In the old days a game series had to have some history and longevity in order to spawn spin-off merchandise. It had to earn a devoted audience over the course of several years and a sequel or two. Then, eventually, fans had the chance to take home, say, a piece of Castlevania in the form of a Simon Belmont figurine or a Halo 3 Master Chief helmet. Now it seems as if it's not enough to produce merely a single video game. No, the real money is in owning franchises, and we've reached the point where publishers can force new franchises into existence in a single blow. Why wait for fandom to steadily build for a while when a new upcoming game like Dead Space can emerge into the market fully synergized with animated prequels and comic books and lithographs and a book of concept art all for the low price of $150? Maybe the new Mirror's Edge is more your style. $130 will get you the game and a messenger bag emblazoned with related artwork for some reason. Both games are from Electronic Arts. I'm really curious if gamers will bite on these the way that Electronic Arts seems to believe they will. Dead Space and Mirror's Edge both have some positive buzz around them, but it just seems too soon to be pushing tie-in merchandise as if these titles are beloved gaming icons worth all the extra attention and money. Not everything needs to be an instant franchise or come in an overpriced bundle.