilla

Oh activision

Posted by ManMadeGod

Removing things from games in a re-release: a new low for pre-order content.

Posted by somethingdumb

What assholes.

Posted by davecuk

This is why we need Valve to make a console. They would tell the publishers with these crazy content exclusivity deals to go fuck themselves.

Posted by Hamboning

Time to play Devil's Advocate, I guess.

I can understand the use of pre-order-exclusive content as a means to drive up new game sales (while also discouraging used sales, which are increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger problem for devs and publishers), and definitely try to support studios I like by buying their game new. In most cases, I would have pre-ordered the game regardless of what was packed into it. I am, however, not thrilled with the marketing of the pre-order bonus above the game. I really do not CARE if I get a different type of Batman, or bonus levels, or any of that. I buy a game new because I like what the developer does, and want to support them.

By that logic, I do not buy Activision games new.

Posted by hbkdx12

Can't be mad at activision
 
Get mad at the people who buy it and/or buy it from gamestop that reinforces to Activision that it's ok for them to keep pulling such crap

Posted by Brodehouse

I doubt the game has enough content with the paintball mode included to be worth 60 bucks.  I don't know who the people are who would have played it before, but won't now because of a missing paintball mode.   Or even better, I'd like to know who the people are who look at it now and go "oh I don't know, maybe not" and then Activision says "paintball mode is in" and they're like "well holy shit here's my 60 bucks!"
 
I certainly know Klepek was never going to play it.

Posted by The_LMFAO_Guy
@ManMadeGod said:

Removing things from games in a re-release: a new low for pre-order content.

Sega beat Activision to it with Sonic Adventure on PSN and XBLA. Capcom did something similar with Street Fighter III Online Edition.
Posted by Brodehouse
@davecuk: There are plenty of Steam exclusive deals.  Super Meat Boy on Steam has an exclusive headcrab character. 
Posted by umbaglo

If you're playing online and the host has paintball turned on, you'll see it, too...which means it's on the disc.

Uh, of course it would be. How else do you expect it it work in multiplayer?

I honestly hate the "It's on the disk!" complaint for this exact reason. If it's going to affect other players, then it not being on the disk (or there not being forced patches to add it to everyone's copy) just plain doesn't work!

Posted by Jeffk38uk

I thought unlocking modes early was fine when this was first announced, but now backtracking and making it a retail exclusive is a pretty crappy move. Regardless if it was the original intent or if they just decided to change it there and then.

Posted by ThePickle

While I think this sucks, I don't like Pat using his news position as a soapbox.

Posted by Subjugation

Poor form Activision. Oh well, it's not like they care since untold multitudes will still buy it and reinforce this bad behavior.

Edited by AjayRaz

YOU CAN'T TAKE MY PAINTBALL MODE AWAY FROM ME. the RCP-90 was the weapon to use when you wanted to repaint a door.  
 
if there weren't-- you know, crazier games coming out, i would be annoyed by this decision (apart from the fact that it's pretty disappointing that this has become how you distribute cool features) but that game comes out on the same day as UNCHARTED 3. 

Posted by Mystyr_E

@davecuk: then you'd never see games for it, har har

Posted by Sgtpierceface
@HandsomeDevil Patrick, if you're reading this, don't listen to him. We all love these articles. Without stories like these, how would we ever get a sense of personality from anybody on this site? Keep writing!
Posted by RuneseekerMireille

Wow, I didn't expect a rant like this from Patrick. I thought it was an Alex piece before I read the author.

Not that Patrick's wrong, of course. I, too, believe that online passes for consoles have gone way too far. I think it was when games started coming out with a ton of pre-order DLC, and then the companies say that they won't be selling it at all afterwards is where I drew the line.

Posted by ThePickle

@Sgtpierceface said:

@HandsomeDevil Patrick, if you're reading this, don't listen to him. We all love these articles. Without stories like these, how would we ever get a sense of personality from anybody on this site? Keep writing!

Hey, I love Klepek. One of the best things to happen in the site in ages. How does this convey personality though? It's an overlong rant.

Posted by Gabriel

This feels like an PDF text from a Sesslar's Soapbox.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

@hbkdx12 said:

Can't be mad at activision Get mad at the people who buy it and/or buy it from gamestop that reinforces to Activision that it's ok for them to keep pulling such crap

Agreed. If I were Activision's business guys and shit like this sold crazy numbers, I'd be pushing it too. We need to stop the problem at a consumer level in order to reinforce the idea that this is pretty damn douchey.

Moderator
Posted by Chop

Fuck preordering. FUCK FUCK FUCK IT

Posted by ILikePopCans

Yeahhhhhhhh...

Fuck corporations

Posted by davecuk

@Brodehouse: My point was that if all of the content from a given game wasn't available to all users of their system then the title would be removed (see Dragon Age 2, Battlefield 3 etc) which yes would piss off some of the users it would also lose the publishers/developers potentially millions of $ forcing them to change their policys.

@Mystyr_E: I don't think there would be a shortage of titles if there ever was a "Steam console" it's the place to be for anyone releasing a title on the pc and it wouldn't be any different on a console. You can also look at what Steam has done for indie games, they are more popular now than they have ever been.

Posted by Oddsor

Makes you miss 1996.

Posted by DarthB

BOOOOOO!

Posted by dragonzord

@hbkdx12 said:

Can't be mad at activision Get mad at the people who buy it and/or buy it from gamestop that reinforces to Activision that it's ok for them to keep pulling such crap

So it's okay to do it at other stores? I'm pretty sure most game retailers just want A preorder bonus .I highly doubt Gamestop gives a shit if it's a mode or not. Especially if it's for a game that won't even sell that well.

Posted by Sgtpierceface
@HandsomeDevil 1. Thanks for not being a dick
2. How else would we learn about Patrick's history with Goldeneye?
3. I can't think of another format that he could express his feelings in. Sure, he could do a "Sessler's Soapbox" thing, but would a different name at the top of the article really make a difference?
Posted by tourgen

Great article, thank you.

I miss unlocking cool stuff through being good at & playing the game.

Posted by Chuck_

I just went from considering buying this on sale, to not buying at all and maybe not even renting it either. Totally disgusting.

Posted by GreggD

Hoooooooooooooooooo, boy. People are gonna be PISSED.

Edited by Rmack

@HandsomeDevil: I agree, I feel like I'm reading Patrick's blog instead of news in most of the things he writes up.

Posted by Hailinel

If the paperwork with Gamestop has already been signed, then I'd say that the time to fix it has run out.

Posted by Toms115

@Rmack said:

@HandsomeDevil: I agree, I feel like I'm reading Patrick's blog instead of news in most of the things he writes up.

deal w/it

Posted by bhhawks78

This is why I will only buygames like batman used even if used is the same price as new or a 5$ steam sale. I refuse to directly give shady shit my money.

Edited by DriveupLife

People get so upset over such small things. I'll preorder it from gamestop, get the paintball mode and not give another thought about it. This is not a problem at all for me.

Posted by bartok

This shit has gone to far. 

Posted by Toms115

general douchebaggery is gonna continue as long as consumers fund it. most dont even care, tho.

Posted by krabboss

I wonder how that dude on reddit came up with such a funny and original joke about unlockable content.

Posted by blueduck

Gamestop needs all the help it can get! Also everyone should stop whining about this since it won't stop the mindless gaming zombies from plunking down their money. Some people saw this and went wow that's awful this is only going to get worse BUT most people saw this and went wow I need to give them my money faster!

Posted by ThePickle

@Sgtpierceface said:

@HandsomeDevil 1. Thanks for not being a dick 2. How else would we learn about Patrick's history with Goldeneye? 3. I can't think of another format that he could express his feelings in. Sure, he could do a "Sessler's Soapbox" thing, but would a different name at the top of the article really make a difference?

This could work as a blog. I'm just turned off by the fact that the headline leads us to believe this is a news article when this turns out to be rant. So yes, a different title and a different spot would make this better. But still, he's not saying anything earth shattering. The news about the Goldeneye stuff is news, but saying that companies are being stupid with preorder stuff isn't shocking anyone, and doing it in such a fanboyish fashion makes it seem even less credible.

Posted by Hameyadea

Screw this, I'm off to play Jazz Jackrabbit, at least in that game you DON'T have to pre-purchase from a specific retailer, pay for a DLC, Like the Facebook page and remain online at all times just for 2 weapons and a frigging costume!

Posted by smcn

Show me a game that locks out main story-line content, then I'll think about being outraged.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Really? You're getting incensed about the preorder exclusivity of a thing that makes the bullet holes rainbow colored just because of a nostalgic reminiscence for a bygone era. This is a thing. It's been going on for years now. And it's not going to stop.

Edited by Brendan

I agree with the sentiments of the content being screwed with isn't a big deal, but the way Activision is going about it is so dumb. Even getting past the dirtiness of it, it's still just unintelligent. I agree with Patrick that this specific content is completely wrong for what they're trying to do as far as pre-order bonus content is concerned.

Posted by TheKramer89

I mean, yeah, that's dumb, but paintball mode isn't a big deal.

Posted by Iazu

Completely agree about everything Patrick said. Along with Alex's Batman DLC articles I'm super glad that someone is reporting on this stuff.

Posted by cavemantom

While the absence of the mode itself doesn't seem like the end of the world, it does seem like an incredibly stupid idea.

Retailer specific multiplayer modes? Really? Are they trying to ensure that Paintball mode dies as quickly as possible? This seems like the sort of feature that, rather than inspiring people to buy the game at GameStop, will shove this mode out of existence as fewer and fewer GameStop pre-order-customers and code redeemers are seen online.

Until they start selling the unlock codes as "DLC," at least.

Posted by TWiSTEDmerc

And tada - the fundamental reason why I don't buy very man Activision games: Publishers, look around yourselves, are you doing these things? Restricting content or forcing consumers to conform to erroneous procedures? When you do that, you make me think you care more about your money and less about your actual game. A business does not come before the customer or there won't be any customers; you're making people look at you and think, 'Man those guys are just greedy bastards'. Is that what a company would ever want? A bad public image that would probably never make up for lost sales? This came cost only $50 dollars on the Wii and here it gets upgraded to $60 (note that in most cases, a reissue of an old game would drop the price down between $10 and $20). Like that's not enough to work with? I'm giving you $10 extra and your idea of 'customer service' is to still restrict content? Stop doing it; it really is a stupid. And get your head out of your ass!

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