Is there a future for episodic video games?

After the closure of Telltale and the release of Life is Strange 2, we discussed this way of publishing games.

It has been one of the news of the week, even of the year! Telltale Games closes its doors, and with it, it calls into question a way of working that this studio responsible for the adventures based on The Walking Dead universe had kept intact for more than a decade. Are episode video games doomed to failure? The writing of 3D Games debate about it by analyzing the pros and cons of a business model that has great examples of its viability, such as Life is Strange, but also with samples that point in the opposite direction. What do you think of the episode games? Do you like this way of enjoying video games or do you prefer the traditional model?



Yes - Alberto Pastor

I understand that saying "Yes" after the debacle of Telltale games It is not an easy position to defend at the moment, but I still feel that there is hope and a future for episodic games. Let's not just stay with the bad; Let us not remain as the only example with that chain production that Telltale has used to relentlessly manufacture video games lacking originality and freshness. Valve He demonstrated with Half Life 2 that this is a way of understanding video game development that can work, that can surprise, benefiting both the team and the fans themselves. This is going to sound like a joke, it's the usual drama !, but when the three additional episodes of Half Life 2 were raised, it was done thinking to avoid that Gordon Freeman fans had to wait for years for Half Life 3. The history you already know.


The model, well planned, can bring great benefits to the developer who needs time and resources The point is that it was a great way to expand the Half Life universe allowing us to enjoy, with a period of a year apart, two extraordinary video games that also felt different from each other, by setting, of course, but also by the way they pose some of their challenges. All those months of development allowed Valve to improve its graphics engine; improve game mechanics, combat ... also relying on a powerful narrative that, at the end of each episode, left us stunned waiting impatiently for the launch of the new episode. It never came, okay, but I think it's the best example to talk about this issue.


I am the first who in cases like The Walking Dead or Life is Strange prefers to wait until the end of the season to enjoy the video games in their entirety, without interruptions, because in works so focused on history I think those parentheses do not benefit him; but seen in perspective, thinking of the fan who wants more and the developer who needs time and resources, the episodes model, well planned, can bring great benefits.



Not - Alejandro Pascual

As much as they keep appearing, the truth is that episodes fashion seems outdated to me. After the closure of Telltale Games, in fact, I think Life is Strange 2 will be one of the few games to continue it. This has a very clear explanation, friend Alberto. Nobody wants to wait months for a story to finish. You can check it in the current serial formats. People like the episodic format, with its script twists and cliffhangers, but nobody wants to wait a week for the next episode, so many producers prefer to release all the chapters at once.


This format was a fashion coming from the television boom and that even this medium has been able to overcome With the last series I have seen, Sharp Objects (Open Wounds), in the end I preferred to wait for all the chapters to come out because It's easier for me to binge than keep an eye on the calendar. I think the same thing happens with the players. They prefer to wait for Life is Strange 2 to complete and play it this way. I myself played the first one when it was complete and it is more comfortable for me to what I am doing with this second half, in which the game is who tells me when to stop and when to continue.


In fact, in the case of games it is more accentuated than in series, because sometimes the waits are endless. And that's not to mention the occasional game that, after its limited success, has not continued with its chapters. In short, I believe that the episodic format was a fad that came from the television boom and that even this medium has been able to overcome. I like the structure, be careful, but I think that in the future those games that use it will end up launching all the chapters at the same time and give the player the choice of when to start and when to finish.


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