Update: I visited a local Gamestop to learn more about the offer. Since I had my heart set on the 3DS version, I asked to pre-order the game. I was told the game was set for a February 12th, 2013 release date and that I could put down anywhere from $5 to the total cost of the game to pre-order. I put down $5 and then asked for the Danicar. The cashier was surprised I knew they existed, and asked the manager if I could have one. It was then that I learned stores were told that only those buying the game would get a car, but it wasn’t made clear if pre-ordering also meant the customer gets a car. Since, in the managers words “they had a lot” of the Danicar, I could have one. In short, buying the game now for the 360, PS3 or Wii U will get you a car (if they have them in stock). Pre-ordering for Vita may or may not get you the car, but given the game releases next week, you’ll just have to ask nicely and perhaps putting down the full amount for the pre-order will sweeten the deal. Same goes for the 3DS version. End update.
Back in October, SEGA unveiled Danica Patrick’s in-game model and made the announcement of an exclusive Hot Wheels SEGA-branded Danicar. Where could fans get the toy? Who knew! All we were told was that “the ‘Danicar’ will also be available as an exclusive diecast vehicle available this holiday season with purchase of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed at select retailers.” Awesome! A month passed, the game released and… no Danicar. No sign of it at any store. Some fans, such as myself, waited until release week hoping to learn which “select retailers” would have the freebie before making a firm pre-order. No news turned up, so the Danicar was forgotten, fans bought the game and a month passed. Then, fans over at The Sonic Stadium forums discovered the toy car on ebay, with a “Gamestop Exclusive” label and as such, turned to Gamestop to see what the deal was. Some stores were genuinely confused, directing fans to stores like Toys R Us where they can find Hot Wheels cars. Other stores had the cars, but weren’t quite sure what to do with them. As of Sunday, it seems, stores are now giving the cars away with copies of the game.
Sorry to infuse a bit of my opinion into the above story, but I am genuinely frustrated with how SEGA has handled both the 3DS delay and the release of this cool little giveaway. Rather than learning news from SEGA themselves, fans learn of delays from PDFs tucked away in Nintendo Europe articles and of store exclusives from ebay listings.