Well, we at Neko’s Shiritori have encountered some unfortunate realities as of late, namely people who pre-ordered Atelier Escha and not getting the pre-order bonus as advertised.
Let’s break down the reality in Europe first, since the game did release on March 7, 2014.
1) A buyer pre-ordered Atelier Escha from GAME UK expecting an Enchanted Witch DLC code to come with it. No such code was provided, as GAME UK does not seem to have it.
a) When we checked with Tecmo Koei Europe, we were notified that the direct link to GAME UK was never put up in the Ateliergames.eu website since GAME UK never got back to them in putting up pre-order details. Since the game is now released, pre-order details are useless.
b) GAME UK is in the right for not providing a code. Their website never did actually set up any advertisement of providing pre-order exclusive bonus, and at best only had a screenshot of the Enchanted Witch costume.
The most likely event is for the buyer who pre-ordered at GAME UK to address the lack of the bonus and request from Tecmo Koei Europe directly, with proof of pre-ordering. Considering Tecmo Koei Europe has been able to provide codes to people directly, there would not be any major issues and everyone would be happy.
Much similar things can be said in regards to Amazon.de. Just like GAME UK, no pre-order bonus was ever put up by release date, so there was no active sign of the Apple Pirate costume. We do not know the reality for players who have pre-ordered from Smartoys and the Fox Logy costume.
Not all is bad as several players in Europe who bought from other retailers in Europe attained some combinations of the costume DLC. Atelier Escha is also available on the European PSN, so there is no game availability issue even if not many physical copies are made.
Since pre-order periods are over, we do see that Tecmo Koei Europe’s Ateliergames.eu site has taken down all the pre-order links to other vendors since the game is in stores now. There is nothing wrong with this action, but at the same time, the evidence of otherwise misleading banners are gone. Given that March 11 has not arrived, there are still pre-order links on the North American side of things. It also has its own share of issues.
2) We have been getting consistent reports that in the United States, Amazon has no information regarding the Enchanted Witch costume. They do not possess codes nor is there any marketing information regarding exclusive pre-order bonuses.
This is rather troublesome as Amazon is quite a popular vendor for people to buy from. Not only that, but Amazon was the only remote source to obtain the Enchanted Witch costume on day 1. Other than Tecmo Koei directly providing you a code to the DLC in the US on day 1, come March 11 unless something drastic occurs, there will be no Enchanted Witch costume for anybody.
GameStop on the other hand seems to have everything in order. We checked in with the local store and clearly saw displayed evidence of their exclusive pre-order bonus of the Apple Pirate and Fox Logy costumes. The information is definitely in their systems by now, and all doubts with them are cleared up. If anything goes wrong, there are very valid arguments, unlike the case with online ordering in Europe since clear physical evidence exists within the GameStop stores. Also, information about pre-order exclusive DLC is very evident in their website, unlike Amazon which lacks all indication of any exclusives. We are hoping those who have ordered from GameStop will get their respective exclusive DLC codes and enjoy the game to the fullest.
Personally for our own expenditures, we elected to cancel our own pre-orders. Normally we would have pre-ordered from Amazon since the Enchanted Witch is indeed a nice costume, but we certainly had our doubts thinking that the lack of a pre-order exclusive description on Amazon would lead to the events we see. We’ve checked often and saw absolutely no sign of the Enchanted Witch DLC. Every individual inquiry to Amazon in regards to the DLC has been the same: they don’t have it and please check back in a few weeks. Well this game comes out this Tuesday in the US; there are no weeks left!
We pre-ordered from GameStop, but had a retail store experience which is much different than ordering online. If anything went drastically wrong, we always had the option to cancel our order, getting a full refund. This is a key advantage with ordering at a retail store rather than online. Cancelling online is even easier, but mainly if it is prior to the release date. Since this is an exclusive pre-order DLC issue, one cannot really find out of an item is missing or not until receiving and opening the game, in which arguing for the lack of an item has a much weaker case at that point.
No matter how you look at it, there is no denying that Tecmo Koei’s Atelier specific websites very clearly had exclusive bonus DLC links and banners. Other blog sites mentioning pre-order bonuses are moot as far as a legitimate claim goes. Thus, the misleading interpretation by consumers who pre-ordered this game is understandable.
We will not point any fingers at any faults that arise. When you consider the fact that online vendors provide what their descriptions say would provide, they generally do that correctly with minimal issues. In the case for Amazon, since there was indeed never a segment where they specifically mentioned an exclusive pre-order bonus of the Enchanted Witch costume, they have a completely legitimate claim of not providing one. If they truly do not have the codes in the first place, they will be unable to provide the codes even if they were somehow obligated to do so.
I find this unfortunate for consumers of this game, since they simply lose out. If there is no vocal complaint in this regard, nothing will happen and people will simply play Atelier Escha without the DLC costume since the game is rather enjoyable and outweighs minor issues like these.
We recommend people who have done pre-orders with online retailers that were supposed to provide an exclusive DLC bonus simply contact the Tecmo Koei at the respective region with evidence backing up the pre-order evidence along with proof that Tecmo Koei stated there would be a bonus provided. Without the evidence there’s no evidence or grounds to justify the claim.