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 Post subject: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:39 am 
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The situation with TSL got me thinking about this. From a player's standout, which is better? What do you all prefer? I don't like episodic releases AT ALL! Not unless the episodes are fairly long and each have some sort of story resolution or reward at the end of them. Is the point of adventure game episode releases more to benefit the developer/publisher, since they can charge for each episode? Is that a good way to make more money with adventure games requiring such long development schedules? Seeing that something comes in episodes makes me less likely to want to download it. It just seems like a hassle to have to keep track of when the next one comes out, then go download it, etc... I like playing a game regularly and straight through over the course of a week or so. Because I wouldn't want to have to wait months to pick up where I left, I think I'd rather just wait to download any episodes until they were all released so that I could just jump from one to the next. But I guess it could be a good way to try out a game to see if I like it.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:29 pm 
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They do it because it's hard to fund a huge game all at once and you can get revenue coming in for production of sequels. in TSLs case it's simply a big game being split up. I prefer episodic release simply because there's no argument against it. If you'd rather play a full game you're going to get it at the same time. The exception is Half life where they release episodes 1 and 2 a year apart and then never have any interest in doing episode 3

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:35 pm 
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Quest For Glory Fan wrote:
The exception is Half life where they release episodes 1 and 2 a year apart and then never have any interest in doing episode 3


It seems like I read somewhere that as soon as Epsiode 1 was done, the Episode 1 team was to start working on Episode 3, almost concurrently with the Episode 2 team.

Now, when Episode 3 will be released is anyone's guess -- Gabe Newell is probably the only one with any idea. It's very likely people got pulled off of various development teams to work on the Left 4 Dead series...


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:55 pm 
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pbpb33 wrote:
The situation with TSL got me thinking about this. From a player's standout, which is better? What do you all prefer? I don't like episodic releases AT ALL! Not unless the episodes are fairly long and each have some sort of story resolution or reward at the end of them. Is the point of adventure game episode releases more to benefit the developer/publisher, since they can charge for each episode? Is that a good way to make more money with adventure games requiring such long development schedules? Seeing that something comes in episodes makes me less likely to want to download it. It just seems like a hassle to have to keep track of when the next one comes out, then go download it, etc... I like playing a game regularly and straight through over the course of a week or so. Because I wouldn't want to have to wait months to pick up where I left, I think I'd rather just wait to download any episodes until they were all released so that I could just jump from one to the next. But I guess it could be a good way to try out a game to see if I like it.


I tend to generally agree. I prefer a game with a fully developed story line, which stands proudly on its own. Possessive as I am, I don't want bits of the whole, I want the whole itself, undivided. (even though episodic releases can have good and well developed story lines, I prefer to have it all in one).

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:13 pm 
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If there's a game I had been really looking forward to (and that's free, like TSL), I won't be able to wait until all the parts are released. I wouldn't be able to resist the urge to play it since I wouldn't want to be left out of the fun... for the big, highly anticipated games, I like to get them as soon as they're fresh and when they're getting lots of buzz. That way the whole experience is more exciting to me. Still, I would also be much less likely to pay for a game if it were just one episode... even if the price were less than what a full game would be. I have never done it. If I'm going to pay anything, I want to get a full game. If they came in episodes, I would, out of irritation, probably just look for the games on the torrent sites for free.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:42 am 
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I'm not too fond of episodic game releases. TellTale have proved that the model can work, and I can see the advantages for companies (in that episodic format makes it easier to get some advance income by selling early portions of the game while working on subsequent episodes). It can also help with their marketing to get a spike in PR every time a new episode is released.

But on the flip side, there are many negatives - most of which adversely affect the customer/end player as a side-effect of making things easier for the developer. For some people, these things aren't issues (or are considered minor), but all the same, I suspect that they deter a sizable chunk of potential customers:

Episodic installments are messy
5 icons installed on your desktop (and, indeed, 5 different installations) for 5 separate episodes in ONE season is a messy, disorganized way of doing things. Sure, you can obtain the entire season as a "whole" after all 5 episodes are released, but then there's uninstalling, reinstalling, and just a lot of extra steps that traditional games don't require.

Episodic games have to work harder to maintain long-term interest
Since they're shorter in length, and because there are waiting periods in-between the releases of episodes and seasons, it's easier for players to forget what happened (this problem exists with TV episodes too), particularly with so many other games out there competing for attention and playtime. An episodic game is essentially demanding that you, as the player, make a mental investment in it, by requiring you to remember what happened at the end of each episode. (Of course, you're required to memorize this in-between traditional game sequels too, but those are released far less frequently than episodes.) This is risky because if the player/customer drops their attention, or starts playing other games in the interim, they might lose interest in the season altogether and never go back to it. This happened to me with Tales of Monkey Island. Even though I purchased all 5 episodes, I only ended up playing 3 before other priorities took over. Had the season been released as a "complete" product, I know that I would have sat and finished it over the course of a few days without the potential for distraction.

Games are Games; TV is TV
A model that has worked well for TV in the past, doesn't necessarily translate across to games. In fact, traditional episodic TV shows now seem to lose large portions of their audience in-between seasons and often end up jumping the shark and being canceled after 2-4 seasons. For very popular shows, TV audience members have been conditioned into accepting that they must wait a week for the next episode. And for some TV shows where the scenes end in a deep and thought-provoking manner, the week's worth of down-time can even be necessary to process what you've just seen. But gamers are not used to receiving their games in portions like this and it can leave them feeling cheated. As has often happened, a TV network will sometimes scrap a program in-between seasons, leaving things unresolved and resulting in fan disappointment. If an episodic game company goes under, the same situation would occur. At least if a traditional game company goes under, their last game in the series will still be a complete product that has a beginning, middle, and an end.

Also, Tivo notwithstanding, TV episodes don't require an investment of hard drive space like episodic games do. Plus, TV shows don't expend bandwidth and don't need to be downloaded in order to watch them on live TV.

Which Episodes was I up to again? Wait... what season is this?
In these hectic times, asking some non-tech savvy players to keep track of "where they left their in-game bookmark" between episodes and seasons might be enough to turn them off permanently. Especially if they are not die-hard fans of the game, but just casual players who don't keep up with every detail about every episode's release.

You'll only play when WE'RE ready, not when you are!
Obviously, unless players opt to wait until all episodes in a season have been released, their ability to play through the season at their leisure is robbed from them, and it's almost akin to playing "on rails". I think the majority of people like to be in control of their own schedules and an episodic release assumes that you'll be able to set aside a portion of every month to play the next installment. Most people probably can set aside that time, but I'll wager quite a few cannot make the commitment, or find it difficult to do so. Those customers who cannot allocate the required time are potentially lost forever.

As a consumer, I prefer to have my games in one neat package that can be played from beginning to end at my own leisure, and that can be installed and uninstalled in one hit. That's why I also prefer to design and release games in this mold too. While it's true that with stand-alone games, there's a much longer wait between releases, and you have to conserve money, I think the end product feels more solid and marketable when it's released in one solid piece.

Don't get me wrong, TellTale is pulling off the episodic format about as flawlesly as any company could - their process is smooth an easy to follow. But at the end of the day, I believe the above points still apply to TellTale Games, and their operation would seem more refined if they had fewer releases being churned out, and could market each game as a solid product instead of pitching a multitude of episodes from multiple franchises. This probably ensures that many people will only buy the episodic franchises they're really interested in, but might not even give others a try.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:20 pm 
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Personally, I think some episodic games have a lot of merit.
I've bought Sam and Max season one, Tales of Monkey Island and Strong Bad's cool game for attractive people and I have to say, if any one of these had been combined into one game, it would have been long and repetitive. It's probably just the way Telltale rolls, with location reuses and limited characters, but I probably would have gotten bored with it and never finished. Don't get me wrong, I can invest countless hours into a game, but certain kinds (especially point and clicks) can lose a lot of their appeal after a few hours if there's no switch up in game play or major change in scenery or characters. I love em, but I wouldn't love them all squeezed into one.
On the other hand, I don't think it works for RPGs, or at least hasn't yet (in my opinion). Has anyone else played the "Penny Aracade" games? I was so into the first one! It was fun and funny and pretty well put together, then I played the second one (I think a year later?) and even though it had the same feel and humour, I don't know, I think it was just too long between them. The story was easy enough to remember, but the controls took some more getting used too, and I think maybe it just felt like the flow had been broken, like I had quit halfway through the game and had to start again. I didn't though, and I have yet to finish it.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:40 am 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
Don't get me wrong, TellTale is pulling off the episodic format about as flawlesly as any company could - their process is smooth an easy to follow. But at the end of the day, I believe the above points still apply to TellTale Games, and their operation would seem more refined if they had fewer releases being churned out, and could market each game as a solid product instead of pitching a multitude of episodes from multiple franchises. This probably ensures that many people will only buy the episodic franchises they're really interested in, but might not even give others a try.


Well, in your post you pretty much perfectly summed up a lot of what I was thinking about episodic games. As a customer, I'm a lot less excited and less likely to buy when I see "episode" rather than full game, regardless of price. I've only bought one Telltale game episode. I had thought of the Telltale episodes like the sometimes unnecessary Disney straight-to-DVD sequels to the classics, especially if the sequels had been like 30-minute tv shows. This isn't a knock on the quality of the episode I bought, which I was very impressed with (though I thought the 3D graphics lacked the charm of the art in the original games)... I'm just not super enthused to buy these slightly cheaper-feeling mini games the same way I would be if a new, polished full adventure were released with all the bells and whistles... and would probably only buy another episode in the future if I was a huge fan of the franchise or the game's subject matter.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:59 pm 
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With every Telltale game I own, I've just bought the whole season after the game was already out and completed. Tales of Monkey Island was really really good, but with all the cliffhangers, I probably would have gone nuts having to wait between each episode. If you like the Monkey Island games, I would highly recommend picking up that season, especially since it's complete and you automatically get a DVD copy sent to your address now. My only gripe with the Telltale games is that, even if you buy the complete season and install from the DVD copy, it still installs as 5 separate games. I wish they would make it so that once the season is complete, you could play the game continuously all the way through without having to quit back out to your desktop and start up the next file.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:58 pm 
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Lambonius wrote:
With every Telltale game I own, I've just bought the whole season after the game was already out and completed. Tales of Monkey Island was really really good, but with all the cliffhangers, I probably would have gone nuts having to wait between each episode.


I know I did. But it made the whole experience seem much more epic at the same time.

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If you like the Monkey Island games, I would highly recommend picking up that season, especially since it's complete and you automatically get a DVD copy sent to your address now.


No, they're not automatically sent to your address. You've got to place and order but you're only charged for shipping if you own the whole season. That goes for any complete Telltale season.

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My only gripe with the Telltale games is that, even if you buy the complete season and install from the DVD copy, it still installs as 5 separate games. I wish they would make it so that once the season is complete, you could play the game continuously all the way through without having to quit back out to your desktop and start up the next file.


Yeah. Though, at least it installs them all at once and gives you a nice launcher instead of installing each game separately with lots of shortcuts.

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:44 pm 
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MusicallyInspired wrote:
No, they're not automatically sent to your address. You've got to place and order but you're only charged for shipping if you own the whole season. That goes for any complete Telltale season.


Oops, you're right--I forgot about that. I bought the season during the DVD promotion, so I didn't realize I was also being charged for shipping when I ordered it. But it's still a good deal. :)

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Yeah. Though, at least it installs them all at once and gives you a nice launcher instead of installing each game separately with lots of shortcuts.


Not on Mac--you get 5 separate icons in your dock. Annoying.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:52 pm 
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MAC USER MAC USER MAC USER!!!!! ^^^^^


No I kid though...

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:10 am 
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That's what you get for using a Mac, dude. Go complain to Steve Jobs, HIPPIE.


I don't like episodic release. But I accept it as a part of today's gaming culture. Games are so different today.... as well as the fact that I'm different today. I'm not 12 years old, begging my Mom to take me to Babbages to see what Sierra games they had.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:33 am 
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Heh--actually I use both; my laptop is a Windows machine. I love my big ol' 21.5" iMac though. Nothing beats it for doing digital artwork.

LOL...Babbages. Those were the days.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:54 am 
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Yeah, god, getting to go to Babbages was a TREAT. I would sometimes find Sierra games in the bargain bin. I got King's Quest III for 10 bucks, I remember. I bought a lot of my Sierra games from there.

Wish I hadn't lost all those games and boxes when I moved after college. I had a ton. Nothing like Eriq's collection, though!


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am 
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I detest episodic releases. It feels like I'm consciously buying an incomplete product. Also, that the word 'season' being used in some cases is annoying, because it's something totally different. Agd2 sums up the rest of my troubles with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:38 pm 
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I like a full release better, personally. I see the value of an episodic release but I want to play a game all at once. This is not True Blood or White Collar where I am begrudging but willing to wait a week because they only get an hour time slot and where there's episodic bits to the story arc. With a game, I'd rather play it all at once.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Quote:
Not on Mac--you get 5 separate icons in your dock. Annoying.

Mine actually go into the applications folder or the desktop depending on the preference I choose during installation. I'm ok with that. Arguing against a game because there are too many icons is a bit silly.

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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Quest For Glory Fan wrote:
Mine actually go into the applications folder or the desktop depending on the preference I choose during installation. I'm ok with that. Arguing against a game because there are too many icons is a bit silly.


Hey, if you read my post again, you'll see I'm not actually arguing against episodic gaming in the slightest--just pointing out an annoyance about the way Telltale has been handling its games on Macs. :) I mean come on--if you have these on a Mac, it's still 5 separate icons for each part, regardless of whether they go in your Applications folder, Dock, or whatever. It's not streamlined in the slightest. They don't even include a launcher like in the Windows version. There's no reason for this.


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:03 am 
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Yeah, and as a kind of related aside, I also don't like how the episode thing is kind of in line with the scaled down packaging we have seen with newer games. It doesn't feel as special as the big, all-at-once releases. I miss all those little goodies that used to come with games. Remember how great the packaging and extras used to be with games? ...all the beautifully printed books, unique boxes and themed objects that came with the software. Didn't the RPG Ultima 6 have some kind of stones in a pouch packaged with the game? All those regular big releases were like what you'd consider "special edition" or "platinum" package releases today. Nowadays we're more likely to get a link to a download and a .pdf of a game manual. Yay. :| Is this the result of cutting costs? The fact that the internet is now here to provide an easier means of delivery? That's probably a big part of it. Is it about going green and creating less waste, to use the cool, popular terminology? Well, I care about the planet, but I'd still like some cool embossed boxes again and collectibles packaged with the games. 8o


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade had the best pack-in ever for an Indyfan, in the form of the printed version of Henry's Grail Diary. Sure, it didn't look anything like the movie version, but the text and drawings were awesome and an Indy nerd's dream. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:51 am 
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The family wanted to do a movie marathon tonight. I suggested Indiana Jones. We got through the first three tonight. We plan on watching the fourth in the morning.

I love those movies!


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:38 pm 
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navynuke04 wrote:
The family wanted to do a movie marathon tonight. I suggested Indiana Jones. We got through the first three tonight. We plan on watching the fourth in the morning.

I love those movies!


Rock on!! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Episodic releases VS. Full releases?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:15 am 
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Lambonius wrote:
Quest For Glory Fan wrote:
Mine actually go into the applications folder or the desktop depending on the preference I choose during installation. I'm ok with that. Arguing against a game because there are too many icons is a bit silly.


Hey, if you read my post again, you'll see I'm not actually arguing against episodic gaming in the slightest--just pointing out an annoyance about the way Telltale has been handling its games on Macs. :) I mean come on--if you have these on a Mac, it's still 5 separate icons for each part, regardless of whether they go in your Applications folder, Dock, or whatever. It's not streamlined in the slightest. They don't even include a launcher like in the Windows version. There's no reason for this.


oh, I suppose I have written poorly (No not chosen). the lack of a launcher never really bothered me I guess but AGD2 had his first point being that episodic games are a disorganized mess, I should have used both quotes.

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