No one gets surprised when a publisher announces retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses for their AAA game. However, very rarely do publishers go on record to admit that retailers are strong-arming them into the practice. But that's exactly what Metro: Last Light publisher Deep Silver did while explaining its partitioned ranger DLC.
Available for free with pre-ordered copies of the game, Koch Media global brand manager Huw Beynon explained that "offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail."
"Game makers and publishers now live in a world where offering game content as a pre-order exclusive is a requirement by retail, and Ranger Mode seemed like the best choice since it was a mode for hardcore fans who would most likely pre-order the game, or purchase it at launch in any case," he told PC Gamer. The alternatives were to make story content exclusive for pre-orders or to make ranger mode a timed exclusive--both options were rejected.
Gamers that don't pre-order the game will have to shell out $5 for the extra mode, a policy that Deep Silver says isn't of their own doing. According to Beynon, "the lowest 1st Parties would permit us to charge for content of this nature" was $5.
Metro: Last Light will be out next week, alongside our own review.