Future Press Guides
To those who donâ€™t know, my love of gaming was reinvigorated when Resident Evil 2 came out for the original PlayStation, back in 1998. I was onboard the hype train for RE2 after reading about the game constantly in the occasional previews that Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM, the much-missed older version) published.
Once RE2 came out, I was all over it. Actually, now that I think about it, my very first PlayStation purchase was in anticipation of the game. So, whilst perusing Electronics Boutique with my new PlayStation, and unopened copy of RE2 in hand, I came across this lovely walkthrough guide for the game. The guide was made by Versus Books, and was called the â€œCompletely Unauthorized Resident Evil 2 Perfect Guideâ€, written by Casey Loe. I took a chance, and from that point on, the bar was raised for any judgment I had about a video game guide.
The Perfect guide was aesthetically pleasing, had complete walkthroughs for Leon and Claire, and ridiculous weapon, enemy, and map breakdowns. The guide was just so meticuously detailed, and I couldnâ€™t stand reading any other publishersâ€™ guides after that. It was Versus guides all the way. That same detail and quality in the RE2 guide was present for Versus Bookâ€™s Shenmue, Final Fantasy VII, and Resident Evil 3 guides as well. I fell into a gaming funk a few years after that, with more of my priorities set on married life, and being a father, and so I lost interest in guides.
I would still buy guides here and there on occasion, published by BradyGames, Prima, and Piggyback. Piggyback guides came fairly close in quality and detail to the old Versus guides, but not quite.
It all changed when I started looking for a guide for Dark Souls. Word came to me that a company called Future Press was creating it. Apparently Future Press has this elite status when it comes to guides. â€œWeâ€™ll seeâ€, I thought to myself.
Future Press was founded way back in 1998 (and thatâ€™s the best part: I still to this day do not know why I never tried their guides earlier. I guess Versus Books monopolized my attention at the time). They are based out of Hamburg, Germany, and consist of a staff of designers and authors, who work in synergy to create the guides that we love. The unique part about FPâ€™s production process is that they usually work on one guide at a time, choosing to have their whole staff involved with the project. This might explain why their guides are so extensive and thorough. They also create digital guides as well, and offer a lot of digital material for the print guides that they publish (usually accessible with codes included with the guide).
When the Dark Souls guide came in, I could not stop fawning over it. Iâ€™m already quite the coffee-table book lover, and the guide was definitely worthy of a spot on there. The black book cover has a strikingly simple graphic, the stock of the hardcover itself is of good quality, and the paper inside must be pretty close to coated stock. It looks beautiful.
The detail in the guide itself is astonishing. It delves in every little minutia of the game; the game system, walkthrough, area guide, enemies, NPCs, weapons, equipment, hit points, tactics, extras, you name it. If you have any question about the game, it will be answered in the guide. The artwork is also exceptionally well done, and tastefully inserted in all the right locations. You can tell that a lot of care and attention to detail went into creating this book.
The same thoughtfulness went into Future Pressâ€™s other guides. I bought the Kingdomâ€™s of Amalur: Reckoning Future Press guide, which is a monster of a book. It seems that every possible component of the game was dissected, studied, and dutifully added to the guide. On top of that, the guide itself is beautiful to look at and a joy to pore over.
The guides for Deus Ex, Portal 2, and others are no different. You really have to check out the more recent guides yourself when you get a chance to stop by your local neighborhood game store. Or better yet, order the guides (for usually much less then MSRP) from Amazon.com. Youâ€™ll get to experience the thoughtfulness that is instilled in the guides, and they will definitely amaze.
The collectorâ€™s market of Future Press guides is quite impressive as well. I pre-ordered my Dark Souls guide new from Amazon for $14.99 a few months prior to its release. Now try looking for a new copy; itâ€™ll cost you around $40-$60 new. Future Press guides usually have limited print quantities (with hardly any second print runs), especially for the collectorâ€™s edition versions of the guides, which are generally hardcover and have striking graphics. And if you really want to see how much the aftermarket value jumps up on Future Press guides, try looking for any of the older ones (prices taken from Amazon.com on March 23rd, 2013):
Deus Ex Collectorâ€™s Edition: $138
Resident Evil 4: $66
Mad World: $121
The winning trifecta of quality, limited print, and secondary market value, turns any new collectorâ€™s edition (or sometimes the standard edition as well) of a Future Press guide into a hot item.
Give Future Press guides a chance, and consider them the next time Future Press is tied to an upcoming game. They have not announced a new project yet, but the word is out that they will soon.
Definitely give them a look-see.