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Is The Episodic Format Good Or Bad For Games? - Steam Punks

On this week's Steam Punks, Jess and Ed point to games like Life Is Strange and Hitman to discuss the pros and cons of games going episodic.

On the latest episode of GameSpot's weekly PC-focused show, Steam Punks, hosts Jess McDonell and Edmond Tran discuss the pros and cons of episodic games.

The episodic model has been around for a long time, and Jess and Edmond talk about games like The Banner Saga, Dreamfall Chapters, Life Is Strange, Half-Life 2, and Hitman. The appeal of episodic games for some is that they are more easily digestible experiences that you can finish in a few hours instead of the daunting feeling of needing to commit dozens of hours to a game like Assassin's Creed Odyssey. The episodic model has always been a controversial one, as some people want the whole experience all at once, and waiting for new entries can be frustrating. The new Hitman's episodic approach was highly controversial for this reason, but Edmond argues that it made the experience all the more compelling. Check out the video embedded above to see the full discussion.

Jess and Ed also answer your questions about last week's episode about the best classic games that still hold up today.

Steam Punks airs every Monday on GameSpot.

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Avatar image for meatymisto
MeatyMisto

Seeing as Telltale was the largest developer of Episodic game content and they went under, I don't think it's a very good business model. Looks like it is better received by the community if it's packaged as a whole. People seem to eat up Season Passes though, so maybe just go that route instead. Maybe like releasing Episodes 1-4 as the base chunk of the game and then releasing 2 DLC packs with 5-6 in one and 7-8 in the other. I kind of fear for Final Fantasy VII Remake, I really wish it wouldn't go the Episodic route. I don't know enough about how it's going to work to really judge, but it still worries me. Like what if it's 12 Episodes over the course of 2 years?

Avatar image for Louis
Louis

I don't mind if a game is structured into episodes, chapters, levels, whatever... But when I purchase them I want one package. So for the Walking Dead game from TellTale I waited till the season was complete, then I purchased it. This way I can control my rate of play depending on my own schedule.

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

Didn't even have to watch the video - it hurts them. First of all, I'd never buy a game until all episodes are released. Second, if they release them in episodes before the game is complete, they can never go back and make changes that would improve a game with the usual one time release. That kind of paints them into a corner where they have to get it right at the early stages because there's no going back. Then you have the problem of losing interest if the time between episodes is too long.

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salty101

This feels like a 'which of these does not belong' question. Half-life 2 isn't an episodic game. It's just a game with 2 expansion packs named episode 1 and 2.

Avatar image for kenpachi99
kenpachi99

I do not mind episodic games. Hitman(2016) is one of the best games I have ever played, I could not wait for a new map to come out so I could try it, I think that is one of the advantages of episodic games you always have a new map or chapter to look forward to.

Avatar image for nervedamaged
nervedamaged

I always wait until all the episodes are out before buying. I hate having to wait for each episode

Avatar image for gns
GNS

It actually depends on two types of people:

1) those, who don't mind waiting and playing when all of the episodes will be released;

2) those, who do mind this concept and cannot wait till all episodes are released, thus leaving the game all together, because it's hard for them to remember what has happened months ago in the previous chapter.

If the second type of people are the majority of the consumers, then, yes, it hurts your sales, because you loose customers. But, since, LiS now has Season 2, so I guess it's not the case, is it?

Avatar image for Speranza318
Speranza318

Do it Netflix style - release all the episodes together.

Avatar image for Jendeh
Jendeh

I hate the episodic formula, but I like the games. Generally, I wait until the game is released in its entirety before playing.

Avatar image for godfather830
godfather830

I hate it. I still refuse to buy Hitman, even though it's one of my favorite series, and I own all the other games.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Hurts. I pretty much skip all episodic titles these days.

Avatar image for Zidaneski
Zidaneski

Depends on the type of person. Some like it in chunks some want the whole experience. I've always gone for the whole meal. However, I'm sure if there was something I really wanted to play and already new how the story would unfold then I probably would get the first bit as soon as I could coughffviiremakecough.

Avatar image for Tiburon1186
Tiburon1186

Hurt. Never once played it before all episodes were out.