This wacky idea I had

So … I’m thinking, the creators of this PC game decide to make it episodic. The game itself only comes with the first few “levels”, and over the next few years, they release a new level every month or so, on a mini-CD for a small price as well as downloadable for free (or possibly a smaller price), so the story’s ongoing like a comic book or TV show. And every year, they release a CD with the past year’s “levels” like a bundle pack or something (or a volume of a DVD/graphic novel set). What do people think of this idea?

Sounds like one of those online games like FF11 or Everquest, where you have to pay everymonth as the world expands. If it was an optional price, however, that would be cool. What type of video game?

I miss You Don’t Know Jack. Sure they made a sequel recently, but it’s only 7 questions per game. It’s hardly what it was before.

You should take the sprite out from in front of every thread you post, Yar. It makes it so I can’t hover-preview the thread, and then when I click on it it ends up sucking, like this one.

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That’s hardly episodic in nature, those are just 3 closely related full games. Or however many it were.

Four, or seven if you count the //LIMINALITY OVAs. Depends on what you call a full game. To me a full game is auto-conclusive, plot-wise each .hack is just 1/4 of a game.

Its been talked about, and half-implemented. EA invested some into it a while back, with ‘Wing Commander: Secret Ops’, which was not called Wing Commander 6 because it was basically an FMV-less expansion to Prophecy. It had 4-or-so missions released each month, for a few months, and was free for some reason. Of course, this was back when everyone had 56k modems, so it kinda bombed, and each episode weighed in at 20-ish megs, and the original episode weighing in at 120 megs! (if you look nowadays, you can find it, but its since turned illegal since they stopped distributing it themselves)

Now, your idea of a compilation is a neat idea, which could help levy the loss of profit from the 56kers.

In other cases, Stardock has kept supporting their Galactic Civilizations game, adding new stuff in every month, even entire factions, however empire-builders are hardly episodic.

Now, enough history which I’m sure I’ve forgotten some other examples, lets look at the present.

If theoretically a game was completely downloaded, the slower peeps are royally fucked over, which cuts into profits. Making the original package only slightly solves the problem, if we are talking about an instance like WC: Secret ops noted above; original 120 megs bought, but now 56kers get to complain about those larger 20 meggers, though its not enough to get them throwing their modems out the window.

Another problem arises, still; people can probably pirate this stuff more easily than before. What is the biggest defense against piracy? CD keys, primarily. The lack of physical distribution foregoes this, sans the original package idea.

Basically, the only real way to guarantee profits despite these problems is simple; advertisements! I can see it now, “Dragon hits you for 2374 Damage, drink Pepsi”. Ads get seen even by the pirates! Whoohoo! Since ads are still new to the industry, and there is not much solid evidence as to its effects, I’ll just drop this piece of the argument now.

One last thing; Valve is talking about an online-distributed expansion to Half-Life 2. I read somewhere they may make it episodic, or something. May be wrong on that last bit, but it goes to show that this is already kinda happening.

Oh yeah, there is the DLC system over Xbox live. 3 new splinter cell maps, a bunch of new content for Ninja Gaiden, and an upcoming pack of NINE maps for Halo2 are all prime examples of this, but this isn’t episodic either, just expansions.

Did you know that platformers Duke Nukem (1+2 including 3D) and Comander Keen are episodic. Even Doom 1 is. You could get for “free” episode 1. And then Buy Parts 2 onwards.

Big Nutter
Episodic game play is not new.

I’m pretty sure that was Shareware, actually. You could get episode 1 free, but had to buy all the others at the same time, not separately.

Also, Doom and Quake also did it to my recalling. ANd Hexen and Heretic, the list of that time period goes on. But that was just demoing on steroids, not quite what we’re talking here.

Hmm … so “low-price episodes 1-3, lower-price episodes 4-56” seems to be a Good Thing here. And to go by the example on, I was thinking specifically of a story-based game already.

Cute idea, but only the FF series lived long enough, and there are no episodes…

Must I remind you the Shenmue fiasco? Do that, only with a price cut.

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