Metro: Last Light's pre-order incentive, the Ranger Mode DLC, may be free for those who drop cash early for the game, but retailers have forced Deep Silver to charge $5 for the DLC for non-pre-orders.
Speaking with PC Gamer, Koch Media's global brand manager Huw Beynon said the Ranger pre-order DLC - which removes the HUD and makes enemies more volatile - was included as an incentive because exclusive content such as this is becoming "a requirement by retail" anymore.
"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,” said Beynon. “We rejected requests to make story content or additional missions exclusive. We also rejected requests to make this a timed exclusive.
“We do not recommend Ranger Mode for a first playthrough, and this is made very clear both in-game. We expect Metro fans will want to try Ranger Mode for a subsequent playthrough, and we think that for this hardcore player, Ranger Mode offers a richer experience – but only once you’ve clocked the game at least once.
“We took all the steps we could to ensure that, while still offering retailers a pre-order incentive that met their needs, we did not force players to pre-order, or make them wait to get this content."
Those who don't pre-order the game can purchase Ranger Mode at launch for the aforementioned $5/£3.99, which Beynon said is “the lowest 1st Parties would permit us to charge for content of this nature."
Metro: Last Light launches in North America on May 14 and across Europe on May 17 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.