Episodic games are all the rage this season, and the odds are good that you’re probably somewhere in the middle of playing one right now. Almost all of the big story-driven mobile games are adopting the episodic formula these days, with most recent examples like In Fear I Trust and République just getting started with their own respective journeys. On the surface, making an episodic game is a great idea. You get to put the first installment out into the world up front and gauge your players’ feedback before fine-tuning the episodes that follow. But there’s one potential risk that could actually end up harming these pre-planned episodic games: the lengthy and sometimes unavoidable delays or wait times between each individual episode.
Take Telltale Games for example, the studio that effectively brought the idea of episodic games into the mainstream of our industry. “Faith,” the first episode of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us, was originally released for PC on October 11, 2013, and with the second episode “Smoke and Mirrors” finally debuting this week, this puts the amount of wait time between these two episodes at just under four months. At this rate, we may very well have to wait until early 2015 to see how Bigby Wolf’s adventure ends: especially considering the crazy amount of new projects that Telltale has decided to juggle all at once.
There are a number of reasons for varying delays in releasing the subsequent installments of an episodic game, and none of them are exactly ideal for the studio, or for the player, at that. Over the last few weeks, you could almost feel the growing frustration of gamers towards The Wolf Among Us everywhere online, with some early Season Pass adopters even afraid they might never get the next portion of the game they already paid for. And for those that do start playing Episode 2 this week, will you have a hard time picking up where you left off after such an extensive break? Read more »