Although episodic game development makes all the sense in the world theoretically, things seem to get problematic in practice. The SiN: Episodes series turned out to be poorly named, given that Ritual Entertainment managed to release only a single episode before suspending the project and being acquired by casual-game publisher MumboJumbo. Meanwhile, Valve's episodic treatment of Half-Life has been well-received, but annualized franchises were able to launch multiple full-fledged sequels in the 16-month gap between the first two Half-Life episodes.
Those missteps aside, one episodic series has delivered on the theoretical promise. Next week, Telltale Games is set to release the 11th episode in its Sam & Max series, the adventure-game successor to the 1993 cult PC classic Sam & Max Hit the Road. The episode concludes the reborn franchise's second "season," which, along with the first, was released in a little less than 18 months. The relaunched series has rekindled interest in the anthropomorphic dog and rabbit-like detective duo, as evidenced by a republishing of the pair's original comic adventures in compendium form, as well as a DVD release for the short-lived 1997 Fox TV cartoon.
Telltale Games is hoping to stoke the Sam and Max resurgence even further. Today, the developer confirmed for GameSpot long-standing rumors that it would be bringing its episodic series to consoles, and specifically to the Nintendo Wii. The canine-lagomorph combo's debut on Nintendo's console will come in the form of a port of the PC first-season compilation, from pilot episode "Culture Shock" through to "Bright Side of the Moon."
Telltale representatives said the game's release on the Wii is due in large part to fan demand, in particular an e-mail campaign launched prior to the debut of the Sam & Max episodic series on the PC. Rumors and speculation of a Wii port helped spark publisher interest in bringing the series to Nintendo's platform.
Sam & Max: Season One is set to be published in the US by Dreamcatcher and The Adventure Company, whereas publishing duties on the European version (which adds in French and German voice-overs, as well as Italian and Spanish subtitles) will be handled by JoWood. Gamers in both regions should expect the game to arrive on store shelves this fall.