One of Dark Cloud’s most elusive collectibles is it’s E3 press kit. The kit includes a copy of the game, an info pamphlet, and a book titled “My Journey.” We still haven’t discovered how it was actually distributed, since there’s so little information on it. Based on what was included in the package, and how Level 5 distributed press kits in the past, we can. It’s likely the kit was given out to visitors, and not just the media.
Dark Cloud was shown at E3 in May of 2000 with a demo that was about 30% complete. At past events in Japan, the staff would give these kits out to visitors. So this was likely the same case. Normally a press kit includes a short description and a disc with artwork for the media to use.
Instead, they gave out a retail copy of the game, and a notebook titled “My Journey” for them to use along with it. Each page of the notebook has a spot for the players to write a short prompt for what they did each day.
The pamphlet included a fact sheet that showed the many improvements they made to the original version. Then they included a description and screenshot on the 2nd page.
Giving out a retail copy isn’t something they would normally do, but they had a good reason to. The North American release had major differences from the Japanese version. The press kit could have been intended for both visitors and the media after all.
Their strategy was to get everyone talking about those differences, and to get more players interested quickly. They gave out a full copy so the game could be reviewed entirely. This plan worked out, as it sold significantly better outside of Japan.
There’s a few reasons why there’s so few of these kits, and why there’s no information on them. Like any event, there’s many attendees and limited copies, E3 especially. Since it was a new series, it wouldn’t have received as much attention as a more well known series like Gran Turismo as well.