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Why the Hate for Episodic Games?

Posted on 21 March 16 at 09:27
Really good read! I personally have no issue with an episodic model at all. I will be getting this once I have cleared out a few games from the backlog.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 09:52
alklein92201 said:And this is the common BS excuse. You have to pay right now? Weird, I don't remember ever being forced to preorder the rest of the episodic content to play what's available now.My mistake. I checked on Amazon where the game is listed with €70. So I concluded they want to have full price for just a part of the game. Didn't notice that this only a pre-listed retail version and not available right now.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 11:27
I don't like the uncertainty of when the next chapter will be released. Telltale's promise of "Summer 2015" for all Game of Thrones episodes (which did not arrive until November - 3 months late) has put me off playing episodic games until all episodes are released and patched, especially after how poorly it performed on 360. It was an unplayable mess which, for a pretty simple game, it really should not have been and as a result my experience was spoiled.

As the article says, these games always go on sale quite quickly. I bought season passes for TWD 1 & 2 and GoT when they were on sale before all episodes of the games were even released, but unlike GoT I waited to play TWD. Given that I have enough games to keep me busy I don't see why I should pay full price for these games when I know with a fair amount of certainty that they'll be heavily discounted at a point in the not too distant future. I've just bought the whole LiS collection after that was on sale recently so at least I can play the game as and when I want, and get it for cheaper.
Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas... Whatever!
Brako V25
Brako V25
Posted on 21 March 16 at 12:37
Episodic games are good for the interactive story type games like Walking Dead and other Telltale games. You usually get 1hr-1.5hrs of interactive story and thats good. Keeps you pumping for the next episode.

But for things like action titles such as Hitman its quite a disgrace. The whole point of this type of gaming is to gain the skills to beat the current level and then move onto the next. Not, beat the level and then wait a month before getting to play the next level.

Hitman has been an amazing franchise, but this episodic trend is done purely for greed. Its not about getting a day one disc. I'm sure millions would buy the full digital copy on release if it were available,

We've already seen companies like Atari, THQ, etc etc get crushed due to greedy pre-order strategies going wrong, ruining both games and businesses. I hope this episodic trend reacts even worse.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 13:15
Thq made poor quality games I believe thats what crushed them...
Aye, we left you. You're fat, and slow, and we didn't want to die.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 13:34, Edited on 21 March 16 at 14:56 by Kerman7
Good read.
There would be much to say and best in a personal blog rather than a response post but I'll give my views as shortly as I can.

Episodic titles are for me what I thought DLC were going to be over 10 years ago. A way to deliver additional content to extend the players' enjoyment of a game.
So it doesn't matter whether a game was designed to be episodic or if it became that way as a result of marketing reasoning. What matters is if it is going to add value to the original package and if it will be worth it. Development cycle is not mine to worry, especially as I don't believe studios are less able nor more lazy than those 20-30 years ago.

The value I give is what matters and also the way I feel treated. If I feel the studio only wants my money with no care to provide a valuable experience, they will likely not get my purchase.
And thus I'd see episodic titles in two lights:
- Independent episodes: New episodes stand on their own legs. I see Hitman could easily fit in that case, as long as the gameplay doesn't have RPG elements to it. This gives full power to the players who can buy as much as they want based on how they like the game concept. With a low price for each part this can be a perfect medium to deliver sized to fit gaming to casuals and hardcores alike.
- Single story driven episodes: Episodes that have to work together to form a whole. This is where the bad experience and the feeling of being forced to spend more comes from. I still don't have an issue with this but that model requires a reliable delivery frequency. And I think they'd work better if they always gave the first episode for free by default (not just as a sale). Because those rely on a hook, and they would have a larger (happier) potential customer base if they didn't charge to get hooked.

In short, like so many things, the Episodic concept is not an inherently bad idea to apply in gaming, but its implementation thus far has let it down.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 14:22
Too many people like to wine!! cry
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Posted on 21 March 16 at 14:29
Swinny Costello said:I don't mind episodic titles - but not when they're clearly just a money-grab like Hitman's conversion from a full retail title to this nonsense distribution strategy.

Let's hope they improve their model with the Final Fantasy VII remake.
It's only a money grab if you choose to buy all episodes separately. If you buy the entire thing it's the same price as a normal retail game.

I like the fact it gives people choice. With a game like Hitman, I think it's ideal as it's one of those game types you're either going to love or hate, and you can buy the first episode for a lower price and then get the rest if you really like it.
a Fi1thy Casual
Posted on 21 March 16 at 15:45
I think it gets the hate because it feels like a step backward rather than progress.

Look at other forms of media, specifically television. Netflix has been a game changer with it's own series (loving season 2 of Daredevil right now wink). The entire season is up for grabs in a single day, and that gives the consumer choices in terms of when, where and how long they want to watch.

You want to binge the entire season on a Sunday? Go for it. Want to space it over a couple of weeks? Power to you.

Games never really had that problem with waiting a week for the next episode, or dealing with a season finale, which meant months were going to go. We would get a game, and it would be complete - beginning, middle and end. Telltale really changed the system with their intro into the episodic paradigm, and no one really made a big fuss, so this has left the door open for others to try and get away with.

If I am paying $60 bones for a retail game, I do not want it piece-mealed to me over the course of 6 months. It is bad enough we have season passes, "upcoming DLC" pre-order bullshit, and everything else pubs attempt to do to milk the consumer. When I bought the Division, I was given a long speech by the retailer why I am not smart if I don't buy the season pass because Ubisoft would be releasing crap every week, and without it I would be "left behind". F*ck that!

I blame Telltale, and I blame Bungie/Activision. Both have promoted paradigms that we now see being replicated, and it will cause nothing but rage for us over time. It use to be that release day was a good time, but with this episodic crap, release day is just going to be for part one, with part two a month away...
Fully loaded, safety off. This here is a recipe for unpleasantness.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 15:58
Cer3bra1Asassin said:Too many people like to wine!! cryI like to wine, yes! toast
Stupid people do stupid things, smart people outsmart each other.
Mr Peanutbubber
Posted on 21 March 16 at 16:24
I have really enjoyed HITMAN thus far. I agree with the sentiment that most AAA games wouldn't make sense in the episodic format, but I believe HITMAN lines up a little different than most AAA games. I personally didn't approach HITMAN caring at all about the story. At the end of the day, I am just a hired assassin killing some target. Other people might enjoy the narrative surrounding the Hitman franchise, but I have always enjoyed the gameplay above all else, and there is an excessive amount of gameplay included in the Intro Pack. I personally have put 10 hours into the game and have barely made a dent on the Paris level. I expect the same of the additional material, whenever it may be released. I think HITMAN became episodic because it worked best for the developers; they could release the portion of the game they have done and then use the extra time to polish the rest. I would rather have this than a delayed game, assuming the content they do release isn't rushed, which it doesn't appear to be. I would like it if they fixed their server issues, but that's a hard thing to predict.
War...war never changes.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 17:26
The problem with episodic content is the inconsistent release schedule that a lot of games have and stretching content over an absurdly long period of time. This is what people disliked the most about Telltale and Life is Strange games.

It is the same issues season passes have like Battlefront and Hardline is that they stretch the content over a long period of time and expect people to be still interested in the content. No surprise DLC servers for games containing season passes tend to be dead.

Also content quality varies wildly for each episode, they can range from great to poor within a dozen episodes.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 18:20
My biggest complaint with episodic games starts here: I object to any kind of "pay-over-time" structure for games. I miss the days of just buying a game (once) and playing it.

It started with DLC. I can probably count on one hand the number of DLCs that have actually been worthwhile and meaningful, yet it's an easy way for game companies to sell you the same game multiple times over, especially when achievements add extra incentives to completionists (my affliction).

The DLC racket eventually graduated to Season Passes, which sometimes (*cough*, Destiny, *cough*) don't even cover an entire title thanks to the convenient invention of "multiple seasons." I'm watching with dread as more and more games introduce microtransactions; I'm just waiting for one to cross the line and make them essential for completing a game. SMH.

Now, I don't find episodic games to be nearly so villainous as all this, but the marketing structure is similar enough that it just leaves a bad taste for me. Episodic books were a thing long before gaming adopted the format (I read Stephen King's The Green Mile as it came out and rather enjoyed the experience; it was deliberately released in parts as a throwback to the mostly-legacy practice of publishing novellas part-by-part in magazines). So, part of me wants to appreciate episodic storytelling, especially since gaming sorely needs more actual quality storytelling, but cash-grab marketing practices have poisoned the well for me.

Besides, my backlog is too extensive to bother with coming back to the same title every time a new chunk drops. I'm really looking forward to TWD: Michonne, but I'm going to wait for the whole game to drop and go on sale before I pick that one up.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 18:55
a Fi1thy Casual said:I think it gets the hate because it feels like a step backward rather than progress.

Look at other forms of media, specifically television. Netflix has been a game changer with it's own series (loving season 2 of Daredevil right now wink). The entire season is up for grabs in a single day, and that gives the consumer choices in terms of when, where and how long they want to watch.

You want to binge the entire season on a Sunday? Go for it. Want to space it over a couple of weeks? Power to you.
It comes down to how you look at it whether it's going forwards or back.

Maybe if they released one episode at a time, we would have gotten to start Daredevil Season 2 in 2015.

Similarly, if we didn't have episodic Hitman it wouldn't be out yet for months.

On the one hand you can see it as not getting the full product at release. On the other you can see it as getting things as they are ready instead of having to wait for everything to be done.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 20:31
Either I want all episodes, or I want no episodes. There's no real reason to buy episodes individually. Just release a full game with a demo. In this case, it's a matter of getting missions to the player sooner so we don't have to wait for the later ones, but I'd honestly rather they hold all of them back until they're all ready, and take the extra time to make sure everything's quality.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 20:43
Well considering I have still yet to upgrade to an XB1 from my 360, the episodic issue on Hitman won't bother me.

That being said, I don't think Hitman should be an episodic game. Hitman games are games that have several challenging open levels in which to assassinate your target. Up until Absolution this was a tried and tested format that they had perfected. All they need to do is go back to this and just update it to fit today's gaming.

Also, as much as bigger maps can be good, bigger is not always better. The mission in Blood Money where you can infiltrate dressed as a clown is a perfect example of a level with many various ways to complete it but is small in scale. Same with Anathema from Hitman 2.
Posted on 21 March 16 at 21:21
Riconoclast said:People don't like change.I would not make a generic statement like that and certainly I don't feel it's the case here.

Granted, there are those who resist changes just for the sake of resisting but there are also those who analyse the changes, weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision to support, ignore or oppose. There are also those who are flexible and shape the change to suit their needs.

The OP has analysed the phenomenon quite thoroughly and it's up to the reader to decide how they want to approach it.

Removed Gamer
Gamer has been removed
Posted on 22 March 16 at 02:15
Episodic games are awesome. Except for the episodic part.
Das Kuhnen
Das Kuhnen
Posted on 22 March 16 at 12:17
Looks like there's going to be a lot of Final Fantasy 7 re-make hate then. Planned to be four episodes as of now, stopping after key points in the story. (and for some reason Lightning is getting a cameo appearance, apparently angry)
For the Rum and the Cheese!
Mobius Evalon
Mobius Evalon
Posted on 22 March 16 at 14:15
Das Kuhnen said:Looks like there's going to be a lot of Final Fantasy 7 re-make hate then. Planned to be four episodes as of now, stopping after key points in the story. (and for some reason Lightning is getting a cameo appearance, apparently angry)Sounds to me like a George Lucas moment. (as in, changing what we all know and love in a re-release for no good reason and to poor effect... HAN SHOT FIRST)
My opinions are often unpopular and acerbic.
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